Grading The Carter Story
It is gratifying to see your efforts at correcting much of the mythology involved in the Carter saga ["Who Framed Carter High?" April]. Much of the community misunderstanding and misinformation surrounding African-Americans is generated by those in media. Although many persons are well meaning, they often infringe on justice and truth, continuing the legacy of discord and distrust.
Again, it is heartening to see your initiative toward building a self-correcting system.
DISD Board Member
I wish to commend D and Glenna Whitley on the Carter High article. It is unfortunate that there are those who will go to such extremes to undermine administrators and use children to achieve such means. I especially appreciate the effort made to investigate fully all the issues and players of this controversy. When the progress of our young people is threatened, it is essential that we remain united to protect their future.
Principal Russeau has done an outstanding job at Carter, and I stand firmly behind him and his academic program. Under his capable leadership, with the help of dedicated teachers, parents, students, and the community, we will continue to teach our young people sound principles of self-esteem. good sportsmanship, and academic excellence- principles which will ensure that our young people will be given every opportunity to take their rightful place among the future leaders of tomorrow.
I want to commend D for the investigative report into the Dallas Carter controversy. I especially appreciate the fact that you were willing to present some of the evidence in Carter’s defense, while the media and the general public have been so quick to condemn the actions of Carter High School and DISD officials.
The last group of people that should be pointing a finger at someone else for overemphasizing high school football is the Piano Independent School District. The amount of time, money, and emphasis they put on the sport is second to none. According to Dave Campbell’s 1988 Texas Football magazine, there are more than 9,300 secondary students (grades 9-12) in the PISD. That is more than enough students to have three to five 5A senior high schools. Though officials of the PISD will deny it, I feel one of the major reasons why they delayed building a second senior high school for so long, and why they have not added any more, is because they want to maintain the advantage of having so many athletes at only two schools.
Damon M. Cathey
I am a retired teacher. I taught in the Dallas Independent School District, Highland Park, Richardson, and in a well-regarded private school, plus a year in South America. In addition to this, I have taught the products of many school systems at the college level.
I have taught all levels of math from arithmetic through calculus, physics, and numerous liberal arts courses. I have also had the dubious privilege of teaching remedial reading and arithmetic to students who were proud possessors of valid high school diplomas. If there is one thing this experience has taught me, it is that you do not raise academic standards and grades at the same time. There is always a time lag while students who have never had to work and produce learn that they are in a new game with new rules.
Having taught Algebra II many times, I can assure you that it is a rigorous math course; a teacher cannot begin to cover the material if he is expected to take out 20 percent or more of each class period drilling kids on standardized tests. As for weekly tests, many teachers, including me, do not feel that math is a subject that can be chopped up into neat, easily remembered little chunks. It is, instead, a logical development of skills and knowledge. Tests should be given to determine if the child is mastering the subject matter and not to generate paper to justify passing a student who is not progressing as he should.
There are two devastating things that our schools do to a child and that parents happily acquiesce in. The first is not letting him know the thrill of learning that he is capable of performing beyond his own belief, and the second is telling him that sub-par performance is acceptable. Every school that I know has been guilty of these sins, especially to student athletes. Is it any wonder that our children can’t read, balance a checkbook, or find Canada on a map?
As a final thought, has anyone really considered exactly what it was that Carter and the suburban schools were fighting over? From here it seems the struggle was for the right to use the kids to make a lot of money and generate good public relations. Did no one raise the question of whether or not it is sound educational policy to have nearly five months of the nine-month school year preoccupied with playing football?
It becomes immediately obvious to anyone who spends even a short time in a teachers’ lounge that far too many of our classroom instructors are not suited temperamentally or intellectually for their profession. The fact that they are allowed to remain is an indictment not of them but of our value system. If our society decided to spend as much time and energy on educating our young as we do on entertainment, there is no limit to the goals that we could accomplish.
Ruth Fitzgibbons’s editorial and this article reveal the symptoms of the "Obsessive Guilt" syndrome that is so prevalent among the "majority." A syndrome that is skillfully perpetuated by the extremists in the minority communities, An attitude that severely hampers progress in improving the lot of minorities, and in improving race relations in the Dallas area.
It is a real travesty to believe that if we alter our method of measuring skills and knowledge so that underachievers will make better grades, they will have a better chance of leading more successful and productive lives. Success is not achieved through mediocrity.
Robert E. Butler
This is a very revealing disclosure of a subject that had been completely misinterpreted in the community. I think you have rendered a valuable public service by having researched it so well and publishing it.
Massive Egos Exposed!!
Kimberly Goad’s "The New Social Climbers" [April] included a photo of George and Laura Bush. Well, la de dah. Cropped from that same photo were two of Dallas’s most exciting socialites. Bill Nelson is founder and president of high-flying Ed-rington Data, a medical computer software vendor. Pamela Nelson, world renowned artist, is affiliated with a national network of galleries, including Dallas’s own Peregrine Gallery. An error of omission in the Nelsons’ case could hardly be forgiven. To overtly crop them out; how could you?
