Featured Stories

Plan goes beyond Pearl

by:  JIM CLARK, Parent activists Kirsten Lee (left) and Nancy Davis say funding’s necessary for a school, 
a community center and child care that would serve families throughout the central city, not just the Pearl District.

We wish to correct a misstatement in the geographic focus of letters that families throughout Portland have sent to city leaders advocating for funding a school, community center and child care in the River District - not just the Pearl District.

If funded by River District urban renewal area funds, they would support families who live, learn, work and play throughout the central city.

The overriding 'Pearly' angle did not fully convey the scope (neither geographically nor philosophically) of our work in the central city. Your coverage elicited strong responses from numerous people objecting to a Pearl-based focus, something we are making every effort to push beyond (Parents call for a Pearl with room for kids to grow, March 4).

In fairness, writer Peter Korn did mention the scope of our work extending beyond the Pearl to 'downtown,' but that still does not fully encompass where we hope to eventually reach.

Central Portland Families is making every effort to align with what the city itself defines as the 'Central City,' not just the Pearl. This is an important distinction to make in order to build the broadest and strongest coalition of parents, families and concerned citizens.

Furthering a separation between the Pearl District 'and everyplace else' helps no one, especially not families seeking to build more complete communities across what essentially are artificial boundaries.

We do hope you will keep Central Portland Families in mind for future stories but that you will regard our work in a less tightly Pearl-prescribed light.

Kirsten Lee

Nancy Davis

Central Portland Families co-founders

Northwest Portland

School isolates rather than educates

Jennifer Anderson's story 'Latin academy built on old-school curriculum' (March 14) about the Ecce Veritas Academy seems to be a feel-good feature story about a unique school.

However, it's an alarming story - these children are being educated in a Catholic (and Christian) version of a madrasah, a school meant to indoctrinate children in fundamentalist beliefs and isolate them from 'impure' society.

John Gallagher's comment that 'students are not to argue with teachers about moral issues, but we want them to ask questions for clarity, things that don't make sense' sounds like indoctrination, not education.

Education on morals and ethics should be exactly that: argument. Argument over what is ethical behavior, not indoctrination as to what the Catholic Church hierarchy believes at this moment.

Ecce Veritas seems more like a school bent on isolating than educating students.

Aaron Varhola

Northeast Portland

Classical curriculum helps students

The fundamental problem with public education is that it has abandoned any attempt at cultivating a deep yearning for truth in the pupil. Opinion trumps truth in public schools, and when this occurs students learn there is no reason to think.

By living in the secular world and studying through a classical curriculum, Ecce Veritas students will be much more aware of the different approaches in education and, upon graduating, may even be able to defend which methods are better (Latin academy built on old-school curriculum, March 14).

When we, as a society, cheer when kids finally read books - even if they are as puerile as the Harry Potter series - shouldn't we all be looking for a different education approach?

Miguel Gahan

Vancouver, Wash.

Without music, we're left with mediocrity

The most appalling lack in our current system of education is a thorough grounding in music, which is a great basis on which to build everything else.

For people throughout the ages, music was a crucial part of culture, religion, education and history - not to mention everyday life. They taught their children about life and their world using song and story.

Having been fortunate enough to have a family life filled with music, I can understand the value of starting young.

At the age of 3, one doesn't necessarily know that singing in front of people should be nerve-racking or scary. This helps to create a confidence that will carry across into other areas of one's life.

Confidence is key in academia; we must try things that never have been done before. To essay is really to try, to attempt. Without confidence, how can that happen?

Learning about music should not be a privilege but a valued aspect of the educational environment. We must all strive to leave a strong legacy, and right the wrong being done to our children by demoting them to mediocrity.

Kimberly Stites

Forest Grove