Letters to the Editor — March 27, 2015

Hattier responds to previous letter


Last week you had a writer commenting on the educational status and preparedness of students graduating the Indian River School District and entering colleges and universities. He was of the opinion that our students would not be adequately prepared for the high educational standards that many colleges require.

While almost any school district can do better, the Indian River School District graduates and sends to colleges with more than adequate preparedness compared to most Delaware schools. We are and continue to be a leader in education in the state of Delaware.

This is continuously evidenced by the state coming to IRSD to see what we are doing right and then trying to emulate those procedures. Many times we as a district do this in spite of and not because of the leadership coming from Dover and the federal government.

This leads to the next item. We as a district and all rural districts are struggling to cope with the serious influx of unprepared students from other countries. Many, if not all, of these children have no comparable educational background to what our students have had from kindergarten onwards, and we as districts are asked to bring them up to grade level within a one- to two-year period.

And then we as districts are held accountable if we can’t. If it was possible to take an average 14-year-old who speaks the main language here up to a high school level in two years, why would we even bother with K-8 and just save the money? It can’t be done.

Add to that a strong different language and cultural overtone, and the issue gets nothing but worse. Our schools are and ought to be taught in the main language of our nation: English. Look to Europe to see what happens when multiple languages are required. It only leads to a division of the people and does nothing to promote the melting pot and unity that the United States was built on. “E Pluribus Unum.”

This is not demeaning the children who come in. It is a simple statement of the financial and educational load. We as a district want all children to succeed. We need as a society for all of them to succeed. It does reduce crime, welfare dependency, etc., if a child is properly educated.

I praise the IRSD for educating and working overtime to make these kids succeed. It isn’t the children’s fault that they arrived here unannounced and unprepared. But it would have been proper and nice had we been asked in advance if this was a challenge we wanted to accept.

As it is, we had over 70 children thrust on us in January through March of 2014 that came with no resources, no proper paperwork, etc. Try registering a regular American citizen in school without any paperwork. These kids are all given a special pass. That has created a two-tier system, which isn’t fair to those that play by the rules. Doesn’t the writer care about the citizens who are already here?

It is obvious that the writer has no clue how the state and federal government allocate resources. This large group entailed moving funding around in mid-year, with no extra money coming to the district. This is true of all districts in our situation. And, no, we don’t get all the money we want. The times now dictate much tighter funding in general than 10 to 15 years ago.

This problem lies with the federal government for not adequately guarding our borders. It is not an issue of advocating for students. We already do that once they are here. That record is abundantly clear for anyone looking at what the district does.

It is a question of fairness to those of us playing by the rules and trying to live within the framework established by laws. Those that come in unannounced and illegally have made, and will continue to make, a mockery of those laws.

The folks in our district have my strongest admiration for the work they do and the time they took to establish programs to try and meet the needs of those that were “forced” on us. To have a writer demean that, I don’t understand. He owes the district as whole an apology.

Donald Hattier, Board Member
Indian River School District

Democrat official talks values, committee


President Obama recently began his State of the Union address to Congress with positive comments on the state of the economy. He noted that our economy is growing, the deficit is down, industry is doing well, and energy production is up. Unemployment is down, along with the price of gasoline, and consumer confidence is improving. This is a coming together of many positive factors that will provide us a chance to make some decisions about our future for the short and long range.

One of the more important decisions before us is to decide whether we will become comfortable with a society where only a few do spectacularly well. Or, will we commit and invest in an economy that provides for rising income and opportunities for all who make an effort?

The present and the future are about us and our values, our Democratic values.

As our economy has regained its balance and moved out of a deep recession it has been with determined effort our fellow citizens and the committed leadership of our president. This rebound is based on our Democratic commitment to care about our fellow Americans, to increase the minimum wage and provide affordable health care for all.

I don’t mean to suggest that there are no problems or that we may be on the doorstep of a perfect world. But, to paraphrase the president’s address, will we allow ourselves to be divided into factions turned against each other or will we join together in a sense of common purpose that has made us able to accomplish great things?

We have this time to consider why we are Democrats and what we want to become as we look ahead to 2016. We can take this time to determine how we will achieve our ideals. This reminds me of quote from Bobby Kennedy, “Let our expectations always slightly exceed our grasp.” I urge you to join your fellow Democrats to stand together in unity and determination. This means we will also have differences and sometimes challenge each other.

I remember my dad helping me understand our party a little bit better with a quote from Will Rogers. When asked what was his party affiliation Mr. Rogers replied, “I don’t belong to any organized party, I’m a Democrat.”

Join with the 38th Electoral District Democratic Committee the first Wednesday of the month at the South Coastal Library in Bethany Beach on Kent Avenue at 7 p.m., or contact me at (302) 537-2968.

Eric E. West, Chairman
38th District Democratic Committee