I have read your magazine regularly since moving here a year ago. 1 know I can count on almost every issue to benignly document another of the corrupted excesses of Dallas "High Society." April’s was no exception. It’s obvious that the many "gala" events the social climbers aspire to produce are merely thinly veiled exercises in pathetic and vulgar ostentation. There is even a certain irony in your mention of their church affiliation, when, in fact, they appear incapable of experiencing the understated and compelling compassion that defines true Christian charity. Stacy Meier’s limp apologia notwithstanding, there are less extravagant and more productive ways to help the needy. Perhaps the social climbers (and Meier) should fast for a day to feel genuine hunger or spend a day in a soup kitchen to witness genuine need. Then maybe the more vacuous aspects of their skewed drive for social acceptance would be graciously muted. Most of us probably don’t have enough money to walk in their rarefied social circles, but then why would anyone ever want to?
The article is the most cynical, biased, and skewed commentary on the volunteer effort I have ever read. As a dedicated activist and volunteer for forty years, I have worked with the women of the yuppie generation and found them to be the most efficient and capable workers I have ever known.
Trained for careers, all have had extensive work experience-some professional, and they hit it running, already familiar with P.R. techniques most of my age group were totally ignorant of. Just a look at the bios of the current debs is awesome. They all have long-term plans-if they have careers they still find time for community activity, they parent with skill, and in affluent or modest circumstances they produce success. They are pure joy to work with and great role models for those of my age (seventy-plus) still in there. If success leads to a rewarding social pat-tern, they’ve earned it. Those mentioned by name should sue for libel. An article like this one puts D magazine in the grocery store tabloid class.
Betty B. Raudels
Your oracle who proclaimed what’s in and what’s out gets an almost perfect score.
However, if they carpool with their Wag-oneers filled with Sarahs and Johns to Park Cities Montessori, and if they are dressed in a Genny from the Gazebo with their pearls, and if they plan their at-home croquet parties with J. Claude, then they would buy their caviar at Simon David. But if they would identify the Simon David, i.e. Inwood Rd., all the other material things they have would prove they were a social climber who was too far out to ever get in, because for in people "like us" there is Simon David and there is that new store over near Piano or Garland or somewhere.
In a city that is over 50 percent non-white, it is unthinkable that the only high society people, institutions, and events worth reporting about are all white. This is just another example of how the Dallas press continues to aggravate race relations here and continues to be irresponsible in their coverage of the goings-on in this city. Goad joins Scott Pelley (Channel 8’s lead reporter on the series entitled "Blues") in presenting only one side of an issue. The fact that her editors do not realize that "high society" (even in Dallas) is not all white reflects very poorly on their ability to see the world around them.
In your article entitled "The New SociaJ Climbers," you refer to a nonexistent organization. Friends of the Zoo. Please let your readers know that the primary fundraising support group for the Dallas Zoo is the Dallas Zoological Society. We consider ourselves to be the Zoo’s best friends!
The Dallas Zoological Society
"The New Social Climbers" was quite a localized history of Dallas power. Having grown up in posh Highland Park and now living in posh Beverly Hills, there is quite a difference. Beverly Hills is truly an International City, no comparison to Dallas. Here we have the thoroughbreds of social society, and living in "the scene" makes Dallas society seem petty. Repeat, seem petty.
Here one can mingle with Iranian investors, African kings, and French multi-billionaires. The true parties happen every night, most are fundraisers. Most people involved only look for money, not last names. You can rub elbows with the likes of Cesar Romero, Mike Tyson, and Ronald Reagan all at the same party!
Table For Two
Doubtless you were having a bit of tongue-in-cheek fun in your "Never Seat Them At The Same Table" sidebar [April], but in the spirit of fairness, let me assure you 1 not only have high regard for Norman Brinker’s civil efforts, but he is a special, treasured friend.
I was the finance chairman for DART, not the campaign chairman, and while Norman and I may have had different views toward a solution, I assure you our intentions are the same-what is best for the Dallas area.
By the time you read this, we may have been at the same table together. Guess where!
Although I realize your comments on who not to seat together were in jest, I want you to know that there were two important facts that were absolutely incorrect.
First, I was not the chairman of SMART, although I supported their position.
Second, Rodger Meier is a very close friend of mine and a person for whom I have the absolute highest regard and respect. 1 look forward to seeing and being with Rodger both personally and socially. In fact. I look forward to having the opportunity to be at the same table with Rodger in the very near future.
Mulder: What Price Victory?
"Mad Dog Mulder" [April] conveys an unfortunate message to the public. It appears to place a controlling value on "winning" by a prosecutor and on money. The creed of an ethical prosecutor is that, when justice is done, the government always wins. It does not call for a good lawyer to cheat in an attempt to put someone to death!
The single prosecutor who stands tall in the Adams affair is Leslie McFarlane, who recognized the ethicaJ duties of a prosecutor to the public in advising the Court of Criminal Appeals that Adams was entitled to a fair trial. The Mulder type of prosecution has been with us too long, and younger prose- ! cutors tend to emulate someone like Mulder. We should be unimpressed about Mulder’s opinion as to guilt. This was the jury’s function, but jurors could not do so because evidence was suppressed. When lawyers forget their high calling, it is society that suffers. This is the message that should stem from the Adams case.
We heartily agree about McFarlane, and said so in a March "Thumbs up."
Sick of Parkland
Shame on you for your praise of Ron Anderson ["Inside Dallas," April]. Only at Parkland can a flu shot turn into an all-day affair and a prescription take two days (one day to turn it in, and a second day to pick it up). Along the way, you get insulted and treated rudely.
No wonder your magazine has turned into the rag it has.
Robert H. Krause
Grading The Carter Story