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November Letters

What our readers are saying

IEPs for All

Regarding Daniel E. Kinnaman’s column about Individualized Education Plans for all students (“Change Every Child Needs,” October 2008), it’s something I have been talking about for years. I would like to take a closer look at your plan next month. My superintendent has discussed his desire to create a more individual curriculum plan. We have about 430 students in pre-K12. Although we have budget limitations, we do quite well offering a varied curriculum to our students, as well as college credit courses through our neighboring junior college.

Johnnie Thornton, principal, Granger High School, Granger (Texas) Independent School District

The Game of Learning

I’m responding to Products Editor Kurt Dyrli’s blog entry on Product Posts, comparing today’s games to early arcade games based on a New York Times article (“Using Video Games as Bait to Hook Readers,” Oct. 7, 2008). One reader gives kudos to Dyrli’s questions, saying: “Great questions. I’m glad you point out that complex games that make students think, like Civilization, really cannot be compared with early arcade titles.”

Regarding video games’ abilities to inspire intellectual curiosity, Mark Horowitz (Wired magazine’s New York editor), recently wrote a blog about how his son’s interest in World War II games, including Call of Duty, led to some serious reading.”

Andy, A Pulse blog reader


Fueling the Budget

I especially appreciated the News Update article on how districts are dealing with higher energy and fuel prices (“Schools Tighten Fuel Budget Belt,” September 2008.) It seems like money is always a hot issue, and it helps to know what other districts are doing to get through these rough economic times. I really enjoy your magazine. Thank you!

Lori Hernandez, principal, Sherwood Elementary School, Fox C-6 School District, Missouri

More Data Needed for Dropouts

I’ve been in school business for almost 10 years and before that, 20-plus years in private industry. I began reading your publication about three years ago. I find most articles current and relevant. Daniel E. Kinnaman’s Understanding the Times column (“A Matter of Equity,” September 2008) was exceptional. This is the type of data we are struggling with in our department in City of Augusta, Maine, Department of Public Schools, as well as the state and the nation. We have just begun state tracking of students, and I think we need a national tracking system, similar to a Social Security number, to truly know if students who start ninth grade and leave a particular high school really dropped out or moved on. My instinct is that these students are dropping out and in 15-20 years will be hard-pressed to provide for themselves and their families as economic times become more challenging. Thank you for your publication.

James S. Jurdak, business manager, City of Augusta, Maine, Department of Public Schools

Gun-Toting Texans

In a Sept. 3 blog entry on The Pulse: Education’s Place for K12 Debate, Gary Stager writes, “Teachers can’t be trusted to use Google or e-mail an attachment, but this is perfectly fine?”—prompting readers to click on a link to a news story explaining that Harrold (Texas) Independent School District allows teachers and staff members to carry guns. One reader responded: “And you wonder about Texas. Come now. Every horse (pickup) has to have a rider, and every rider a gun. Those are just Texas rules. Wonder how long it will take for one of them to pull a prank about it, and the whole enchilada falls apart on them in an ugly way.”

Scott S. Floyd, instructional technologist, White Oak (Texas) Independent School District

Letters to the Editor may be sent to, or mailed to Judy F. Hartnett, District Administration, 488 Main Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06851. Selections that are published may be edited for length and clarity, and become the property of District Administration.