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Letters To The Editor

Christopher Columbus H.S. staff responds to Deputy Chancellor Interim Acting’s closing explanation

Dear editor,

We were quite upset and disturbed when we saw Deputy Chancellor Interim Acting Santiago Tavaras’ Letter to the Editor in the Bronx Times last week.

At first we felt that it did not deserve a response. He was making it personal and we felt we should be bigger people and ignore him and stick to our facts

Then we decided it is personal and it is emotional.

Would you want your children or your grandchildren being taught by someone who is not emotional? These are children, students. They are not numbers. They are not statistics. To some of these students we are all they have. We have to take it personally because, if we don’t fight for them, then no one else will. This is not about closing a school and teachers losing their jobs, this is about educating our students...in school and for life. We give our children life skills. We are their role models. We prepare them for the future.

Mr. Tavaras said that our emotions “cloud the fact that some of these schools are not meeting their obligation to educate students and prepare them for graduation”. This is completely untrue.

Here are the facts:

* Students coming into Christopher Columbus High School have lower 8th grade scores than all but 2 of the 311 other city high schools and lower than the rest of the city.

* Students coming into Columbus are more likely to need special education services.

* Mr. Tavarez says that the progress report compares our school to schools “that have the most similar population”. In our “peer group”, schools that received a grade of “D” have 23% special education students and schools that received an “A” have only 16% special education students (Columbus has 26% special education students). Within those percentages, schools that received a “D” have 44% of their special education students are considered high need (meaning they need extra services, extra support, and special, self contained classes) while schools that received an “A” only have 18% high need students. This is not a similar population. These statistics are not equal.

* The current south Bronx campus of three schools which Mr. Taveras lauds serve only seven self-contained students be-tween them (those with the greatest learning challenges). Christopher Columbus serves 190 such students.

The school serves all students. Many students at Christopher Columbus High School are ELL (English Language Learners), Special Education, or have gaps in their educational history.

Christopher Columbus High School has always been a school that meets the needs of ALL students. The composition of the campus as a whole still meets the educational needs of all children in the neighborhood. We care about these students and are able to serve these students.

In conclusion we have to question the city’s decision to hire Mr. Tavaras. He said himself that the school he was principal at (South Bronx HS) deserved to close. He admits that his students were failing. If it is not the student’s fault and not the city’s fault that a school closes then it must always the school’s fault that a school is failing. If that is the case then it was his fault that South Bronx was failing. Should he now be trusted to be Deputy Chancellor for Teaching and Learning. Who is to say the whole city won’t fail under his supervision?

Please tell the Mayor, the Chancellor, and the rest of the city to do what is right and save our schools and help our students. Christopher Columbus High School does not deserve to close. Save Christopher Columbus High School!!!

Staff of Christopher Columbus High School

God made Adam & Steve

Dear editor,

Why not give Ken Reynolds his own column instead of allowing him to hog your Letters to the Editor page every week? Your paper has been lacking a right-wing windbag since you dropped your “Taverns” column. A regular plat-form would give Mr. Reynolds a comfort-able place to expound on how disgusting it would be to grant others the rights he has, and to charm us with his clever in-sights on how “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve”.

Ralph Scarpato

Tired of anti-smoking ads

Dear editor,

I am a smoker and I resent the fact that every time I turn the TV on there is a commercial showing a women holding up her hands that are missing fingers due to smoking. I am an adult 70+ years. If I get totally disgusted seeing this then what is the reaction of a child that sees this? I would think that whoever is responsible for paying for this commercial could put the money to better use. There has to be a better way to induce people to stop smoking.

Edith Blitzer

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