LETTERS

Back to Schools



Arriving in the same mail delivery was an invitation from DISD to appear May 3 for citizen input on the selection of a new superintendent – as well as my May issue of D Magazine containing your editorial for a “public debate on the choice of Nolan Estes’ successor.”

Since you obviously haven’t noticed, the DISD has been in close partnership these past two years with parents and the community. Churches and businesses are adopting schools and classroom volunteers are welcomed with open arms. If you feel left out, then 1 hazard to guess you want an excuse for not pitching in yourself.

If enrollment has dropped, the crisis has stemmed from the white flight mentality and not a crisis in the educational system. People don’t really care about educational opportunity; they really care about social and economic opportunity. It is not “will my child write” but “will my child associate with the right people.” Private schools aren’t academic sanctuaries; they are social sanctuaries.

The crisis is not in education then: it is in the attitudes of people. And people today are becoming spectators of their own lives. Consequently, all schools, not just the DISD, are public babysitting services because people have totally abdicated to schools not only educational responsibility but the entire spectrum of childhood development.

DISD administration and services have grown to meet the needs and/or inadequacies of the people it serves – and those needs are not purely academic. They stretch all the way from providing breakfasts at 7 a.m. to moral and social counseling.

Today, the DISD offers a range and magnitude of academic opportunity that heretofore existed only at the university level. Even so, this opportunity is only a potential which demands long hard work to realize.

Children are learning a lot at school; if it isn’t what the SAT’s are measuring, then check it off not as a symptom of educational retardation but rather as a symptom of cultural poverty.

Katherine Homan

Dallas



Thank you for your latest hard-hitting and civic-minded editorial calling for public debate on Nolan Estes’ successor.

If war is too important to be left to the generals and law too important to be left to the lawyers, then education is surely too important to be left to the “educationalists.”

I’ve been waiting for someone to call the administrators a self-protective bureaucracy and education in general an industry. You’re right. I applaud your coverage and await some further investigative reporting into student performance measurement in Dallas and area schools.

John R. LeighDallas



They Care



I commend D Magazine for the article (May) on child care. Parents need this type of “consumer education” in regard to child care centers. We have a slide show on “What to look for in day care” that is available to any group.

The writer made one error: The credentials she cited for a director are those basically required for a kindergarten teacher. The director of a center must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or its equivalent, have one year of experience in family day care, group care, teaching or administration, or have a bachelor’s degree or child development associate credentials or an associate of arts degree in child development or a closely related area.

Also, my name is spelled Garbarino.

Anne S. Garbarino

Project Director

Child Care Information &

Referral Service

Dallas



The BBB Has a Complaint



Tom Peeler’s attempt (April) to discover a black hat among all the white hats in consumer protection has resulted in a great disservice to the Better Business Bureau of Metropolitan Dallas, the Dallas business community and your readers.

Peeler’s implication that the BBB is “fronting for the business establishment” since it us owned “lock, stock and file cabinets by business” is a gross distortion of the relationship between the Bureau and the business community. A nonprofit corporation chartered in 1920, the BBB is an agency funded by legitimate businesses, charged with promoting truth and accuracy in advertising and selling in the interest of the consuming public. The suggestion that an agency of the business community cannot be trusted to work toward justice in the marketplace is a slap at the integrity and public-spiritedness of our 1600-plus members, (including D Magazine), not to mention the dedication and hard work of our staff.

Peeler’s reliance on the 1971 Rosenthal Report is unfortunate. What valid criticism the report contains has been largely addressed and eliminated by the Bureaus since 1971. For example, the uniform reporting system which was implemented as a result of the Rosenthal Report, requires that BBBs report governmental actions against businesses for a period of three years following the action.

With respect to the low number of business firms which were expelled from the Bureau last year, it should be pointed out that this is mainly due to the fact that the BBB is extremely careful and quite selective about who is invited to become a member in the first place. Once a firm is invited and makes a formal application for membership, the firm’s file is reviewed by staff, and business and customer references are carefully checked. The Membership Committee of the Board of Directors meets once each month to vote upon acceptance, rejection or expulsion of members. It should be stressed that BBB/Dallas is not an organization that just any firm can join.

Peeler’s conclusion that businesses know the Bureau has no powers is clearly erroneous. True, the Bureau has no law enforcement power; but, it does possess a more effective and efficient power, the power of persuasion. For example, one home improvement contractor told us recently that he lost $45,000 in rescinded contracts in one month’s time as a result of an adverse BBB report on his firm. Consequently, he readily agreed to eliminate the questionable sales pitch that had prompted the issuance of the unfavorable report.

James H. Kolter, President

Belter Business Bureau of

Metropolitan Dallas, Inc.



The Passing Pageant



In regard to your paragraph in “Q & A Update” (May) on the whereabouts of “Max Pageant,” this fellow must really get around because the last time I was in New York City (1972) his name was all over the tunnels of that city’s subways. I wondered then who that fellow was – I should have known he would be from Dallas!

Pam Childress

Dallas

(Will this never end? Another reader assures us that “Max Pageant” was a short-lived musical group whose leader publicized them with his graffiti.)

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