Friday, October 24, 2008

Dear Samuel Swann

I'm a big fan of free-circ serials and newspapers, and today I saw CityNewsUSA (serving Cleveland, Akron and Columbus) for the first time. I'm a retired librarian, and at one time I'd planned to write an article about the role of free-circs in the information food chain, lamenting that they aren't indexed (at least they weren't in 1999). They are an excellent source of news, advertising, and a good market for writers, but without being indexed, they are a hard to find segment. I gave up that project before I retired in 2000. By then I had collected about 40 that served our metropolitan area--pets, recreation, sports, leisure, politics, religion, fashion, home decor, cooking, parenting, book reviews, etc. Perhaps the internet advertising has solved the print indexing problem.

I was very impressed by your article "Making the Grade; gaps still exist between urban and suburban grad rates," on p. 8 of the Oct-23-29, Columbus edition. I just blogged on that topic two days ago, referencing a Columbus school teacher, the Wall Street Journal, and a current book review. Columbus and Cleveland were in the bottom five of 50 major cities. The WSJ article used the study you cited commissioned by America's Promise Alliance.

I am a big booster of marriage and parental involvement as the #1 best reducer of poverty and poor academic performance by children, and was glad to see that you included it as
    The biggest reason we have so many drop outs in Cleveland is lack of parental involvement and the failure of the middle schools to continue the grammar school educational process."
I know your paper is a heavy supporter of Obama-Biden, however, I don't see this as a resource or funding problem as you also suggested. The Ohio parent who sued a few years ago was in a district that had much higher graduation rates with lower per-pupil state funding. For instance, Obama wants universal day care beginning in infancy, when we're already spending $11 billion on child care for at risk children, and it hasn't made any difference. How can children of poor single mothers compete with children from in tact homes with biological, married parents? (I'm speaking statistically--this is not to say individual single parents can't or won't do a good job.)

Keep up the good work of reminding parents that children need their involvement to succeed--and I would add a reminder that Uncle Sam is a poor step-father.

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