School District of Hard Knocks?
The grifters: As a teacher who worked for HISD for 12 years, I was not surprised to read the potential fate of the Vanguard/magnet programs ["Don't Worry, Be Happy," by Margaret Downing, December 15]. HISD portrays itself as a poor urban district that must cut its costs, even though to the blindest of people, the district is one of the most property-rich in the United States. But take an honest look at its tax base. HISD has downtown, the Ship Channel, Greenway, the Galleria and the residential areas of River Oaks, West U and Bellaire on its taxing rolls.
The organization of HISD has become nothing more than a vehicle for people with master's and doctorate degrees in education from notoriously subpar universities to line their pockets with six-figure salaries. Why do the citizens of Houston allow this to continue? As the only arm of investigative journalism in Houston and what I deem to be the last vestige of the new left, you must illustrate the buffoon that HISD is to the people of Houston.
During my last year at one of the "premier" high schools, I was appalled at the wasteful spending on the "area superintendencies." Why are they still in place? These were $30 million expenditures that required people to communicate in the language of "Model-Netics" (remember?) and contributed absolutely nothing to the education of a single student. Can you think of better ways for your money to be spent?
HISD can be a national role model in education. I taught with some of the finest people to grace the profession of education. However, I also had the displeasure of serving under the most malfeasant grifters calling themselves administrators, who had no business being on the public payroll.
Please muckrake HISD and hold them accountable to the children of Houston. You are all that is left. There is plenty of money in their coffers. Make HISD spend it appropriately.
Airing It Out
Good job: Thank you for your excellent article about the Air Rice Airport ["It's a Bird! It's a Plane!" by Ford Gunter, December 22]. It's clear that you were thorough in your research and reporting. I appreciate your interest in this controversial issue.
Stop the Abuse
Finding facilities: Since you wrote the "Free Booze" article [by Keith Plocek, December 1] a couple of weeks ago, I was wondering when you were going to publish a list of treatment facilities that these gentlemen and ladies could attend when the need arises?
You can obtain a list of treatment facilities from the Texas Department of State Health Services Substance Abuse Program at www.dshs.state.tx.us/sa.
Eddie deRoulet, MA, LBSW, LCDC
Dual Disorder Clinical Specialist
Add It Up
Error message: The story "Stairway to Heaven" [Racket, by John Lomax, December 15] states that 6 + 6 + 4 = 14, 9 + 1 + 1 = 10, and 5 + 2 + 1 = 9. Is this a result of the "No Editors Left Behind" program?
The Dead Zone
Your loss: Some folks will never get the Grateful Dead ["Dead Like Me," by Dan Strachota, December 22]. I guess you're one of them. I'm sorry for your loss.
Lake Mary, Florida
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It's high time: I'm glad you've had a Dead experience. I first listened to the Dead with interest in 1991. My first reaction was to dislike the very idea of the Dead for some basic reason. I could have written your article in 1989, in fact. Once, I said that someone would have bid at auction on the shit-stained underwear of Jerry Garcia, God rest his soul.
But I have come to appreciate the Dead. Theirs was literally the Age of Aquarius, so to speak. It was the youth movement coming of age and flexing its power for the first time in a planetary sense.
You're right: Drugs were a major part of the Dead experience, but only a part of it. Another part was democratic, eclectic, egalitarian, inclusive, forgiving, enlightened, free, caring, patriotic, bold, full of people dancing, full of people not dancing and cops were everywhere, for the record. Remember that you're writing about this band as if it still matters, ten long years after Jerry Garcia is dead and gone.