Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor: June 27, 2007

Closing gaps in education

As an alumnus of both the Federal Way Public Academy and Federal Way High School, I applaud Pam Ashe's article in the June 23 edition of The Mirror ("Find educational solutions, not faults").

She truly has an educated and respected perspective on education that should be commended by district leaders. How are we to cure educational disparities and close the education gap between the poor and the rich if we do not develop a thorough understanding of poverty?

School board member Charlie Hoff's antiquated views on education are only a hinder to the district. The way to begin changing the — as Ashe put it — "incomprehensible degree of apathy and ignorance in the community" is not to berate our students, but to try and develop a plan of change from within instead of outside.

Thank you to the many teachers and district staff who work tirelessly to close this gap and make the education system equal for all. If Mr. Hoff put as much effort into promoting educational equality as he does into promoting educational exclusivity, we might see a great amount of change in the way that the district views education.

Jessica Cato, Federal Way High School class of 2004

Clash of the opinions

It is truly amazing what the teachers and school board here in Federal Way think of themselves. One school board member expresses his opinion, and boy, the dam breaks loose on what a loser he is.

I don't always agree with board member Charlie Hoff, but then again, he like so many students that show little respect for any authority is expressing his right to be heard.

Oh, I forgot, he is the adult, so he doesn't have a say. I guess most people whether adults, school board members or students don't really want to be told they are or can be wrong.

Maybe the Federal Way School Board should take a poll from the surrounding school districts (i.e., Highline, Renton, Kent, etc.) and see what they say about the Federal Way School Board. It's not very pretty.

I have two grandchildren in public schools (in the Highline school district), and my son and daughter-in-law don't have a very high opinion of our school board out here. They have been involved with their children's school since their oldest was in kindergarten (who is going into his junior year in high school in the fall).

So maybe it's time for our Federal Way School Board to climb down off their arrogant pedestals and take a look around at what is really happening in the schools here. Maybe it's time to see if it's the teachers teaching or the students.

Pat Gee, Federal Way

An eye on government

I want to suggest to all your readers to go back to the June 23 issue of The Mirror and read the column by Angie Vogt.

She describes what can happen if our government is controlled by one political party. In this case, the Democratic party in the state of Washington.

The U.S. Supreme court unanimously agreed with an initiative in this state (I-134). Our state Legislature and the governor passed a law (HB 2079) in complete defiance of the Supreme Court and the 72 percent of the voters who had approved that initiative.

I have never before seen such a blatant maneuver to defy a law. No, I take that back. Eighty percent of the voters in our country want our government to secure our borders.

The leaders of both parties don't seem to understand that.

Leo J. Thoennes, Federal Way

Cheers for Shakespeare

Thanks go to the Federal Way Arts Commission for scheduling the Wooden O Theatre Company to perform Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor” outdoors at Steel Lake Park at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 11.

For many summers, we have gone to Angle Lake Park in Sea-Tac and Luther Burbank Park in Mercer Island to see this company. The crowd brings their own chairs, blankets, food and coffee, and relaxes while being entertained by the performance. It is very pleasant and the actors are wonderful.

The Commission should be applauded for sponsoring free Shakespeare in the park in Federal Way.

Margaret Nelson, Federal Way

Immigrants endure pain of Iraq war

In a letter to the editor June 2, James R. Simpson from Federal Way wrote "Where are the flags on their homes this Memorial Day? Lots of people own them. Why don’t they bother to unfurl them? Is it possible that this is their way to protest our illegal war and those who have died in vain?"

Our family has the flag, but we hid it in the drawer; we didn’t unfurl it.

We consider this flag to be the most expensive flag that we ever earned.

We didn’t buy this flag; my son had earned it from serving in this illegal war for one year and 21 days in the hot desert.

He was in the first wave of invasion. Every time I saw in the newspaper about our casualties, I cried and prayed, and said to myself “What a waste of young lives.”

Six months passed, he didn’t come home as we were told; 12 months passed, he didn’t come home. Finally, on April 14, 2004, he came home in one piece, but he was not the same 19-year-old boy that took off a year and 21 days ago. (Excuse me, I am still crying while typing to this point). He didn’t go back to college that he left off, nor did he go back to work with his business partner.

He drank. His ambition was gone. He hates the Army. I told him to go get help from the VA hospital, but he said he’s not a wimp.

After his $10,000 that he earned from a year in Iraq was gone, he moved in with me. He asked me, “Dad why did you put me through this crap (in the Army)?”

It is my fault now that I made him to sign up to my new country's army (I am immigrant citizen). I have to bear this burden, not the VA, to take care of his mental illness.

The Democrat side said to him, “You fight for Bush Corporation, not for us.” Republicans said to him, “If you don’t want to fight, why you sign up for...ah! You sign for college money, right?”

They are right, but part right and part wrong. As newcomers, we have "sense of belonging" problems; we want to belong, that is why we made our only son sign up for the Army.

So far in the year 2007, we knew this war was wrong as was the Vietnam War, an era that I came from. And the Congress members (who represents us) don’t even have spine to stand up and say: “Enough — we won't let these young men die for nothing anymore."

Now you know that I have no reason to display the flag (not even in our living room) that my son earned bitterly from the bad cause. Our flag is in a drawer. We can offer only flowers to his fallen comrades.

Sompone Sakdy, Kent

Show more respect for our graduates

Please allow me to apologize to the Thomas Jefferson High School staff, the school board members and especially to the Thomas Jefferson graduates for the disrespectful, disruptive and rude behavior of many of the people that attended last week's graduation ceremonies.

The ceremony was planned and executed to honor the hard-working graduating students. I have never been to a function where so much ignorance was shown by people attending, who acted like a bunch of lunatics. Also there were cell phones ringing and people talking on them as if they were at their own homes.

Not only were families arm waving, shrill whistling, jumping up and down, hollering and yelling when their student's name was called, showing disrespect for others, but during the national anthem, people were talking. We had people walking down the stairs beside us who were talking. All this while our military men and women are off fighting and many dying defending this country. Our high school students were better behaved than the audience.

Now, I understand why one school in Georgia withheld eight diplomas from students whose families acted badly during their graduation ceremonies.

I realize these family members are proud of what their students have accomplished. It made me wonder, however, what type of education they themselves had. One thing is perfectly clear: They can't read. In the program it clearly states, "Please hold your applause until the end so that everyone can hear his/her graduate's name being read."

Therefore, it is my suggestion that in the future an announcement be made at the beginning to hold the applause, for those that can't read. Then they can yell, whistle and do whatever they want — and those of us that wear hearing aids can remove them.

I would like to thank the students for their hard work and dedication in earning their diplomas. I would have enjoyed seeing the IB and Running Start students' names listed. They work so hard for their grades, and I think they should have been recognized for their extra academic achievements.

Delores Warner, Auburn

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