The Race to Learn
Exposing the problems: Many thanks to you, Houston Press ["HISD's Ethnic Gap," by Robert Kimball, July 1]. Dr. Robert Kimball is a courageous man who did and is doing more than just give lip service to the problems at HISD (and everywhere else in the United States) regarding disparate treatment of students according to color. It was a great column.
Maria G. DeLeon
Color-blind program: I was a little disturbed and disagreed with some of the guest column. It said the TEA audit found HISD's gifted and talented program in noncompliance because of the lack of diversity. How can HISD administrators control which students are gifted and talented and their race? If a student is not deserving of a gifted and talented class, then he or she should not be placed in that type of program -- diversity be damned.
When I was in junior high, I attended Stovall Middle School in Aldine ISD. I was enrolled in the gifted and talented program, and yes, I am white -- as were most of the other GT students. Every student in the program deserved to be there and was dedicated to obtaining the best education possible. And not one deserving student in the school was left out.
I did notice (and was very irritated by) the fact that most minority students saw attending school as an opportunity to socialize rather than to get an education. The regular teachers spent so much time on discipline and the class was disrupted so much that the lesson was lost.
I am not writing this because I am prejudiced against minorities or am some kind of white supremacist -- because I am not. I am just sick of hearing everyone whine about underprivileged minorities, especially when it comes to education. Of course, there are exceptions to every case, on both sides. But most of the time they don't give a shit about school. We should help those who want to be better: the GT students. They deserve the help -- and the funding.
Setting an example: As we read your article, we Waltrip High LULAC students shared many common opinions. We agreed there is something that should be done to boost the Hispanic student level of education. As Hispanic students, we try to set an example of leadership and academic achievements. We hope to be the start of a better generation, one that will increase Hispanic leadership.
Thank you for your time.
Edith Botello, secretary
Valerie Noyola, president
Nancy Pulido, treasurer
Claudia Pulido, vice president
Simple success: Please spare us another one of these uninformative propaganda pieces in the future.
Curiously absent from the column were the Asian and Middle Eastern populations. Wonder why that is. Oh, wait -- they are "high-achieving" groups as well, so they must've been lumped in with the whites. Silly me!
The one statistic that determines success or failure, despite skin color and/or ethnic makeup, is the desire to work hard to achieve success, versus the mentality that the world owes you a favor.
I am white, and I did not have anything handed to me because of my skin color. To suggest that skin color determines success is a slap in the face not only to whites but also to every Hispanic or black student who managed to overcome economic and environmental factors that were less-than-conducive to success.
If you want to succeed, you can -- it's that simple.
Kevin C. Scott
Promoting positive change: Thank you, Dr. Kimball, for writing about what many have known about the education system but have not discussed. We extend our appreciation to Dr. Kimball for continuing to do the work he does. With the information he brings to light, we will have positive change in the way our children are educated.
Parental factor: "Ethnic Gap" gets everything exactly backward. White students perform better academically because they have more resources, whether financial or parental. White students aren't put in gifted classes because they are white, they are put in gifted classes because their parents push them and support them.
If you classify the children by income instead of race, you will see the inevitable advantages of money influencing the enrollment, instead of the monster of racism. Wealthy parents push their children academically because they know firsthand that this is the route to success.
Instead of demanding that white education be dumbed down, or that minority students be put in classes for which they are not prepared, why not ask how minority students can get the family support they need in order to succeed?
Fantastic Hermann friends: I've always liked Hermann Park, but now I love it ["Friends Like These," by Sarah Fenske, April 22]. Why? Because now it is clean, beautiful and well run. Why? Because of the Friends of Hermann Park. Why an organization that has selflessly raised and invested millions of dollars in a park for all of us should be maligned for wanting vendors to use cash registers is beyond me.
The organization has taken an undermaintained, bereft public park and made it inarguably better for every user. Why don't you guys find some real issues to write about instead of going after the good guys?
The Great Carrabba: I got quite a giggle from your story about Chris Carrabba ["Screaming Fidelities," by Annie Zaleski, June 10]. I, too, am a massive fan, and I truly enjoyed your take on things. It was refreshing and sweet.
I also understand the sentiment behind it. Not only is he rather hunkish, but you cannot resist the sweet heart that he has. I am quite envious that you had an opportunity to speak with him, but I am so pleased that you did him justice. Lucky girl!
Spoils of War
Screen screed: I have read with delight and admiration most of Gregory Weinkauf's work and have found it insightful and evidencing an expansive knowledge of film, aesthetics and history. But it's clear from the adulatory, unquestioning tone of this Fahrenheit 9/11 review ["George of the Bungle," June 24], coupled with his inability to admit even the most glaring instances of Moore's faulty logic -- not to mention his heedless acquiescence to every adolescent conspiracy philippic -- that this review was not the work of an objective professional like Mr. Weinkauf but of someone else who, judging from the juvenile tone of the piece, with its almost audible giggling idiocy and inchoate logic, I assume to be probably one of Mr. Weinkauf's children -- certainly the piece sounds like the snickering, self-regarding screed of a spoiled teenager.
But most damning of all is the author's insistence on trumpeting the lie that Bush claimed there existed a link specifically between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein. Here's hoping that in the future you take your column back the same way we took Baghdad, but just in case, you'd better run it by the French.
Keep up the good work!
Moy, Not Less
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Rivas the role model: I am 16 years old, and this article ["Big Steps," by Michael Serazio, October 23] has been a great story to follow up close. I attend Milby High, and Moy Rivas is well known among those who are devoted to the whole break-dancing thing. I have noticed the good contribution he has made toward kids my age, and I would like to emphasize that he is a great example to follow and a great inspiration -- especially because he is a minority who has established a good image for Hispanics.
I once had the opportunity to meet him, and he is a great guy. I recently did a report on him for one of my classes and got an A-plus. Unfortunately, I was unable to get an interview with him, but I used other resources on which to base my information, including your article.
Once again, thanks, and I hope to read other great stories.
Ruth E. Castro