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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - August 27, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas Page 6A — Herald-Zeitung — Saturday, August 27, 2005 FORUM Our Opinion Give segregated learning a chance Segregating students may not be the perfect solution to learning problems, but SVHS officials deserve credit for trying something T new. he new school year opened at Smithson Valley with a surprise for the freshman class — boys and girls will be separated for the core classes of mathematics, English, science and social studies. The word segregation immediately brings about negative thoughts for most Americans, and righdy so. But administrators at Smithson Valley may have a good idea. Principal Chris Trotter said he supported keeping the genders separate for the core classes because boys and girls learn differently. Being able to plan lessons in a way that will benefit the majority of students in the classroom makes sense. The job of all employees at Smithson Valley is to educate students. If keeping the boys away from girls and vice versa for part of the day helps improve the learning of students, it seems like a good move. In a trial run last year involving half of the school’s nin th-graders, the move seemed to work. According to Dana Cole, a school counselor, both genders tested higher than average on TAKS tests after participating in the pilot program. It s too early to tell if the trend will continue and the move will truly be successful. But, it is refreshing that teachers and administrators are seeking new ways to educate students properly. The freshman year at high school is difficult for any student. Making the jump to a bigger campus is hard enough without having to worry constantly about impressing the opposite gender. Segregating students may not be the perfect solution to those problems, but school officials deserve credit for trying something new and deserves time to see if the program succeeds. Today in History By The Associated Press Today is Saturday, Aug. 27, the 239th day of 2005. There are 126 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Aug. 27,1945, American troops began landing in Japan following the surrender of the Japanese government in World War II. On this date: In 1883, the island volcano Krakatoa blew up: the resulting tidal waves in Indonesia’s Sunda Strait claimed some 36,000 lives in Java and Sumatra. In 1892, fire seriously damaged New York’s original Metropolitan Opera House. In 1894, Congress passed the Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act, which contained a provision for a graduated income tax that was later struck down by the Supreme Court. In 1908, Lyndon B. Johnson, the 36th president of the United States, was born near Stonewall, Texas. In 1928, the Kellogg-Briand Pact was signed in Paris, outlawing war and providing for the peaceful settlement of disputes. In 1962, the United States launched the Mariner II space probe, which flew past Venus in December. In 1967, Brian Epstein, manager of the Beades, was found dead in his London flat from an overdose of sleeping pills. In 1975, Haile Selassie, the last emperor of Ethiopia’s 3,000-year-old monarchy, died in Addis Ababa at age 83 almost a year after being overthrown. In 1979, British war hero Lord Louis Mountbatten was killed off the coast of Ireland in a boat explosion claimed by the Irish Republican Army. Ten years ago: American and Chinese officials agreed to begin planning a fall summit between President Clinton and Chinese President Jiang Zemin. Herald-Zeitung Serving Sew Braunfels and Comal (bounty since 1852. New Braunfels Zeitung was founded 1852; New Braunfels Herald was founded 1890. The two papers merged in 1957 and printed in both German and English until 1958. Managing Editor_ Editor and Publisher Circulation Director Advertising Director Business Manager News Editor Gary E. Maitland Doug Toney Jeff Fowler Neice Bell Valerie Shields David Rupkalvis GUESTCOLUMIM Stand with me in standing up for quality education The conclusion of summer vacations serves as an unofficial back-to-school signal. Once again the NBISD is a hub of activity from sunup to sundown. Back-to-school also coincides with the release of data which ranks how our district fared under the state’s Academic Excellence Indicator System and the targets set by the federal No Child Left Behind Act. If you are a parent, by now you know that our district’s scores were up in some areas and not in others. Every time new data is released, there are always those who proclaim that “quality public education’’ is an oxymoron. Critics of public education like to assert that academic achievement is stagnant, American students cannot compete internationally, or that vouchers are the silver bullet. Those who wax nostalgic about “the good old days of education’’ forget that the system was an exclusionary one that discriminated against children of color or those with disabilities. When someone laments the fact that the nation’s public education system is not what it used to be, I agree with them and say, “You’re right! And that’s a good thing!’’ Our school district educates every child who enters through the front doors — regardless of educational, physical or mental needs. This provides children the amazing opportunity to receive a free K-12 education in a diverse environment. I cannot think of a better way to prepare children to grow up and become productive citizens of our diverse nation and world. While meeting the many needs of students, public schools face the critical challenge of closing the achievement gap. AEIS and NCLB hold schools accountable for eliminating the disparity in academic achievement between poor/minority students and those from higher social classes. Many Americans blame failing schools for this gap. As a public school superintendent, raising academic achievement levels for every child in this school system is our No. I priority. But just as two adults respond differently in the same situation, every child is unique and enters school at a different achieve ment level. We will continue to improve our schools’ organization, teaching and learning practices and leadership strategies to meet the needs of all students who come to us. Schools must offer more personalized, individually-tailored approaches that capitalize on what children already know, what their learning styles offer, what new brain research tells us about teaching and learning and what technology offers us. Finally, we all must stay focused on the real goals of education: Giving students the tools they need to succeed in life and preparing them to be good citizens. We have an exceptional generation of children in our schools today, and they should expect nothing short of excellence