News From Terre Haute, Indiana

November 16, 2012

READERS’ FORUM: Nov. 16, 2012


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Optimists raising funds for kids

This Thanksgiving period, the Ryves Community Optimist Club (RCOC) will be collecting monetary donations at Baesler’s to help very needy children in the community.

Our target this year is the children who attend Ben Franklin School in the Ryves neighborhood — where 98.7 percent of the children are on either full or partial lunch assistance. A large number of these children come from homes that are under the poverty level. Some of these children are homeless. Many kids come to school without hats and gloves in the cold weather.

However, we have learned that perhaps the greatest need is a stockpile of underwear and socks to be kept at the school. It was very saddening to learn that kids attending Franklin come to school without socks and even without underwear in the winter and that the school tries to keep some on hand to provide on an as-needed basis. Actually many pairs may be given out in a given week during the winter.

Our Optimist Club focuses on helping those in a very needy area and money spent is used in the community. Whereas there are many needy in the world and many charities needing help, we ask the reader to remember that the focus of our club is on our own community.

We are thankful for the assistance that Bob Baesler is giving our club as he is allowing us to collect for this cause on Nov. 20th and 21 (the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving).

Please consider making a donation to help in this most critical cause. We will be there for 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. each of those days. Or send a check made out to the RCOC c/o Dennis Bialaszewski, 8940 N. Eppert Road, Brazil, IN 47834.

— Dennis Bialaszewski

Secretary, RCOC

Voters spoke, but no one listening

I was hopeful our new governor would have the depth and insight to investigate the true factors leading to Glenda Ritz’s big win over Tony Bennett. However, based on his immediate comments minimizing her win, blaming Bennett for his approach and insisting this so-called “reform” movement go forward without pause, my optimism as an educator is deflated.

Once again, it appears we are confronted with the same authoritarian approach with little hope for a collaborative process. Indiana also plans to pass the REPA II legislation developed by Bennett on Dec. 5, which eliminates critical professional preparation for obtaining a teacher’s license in our state. Approval of this legislation serves to destroy essential training for our teachers and will contribute to a loss of licensure reciprocity with other states.

It is unlikely that other states will desire a teacher from Indiana with no formal pedagogical training. This plan opposes educational reform. REPA II legislation was held back until after the election because of strong opposition from many educators across the state who testified at the Indiana Department of Education last June.

This legislation also comes simultaneously with increased scrutiny of teacher’s performance. But once again, no one is listening.

— Wendy Marencik