Letters to the Editor

A better way

There was a suggestion to choose applicants for magnet schools by ZIP codes. Why not by alphabet? Maybe those whose last name begins with letters A through L? Why not another irrelevant criterion such as skin color? Isn’t that racist? A hundred years ago, colleges had quotas for Jews and Orientals. Only the brightest of these groups were selected. Therefore, as expected, they did better than the average student. Equality of opportunity does not guarantee equality of result. Why should it?

In salad dressings, the oil rises to the top. Before milk was homogenized, the cream rose to the top. You could shake them up in containers to get a mixture. But guess what? Let the containers settle and they looked the same as before. Set-asides by race or ZIP codes also will not change the results. The only moral solution for schools is to make sure that everyone has an equal opportunity and best education possible. Offer any of the willing and able additional assistance. As a former teacher, I would have been quite willing to come in one Saturday a month, without pay, to help those deserving students, in small groups, who would benefit from help. Offering a helping hand to the worthy is the right thing to do. Those who had many unexcused absences, latenesses or poor behavior need not apply.

Mel Flitter

Somerton

Repping the students

I’m writing this to highlight some of the issues that my representative, Ed Neilson, has made to represent my district.

As a student first and foremost, the topic of school safety is extremely important to me. Amid the reports of asbestos and lead paint that have plagued the School District of Philadelphia in the last two school years, concern has risen in both the student and school faculty population.

Two of the bills Neilson has co-sponsored, PA HB813 and PA HB332, both deal with the presence of lead, and would provide assistance for lead abatement. However, both of these bills also only deal with the state at large, but not schools specifically. I hope to find out if Neilson plans to address these issues of lead as well as asbestos for schools specifically.

Although I could not find much about Neilson’s efforts in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in addressing school safety, I did come across some bills improving the schooling system in general. However, most of them, like PA HB86, which would provide online learning assistance for households under the poverty line, are currently stuck in the legislative process. I hope to understand why these bills might be facing opposition.

There has been one bill regarding schools that has caught my attention, HB 1332. From what I know, it requires that all schools be required to post coursework and textbook titles on an easily accessible website. It’s especially interesting because Neilson voted in favor of this bill once, and against it twice. I would be interested in hearing what made him change his mind regarding this bill.

Overall, I applaud Neilson’s effort in representing the students of his district who are too young to have a voice in the political system.

Frank Liu

Julia Masterman High School

It takes hard work

I am concerned about the school district’s plan to assign students to magnet schools based on their ZIP codes. I went to Girls High when it was in the building that now houses Masterman.  We were all admitted based on the ability and effort we had shown in our previous schools. My class was about one-third black. We got along in school, formed lifelong friendships and had successful careers. Years later, I taught at both William Penn and Carver High School of Engineering and Science. Carver had to have a 50-50 racial balance. Students came from all over the city. Friendships were created that would never have happened otherwise. Many students both black and white received prestigious scholarships, West Point, the Air Force Academy and Harvard to name just a few.

The story was very different at William Penn. Attendance was so poor that another teacher and I created a math curriculum using individualized folders since we could not count on having the same students in the room two days in a row.

Success requires both innate ability and hard work. If students are admitted to a magnet school by ZIP code, it is no longer a magnet school.

Ronni Flitter

Somerton

Take care of the homefront

Let me first state that both my parents were immigrants. I need someone to explain the following. Our nation’s debt is mind boggling. Many of our citizens live in poverty with too many of their children going hungry. Too many of our citizens are homeless, displaying that same cardboard sign begging for help. America’s infrastructure stinks. What is worse, worries about  hyperinflation. Two things I do not understand. Our immigration policy and the money we give to countries so they will be our friends. Are we cheating many of our citizens? Should we first clean our own house? So, someone explain my ignorance. Too many rule by folly where 50% hate the other 50%. I make one request. Do not call me every name in the book. I get enough aggravation from the people I know and love. I do not need it from strangers. I like to label myself a Reagan Democrat.

Ron Farbman

Somerton

Kenney and Krasner are the problem

Typical of the Democrats, if there is a problem, blame someone else. Biden is doing it with the gas prices by auditing the big companies for gouging instead of looking in the mirror. The same laws Kenney is complaining about were enforced before he was in office and working well. I really think the problem is we elected the sissy Kenney, who bends over backward for his progressive buddies, that he can’t face up to the problems he created. Our second mistake was electing Let ‘Em Loose Larry. There has never been such a thing as bail or proper charging since he took office. You read the statistics. Major crime is down because they aren’t being charged properly. Aggravated assault is now assault. Home invasion is trespassing. This is why major crime is down. As far as shootings, go look at the statistics before Kenny & Krasner took office. The murder rate was nowhere near the last few years. It’s time to look in the mirror and see where the real problem lies. Good luck, Philadelphia, with these two.

Richard Donofry

East Torresdale