Had she researched a little deeper, she would have discovered that HISD implemented an experimental structured immersion program (which involved very little use of Spanish) in the late '80s and early '90s. The results were so horrendous that the ill-fated program was eventually scrapped.

My research shows that the great majority of parents are satisfied with the progress their children are making in their bilingual classes. Unfortunately, when it comes to bilingual education, journalists rarely get around to celebrating.

Robert J. Johnson


Downing replies: The column never pretended to be a comprehensive analysis of bilingual program statistics from HISD. Instead, it focused on the more personal concerns of those involved -- everyone from HISD trustees, administrators, teachers and parents to the pupils themselves. As the column indicates, many of them question the effectiveness of the program and worry that the students are trapped, limited in both their educational opportunities and prospects for a productive future.

Zero Tolerance

The divisive school-prayer vote last month ["Trying to Make Amens," by Margaret Downing, March 30] by a majority of the Fort Bend ISD board is not surprising, when we consider that a few years ago FBISD, under pressure from some segments of the community, removed "tolerance" as a tenet to be taught in a character-building program.

Someday FBISD may find itself deemed fiscally irresponsible (in view of recent court decisions in other states) for failure to protect the rights of its sexual-minority students. The Houston chapter of the national support group P-FLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) has conducted several conferences that addressed the unique situations of gay students. Nearly 30 Houston-area school districts have sent administrators and counselors to these, but FBISD so far has declined to participate.

As the bumper sticker says: "A closed mind is a wonderful thing to lose."

Irv Smith

Missouri City

I just love this debate about prayers and school. For instance I can just hear the players' huddle:

"Šin the Lord Jesus Christ's name we pray. Amen. Okay, guys, get your *&%damned ass in there and kick the living *&%$ out of those *&%damned mother*&%#ers! Amen."

John R. Cobarruvias


Sermon on the Mound

The greater Houston area -- all of it -- needs Richard Connelly's words ["Low and Outside," March 30] much more than it needs Father Rossi's [Letters, April 13]. Mr. Connelly uses his God-given vision and brain to understand that truth and beauty are the same, that they are found everywhere -- including here in Houston, not just in Rome -- and that God places the ability to possess such knowledge inside each one of us, even inside Father Rossi. But there is hope for Father Rossi -- he reads the Houston Press.

Jim Swindell, ex-Catholic


My boyfriend is a lifelong Astros fan. Some of his taxes went to build beautiful Enron Field. My boyfriend is also a wheelchair-bound paraplegic. There is no handicapped parking at beautiful Enron Field. All handicapped seating tickets have to be bought at the box office at beautiful Enron Field.

If my boyfriend wants to go to a game, he must wheel himself through miles of downtown, or pay out the wazoo to park close, so he doesn't burn out his shoulder sockets. Then he must go to the box office to get tickets. Then he may be turned away if the seats are sold out. When we called the Harris County Sports Authority, we were told that they were unaware of the parking issue until the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Debbie Tesar


Huh? Recently the entire issue, save for a few measly column inches, of the Houston Press was devoted to Enron Field. I almost wrote to bitch about it but thought, What the hell, this too shall pass. But noooŠ More the next week, and you're the guilty one.

Jay Bute

El Lago, Texas

Dumping Ground?

I am a parent of a child who has now attended CEP for two school years ["Making (Up) the Grade," by Wendy Grossman, April 6]. When I enrolled him, the principal told me that the school's objective was for him to move up two grades in one year.

He has advanced one grade level only, and everything in your article regarding Mr. Kellow's findings I believe are correct. My son sits at a computer all day or works on his folder. There is not much interaction with the teachers. Basically they are baby-sitters. I am seriously considering not letting him attend next year.

My son breezed through elementary school. He began having problems when he made the transition to middle school. There were also a lot of problems at home with his father, and I think that had something to do with it. My son hasn't really been in any trouble in middle school, except with one particular teacher, and he was an asshole anyway. I really don't think he was ever a good candidate for this school. I do believe this is a school that gives the school district an opportunity to get rid of these kids at the slightest sign of problems. Paige is wrong; Kellow is very right.

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