from all of us. I am committing our school system to do its part and I look forward to working with parents, business and community leaders and our elected officials in making our public school district the best it can be. Stand with me in standing up for public education. RONREAVES Ron Reaves of New Braunfels is superintendent of schools for the New Braunfels Independent School District. LETTERS POLICY Letters must be 250 words or less. ■The Herald-Zeitung reserves the right to edit all submissions. ■ Guest columns should be 500 words or less and must be accompanied by a photo. ■ Address and telephone number must be included so authorship can be confirmed. Mail letters to: Letters to Editor c/o Herald-Zeitung RO. Drawer 311328 New Braunfels, TX 78131-1328 Fax them to: (830) 606-3413 e-mail them to: news@herald- llllllimillll NOW TO CONTACT United States Government PRESIDENT ■ George W. Bush 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, D.C. 20500 SENATE ■ Kay Bailey Hutchison Russell Senate Office Building Room 284 Washington, D.C. 20510 Telephone: (202) 224-5922 Fax: (202) 224-0776 Web: (Send e-mails through Web site.) SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 145 Duncan Drive, Suite 120 San Antonio 78226 Telephone: (210) 340-2885 Fax: (210) 349-6753 ■ John Cornyn Russell Senate-Hart Room 517 Washington, D.C. 20510 Telephone: (202) 224-2934 Fax: (202) 228-2856 Web: (Send e-mails through Web site.) AUSTIN OFFICE: 221 West Sixth St., Suite 1530 Austin 78701 Telephone: (512) 469-6034 Fax: (512) 469-6020 SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 600 Navarro, Suite 210 San Antonio 78205 Telephone: (210) 224-7485 Fax: (210) 224-8569 CONGRESSMAN ■ Lamar Smith Rayburn House Office Building Room 2184 Washington, D.C. 20515 Telephone: (202) 225-4236 Fax: (202) 225-8628 Web address: (Send e-mails through Web site.) SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 1100 NE Loop 410, Suite 640 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 821-5024 Fax: (210) 821-5947 ■ Henry Cuellar 1404 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Telephone: (202) 225-1640 Fax: (202) 225-1641 Web address: SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 1149 E. Commerce St., Suite 210 San Antonio 78205 Telephone: (210) 271-2851 Fax: (210) 277-6671 GOVERNOR HOW TO CONTACT Texas Government ■ Rick Perry State Capitol, Room 2S.1 P.O. Box 12428 Austin 78711 Telephone: (800) 843-5789 Fax: (512) 463-1849 STATE HOUSE ■ Carter Casteel 254 E. Mill St. New Braunfels 78130 Telephone: (830) 627-0215 E-mail address: [email protected] STATE SENATE ■ Jeff Wentworth 1250 NE Loop 410, Suite 720 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 826-7800 WHILE IN AUSTIN: Telephone: (512)463-0125 E-mail address: [email protected] ■ Judith Zaffirini P.O. Box 627 Laredo 78042-0627 SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 12702Toepperwein Road #214 San Antonio 78233 Telephone: (210) 657-0095 Fax: (210) 657-0262A talk with a therapist is what Cindy Sheehan needs The more I listen to Cindy Sheehan and consider her past actions and her past words, it occurs to me she has always been a liberal, she’s always been antimilitary, and shes always been anti-Republican. It appears that she raised Casey in such an environment, yet despite that what does he do? He not only joins the military engaged in a war she bitterly opposes, but to add insult to injury when his enlistment runs out, he re-enlists although he knew that by so doing it meant he would be sent to Iraq where a war his mother despises is being fought. Think about that. What Casey did was to reject not by words but by deeds his mother’s most closely-held beliefs. Then, to make matter worse in her eyes, this son volunteers to go on a dangerous mission even his superiors warned him against, and dies as a result. Casey Sheehan’s sergeant asked for volunteers. Sheehan had just returned from Mass. After Sheehan volunteered once, the sergeant asked Sheehan again if he wanted to go on the mission. According to many reports (and according to his own mother) Casey responded, “Where my chief goes, I go.” I Ie went, and it cost him his life. You can almost hear her saying to his spirit, “How dare you spurn me and turn your back on me? How dare you go join the military, and then how dare you volunteer to fight against the innocent Iraqi freedom fighters and get yourself killed?” Casey Sheehan’s heroic action has embittered Cindy Sheehan. And her actions have embittered her family, who bitterly resent her exploitation of her son’s heroic death in behalf of her political extremism. Here’s what they wrote to Matt Drudge: “The Sheehan Family lost our beloved Casey in the Iraq War and we have been silently, respectfully grieving. We do not agree with the political motivations and publicity tactics of Cindy Sheehan. She now appears to be promoting her own personal agenda and notoriety at the expense of her son’s good name and rep utation. The rest of the Sheehan Family supports the troops, our country, and our president, silently, with prayer and respect.” Cindy Sheehan says she wants to ask the president, “Why did you kill my sort She knows that George Bush did not kill her son. The butchers she supports with her far-out liberal activism killed Casey Sheehan and that activism is now result ing in the deaths of other young Americans because she is giving aid and comfort to our enemies and encouraging them to persist in their terrorism, giving them hope that if her views prevail the U.S. will lose its will and pull out. And sc the fight goes on, and more Casey Sheehans die as a result. And she says of her son, “He died for oil. He died to make your friends,” Bush’ friends, “richer. He died to expand Amel ican imperialism in the Middle East.” Cindy Sheehan doesn’t need to talk to the president. A talk with a therapist would be more appropriate. Sigmund Freud had a concept he called “projection,” which has been defined as a defense where the ego deals with unacceptable impulses and/or terrifying anxieties by attributing them to someone in the external world. In many ways, I think that explains the behavior of the media’s current patron saint, Cindy Sheehan, whose hate rhetoric aimed at President Bush is really meant for someone else who she can’t admit even to herself is her real target. To do so would represent one of those “unacceptable impulses” Dr. Freud was talking about. In this case it could well be that Cindy Sheehan is projecting her rage at George Bush when the one she really despises is her late son, Casey, who died as a hero in Iraq, precisely because he did die a hero in Iraq. MIKEREAGAN Mike Reagan, the eldest son of President Ronald Reagan, is heard on more than 200 talk radio stations nationally as part of the Radio America Network. ;