Demons of privatization 

Edison will build on Christel House progress
In his attempt to scapegoat

Edison will build on Christel House progress

In his attempt to scapegoat Christel House Academy and other Indianapolis charter schools as demons of privatization, Jack Miller has ultimately missed the point and done a disservice to the children of Indianapolis (First Person, “Christel House Hires Edison,” June 9-16).

The decision to engage Edison School, Inc. to provide educational services to this new charter school founded in 2002 was not made to “inject market values into education” as Mr. Miller states in his article, but to offer many underserved children in our community a chance for a better education and a better future.

The fact is charter schools are public schools operated by non-profit organizations. Instead of trying to understand the compelling reasons for the existence of charter schools and their unique mission in concert with the broader public school system and the community as a whole, Mr. Miller chooses to demonize not only Edison and its management but the motives of local philanthropic organizations such as the Lilly Foundation, Christel House International and the actions of the Perry Township superintendent of schools.

While it is indeed reasonable to talk critically about the results and accomplishments (or failures) of entities engaged to educate our children, it is not correct to imply that the argument is simply one of public versus private. The argument should and always will be, “what is best for our children” and how do we achieve it. It is the goal of the many organizations involved in the charter school movement to try innovative and challenging new models that work for all stakeholders in the education system, teachers included. It doesn’t take much effort to malign the motives of individuals or organizations that seek to improve the system through alternative choices and methods that challenge the status quo.

Where we see hope, innovation and a better future for kids, Mr. Miller chooses to see deception, political manipulation and failure. Mr. Miller’s use of implied associations, improvised statistics and second-hand quotes to slander the charter school movement and those who seek better educational opportunities for children who often were left behind in their previous school settings is clearly an attempt to make a case for his own political and economic paranoia.

After one year at Christel House Academy, our students achieved the largest increase in ISTEP scores of all charter schools in Indianapolis. We intend to work together with Edison to build on our progress to date and continue to try to identify and implement whatever educational tools work best for our students and teachers.

If you want to slander “privatization,” Mr. Miller, you could in all fairness choose a more worthy target than those organizations and individuals who are trying to serve the needs of children who represent the future of our city. We stand by our mission, results, financial integrity and our commitment to the students, parents and the teachers of Indiana for a better future through learning.

Christel DeHaan

Smite the evildoers

Thank you for the honest, but supportive review of Michael Moore’s film (Film, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” June 23-30). I especially appreciate your assessment of Bush as a religious zealot out to save, and then mold the world to into his concept of purity and righteousness. He reminds me of some other recovering addicts I’ve encountered who adopt a holier than thou, convert the (other), druggies/smite down the evildoers, posture, once they’ve found what they think is recovery; but all they’ve really found is another vice with which to corrupt themselves and harm others. Anyway, I hope you keep writing, because I enjoy your movie reviews, but more, I appreciate your wisdom, insight and empathy. Ever think of running for president?

Donald Carey

Dog biting a problem

I just wanted to comment on Mary Lee Pappas’ article on dog fighting (Cover, “Blood Sport, June 2-9). It was an excellent piece. I especially liked the front cover photo. My son was bitten by a dog a few years ago, and this unfortunately brought this problem to my attention. I think stories like this could allow other people to become aware of this problem before they become a victim as well. Children getting bit by abandoned fight dogs, or by dogs their neighbors or parents buy and bring home, is a big problem. Just ask any plastic surgeon.

Laura Neidig

Evangelical Bible-thumpers

I’m somewhat disappointed by the “Honored for Their Perseverance” article (Dispatch, June 9-16). Who wrote that piece?

A story about people directly helping people is great! However, Outreach, Inc. is a group of evangelical Bible-thumpers who have an ulterior motive. The group’s Web site says: “The mission of Outreach, Inc. is to further the Kingdom of God by empowering CHRISTIAN churches to ‘reach’ their communities for Jesus Christ.

“The ‘vision’ of Outreach, Inc. is to invite every person in America to a ‘Bible-believing church’ each year and ULTIMATELY into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” (Caps and quotation marks are mine.)

Note the group’s goal, which is not to help anyone, including kids! The group’s goal is to convert everyone to their version of one religion. I hope future articles point this contradiction out.

John Kiel

A wonderful production

Ironic that the third definition of the word “critic” in the Random House dictionary says “a person who tends too readily to make captious, trivial, or harsh judgements”? I think not. So that the “voice of others” may be heard, I have to say I’m disappointed in Lisa Gauthier’s review of 1776 by the Wayne Township Community Theater (Culture Vulture, “History Lesson in Song,” June 23-30). Granted, her review was nothing more than a personal opinion, as is mine, I have to say that it was a wonderful production.

I thought the cast, in general, did a remarkable job putting the show together and highlighted some very talented people including some of those that Lisa thought were empty.

One thing I think we should all remember, especially NUVO magazine, is that these community players are volunteers. If they were actors getting “way too much per episode” it might be different. But, these are regular, everyday people who simply enjoy putting on a show for the enjoyment of the public. We should not only support this and other community theater groups, but NUVO would be better served to encourage groups like this in their review, rather than break them down. I understand the need for opinions, but why don’t we encourage people to attend the shows to make their own opinion if the reviewer doesn’t like it. Where else can you see live theater for $8-$10? It will cost you the same for a 90 minute movie, and 1776 lasted two and a half! What a bargain!

I attended the show this weekend, despite the poor review. I’m glad I did, because I thought the show was fantastic, and I felt good about supporting local theater, which is good for the community. It gives me pause to think that the next time Lisa gives a show bad review, I’ll be first in line to buy a ticket!

To the cast of 1776, the audience thought you were great. Keep up the good work, and thanks for sacrificing your spare time (and family time) to make us smile.

Brandon Miller

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