Keeping Kids Safe From Art

Letters published February 15, 2001

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Down to Earth
Picasso went to public school: In response to Frank Dzik's letter ["Kids in the Clink," January 25] about his charter school, I quote . . . "They conduct parent satisfaction surveys, because, after all, aren't the parents the customers?" I thought the students were the customers.

He further says, "The curriculum is excellent and features a back-to-the-basics approach, a longer school day, structured discipline, moral focus programs . . ." This school sounds like a dreary, oppressive, and frightening place! I'm not sure what he means by "back to the basics," but speaking as a music specialist married to a drama specialist, children need the arts to enrich, enliven, and involve them in the learning of the "basics." Consider Howard Gardner's "multiple intelligences" theory and other research showing the correlation between the arts and academic achievement, not to mention happier, more motivated students.

What exactly does he mean by structured discipline and moral focus programs? It sounds as if Mr. Dzik begins with the presupposition that all children are immoral, undisciplined thugs. Discipline issues decrease when the environment is stimulating, relevant, and sometimes even fun (what a concept!).

Every child deserves a wonderful education, regardless of economic stature. I am grateful for the education I received in the Cleveland public schools (in the '60s-'80s). It is very sad to me that the system has declined so much since then.

I live in L.A. now, but hope that Cleveland can work together to better all the schools -- and remember, the arts are essential!

Susan Porter Basom
Los Angeles, California

Mayor-PD feud lacks color commentary: Thomas Francis's article about the feud between Cleveland Mayor Michael White and The Plain Dealer was excellent ["Mike's Cold War," January 25]. However, as a black reporter with 20 years' experience in the newspaper industry, [I found] the lack of discussion about race as a factor in the relationship was an interesting omission.

Kevin McKenzie
Memphis, Tennessee

PO'd at The PD: Thanks for a fair and accurate article on Mayor White's fight with The Plain Dealer. I am one of the people who has canceled his subscription to The PD because of its unfair, unmitigated, biased reporting on Mike White's administration. I felt so outraged by the paper's behavior, I personally wrote the entire management staff to tell them how I felt and that I would no longer buy their newspaper. I also told them that Mike White's accomplishments would always speak louder than their petty, vindictive behavior. But this isn't the only example of their miserable reporting: The Joel Rose coverage was another, and if you recall, Mary Rose Oakar won her lawsuit against The PD when they libeled her!

This is why Scene and the Free Times and all the alternative papers are so important. Please give my praise to your publisher, editor, and entire staff for their courage in presenting outstanding reportage.

Victor Salupo

Gap scam resteams a reader's clams: I was walking out of the gym this morning and glanced at the new issue of Scene. I was surprised to see the Gap article ["Running With the Gap Gang," February 1]. My blood got warmer and warmer as I read the article, until it was boiling at the conclusion. I am always surprised at how this whole incident continues to infuriate me. Your article brought so many of these angry feelings to the forefront, but the reason I am writing you is to commend you on an article very well written. I appreciate the fact that you were able to see right through their sickening disguise, just as we at the Gap were. I appreciate the fact that you were able to explain the intricate details so clearly.

The fact that these people will be out of jail in just over a year is scary to me, because there is not a doubt in my mind that they will resume their "jobs" of ripping retail establishments blind. I can only hope that their stupidity will get them caught again, or better yet, that they will go on to pay for the crimes they committed in Buffalo.

I think your article was an excellent piece of work. Thank you for bringing this kind of criminal to the public's attention.

Name withheld upon request
via the Internet

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