Start early for lifelong learning
ISSUE | LEARNING Shared effort Mayor Nutter points to compelling evidence that early learning contributes to long-term academic, social, and economic achievement ("Nutter, Kenney trumpet new push for early-childhood learning," June 3). The city's Running Start effort is built on the concept of collective impact to improve the well-being and academic prowess of young Philadelphians.
ISSUE | LEARNING
Mayor Nutter points to compelling evidence that early learning contributes to long-term academic, social, and economic achievement ("Nutter, Kenney trumpet new push for early-childhood learning," June 3). The city's Running Start effort is built on the concept of collective impact to improve the well-being and academic prowess of young Philadelphians.
Similarly, the Philadelphia Nurse-Family Partnership and its complementary home visitation models serve pregnant and parenting families until the youngest child reaches 5 years of age and enters school. These models exemplify the adage about an ounce of prevention.
We commit to actively participating in this collaborative to help children succeed. If they succeed, we all succeed, as does the city.
|Kay Kinsey, nurse adminstrator, Philadelphia Nurse-Family Partnership, Mabel Morris Parents as Teachers, Philadelphia
Takes a superhero
The children of Philadelphia need a hero, someone to do battle with the recalcitrant Harrisburg lawmakers who seem to view anyone and anything from the city as an enemy ("Wolf: Phila. schools matter," June 13). Gov. Wolf seems to get it. I don't know if he can leap tall buildings, but I hope that he can leap over the resistance in Harrisburg.
|Sheryl Kalick, Philadelphia
ISSUE | DIGITAL CITY
Update due 311 app
Among all the exciting developments in Philadelphia, the Philly 311 mobile app actually got me more excited to live and work in the city. It was a bold move that showed Philadelphia was getting serious about improving civic engagement.
However, in recent years, although the app and website have updated their design, the number of services that can be requested and submitted via Philly 311 has remained relatively constant. Compared with the number of services other cities allow their citizens to submit via their versions of the 311 app, Philadelphia allows fewer. Cities such as North Miami Beach, Fla., allow requests for more than 50 services vs. our 17.
It would be great if the city could improve and expand services within the Philly 311 app.
|Vaughn Parker, Philadelphia, firstname.lastname@example.org
ISSUE | CONVENTIONS
Not taxpayers' tab
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.) has introduced a bill that would use $100 million from the Justice Department to pay for security for the presidential nominating conventions - in essence, to pay for their big quadrennial parties, including the Democrats' gathering in Philadelphia.
I do agree that cities shouldn't be responsible for convention security. So how about if the money comes out of each party's coffers? It might mean they will have a bit less to spend on those political ads that we love so much, but I think most of us could live with that rather than having it come out of our taxes.
|Alan Bronstein, Elkins Park
ISSUE | GIRARD COLLEGE
Merger with Hershey would be sweet
"The Girard College campus of the Milton Hershey School" has a captivating ring in my mind as a 1961 Girard Hummer ("Time for Girard and Hershey schools to merge," June 9). But I wish that commentators Peter Shoemaker and Peter G. Scotese had suggested ideas on how to make it happen.
I firmly believe the only way to maintain the legacy of Stephen Girard's college is to convince the powers that be on the Board of Directors of City Trusts to find a way to transfer Girard's endowment and physical plant ownership in its entirety to the Milton Hershey organization. That would cede control and management of Girard to Hershey as a campus in accordance with its business model. I believe a Girard campus of Hershey would be a great success in the best interest of needy children and would contribute to the positive image of Philadelphia.
|Edward Smith, Warminster
ISSUE | LIBRARIANS
Story time isn't the gamut of duties
Yes, some school librarians do make as much as teachers with the same education and experience ("Modern lit," June 12). That's because librarians are certified teachers, but, unlike teachers, they must have master's degrees.
Librarians have rigid class schedules that do involve reading to the youngest students while also teaching research and literacy skills. Older students are taught how to find, organize, and evaluate information from the best resources, which often do not include Google.
Many librarians are at work early and stay late to accommodate working parents' schedules. In some schools, librarians are advisers, department heads, curriculum coordinators, and administrators. They provide technical and audiovisual assistance, answer reference questions, monitor study halls, maintain information databases, recommend reading materials, and run clubs. Some teach keyboarding and word processing.
Many librarians have no free periods; no help with clerical tasks, cataloging, acquisition, or shelving; and no cover for bathroom breaks. As National Public Radio reporter Linton Weeks once noted, "In the nonstop tsunami of global information, librarians provide us with floaties and teach us to swim."
|Patricia Bender, Philadelphia
ISSUE | ARTS
Summertime, and cultured living is easy
It has become our tendency to busy ourselves almost beyond our capacity to cope, causing us to rush from activity to activity and leaving little time to appreciate art, attend a live performance, sit and really listen to music - rather than hearing it only as background sound - visit an art museum, or attend a theater or dance production.
Of equal importance to enjoying other people's art is taking the time to create our own: to sing, dance, draw, sculpt, play an instrument, write; or act. Art creation is not an exclusive privilege reserved to those we call talented. Producing art is a human right, a means of self-expression that we can choose to share with others or to do just for ourselves.
As we enter the summer season, it's a perfect time to slow down, put away your digital devices, and listen, observe, attend, and create. The arts enrich life, lift our spirits, and nurture the soul.
|Renee Sutin, New Jersey School of Music, Medford, email@example.com
ISSUE | CHRISTIE
Time for N.J. millionaires to dig deeper
I am concerned about Gov. Christie's priorities. When he entered office, he promised property tax relief, but property taxes go up year after year just as they have all along. Christie claims he has never raised a tax while governor, but cutting programs like the earned income tax credit and the property tax rebate is not different from a tax increase and falls right on the backs of middle-class workers.
A millionaire's tax should be on the table. I have yet to hear a convincing argument as to why taxing income over $1 million at a slightly higher rate would be so catastrophic, and it would absolutely help with the state's fiscal problems. Christie has proven that he is confortable forcing the middle class (and the poor) to pay more. Why not ask the wealthiest residents to do the same?
|Bob McErlane, Gibbstown