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Loss in Power for School Board Member Is No Surprise

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The recent removal of Keith West from various committees on the Richmond Public School Board ("Drop the Pompoms: School Board Feud Gets Ugly," Web Exclusive, March 19), most likely may have nothing to do with his performance, but image. Consider how "bad" it looks when he stated publicly he would not send his kids to the city schools ("The Broken Rule," Back Page, March 19).

On the other hand, I do not blame him.

Since I no longer live in Richmond, I have no dog in this fight. But I would like to offer an opinion based on my 12 years of working for Richmond Public Schools. Let me say the current superintendent (who I knew) has done a remarkable job with all the challenges at hand. I worked with many people who gave "above and beyond" the call every day and made a difference. On the elementary level, RPS has children that are well mannered and eager to learn so the system is winning that battle. However, if I were a parent of a child, I would not send my kid to any public schools in any city, county, whatever, in the U.S., period.

All public school systems, for whatever reasons you can think of (students behavioral and socioeconomic problems, SOLs and teaching to tests, lack of resources, lack of parent interaction, obsolete facilities, changing of superintendents frequently, too much overhead, underpaid teachers, who knows what else), has ruined public education. And as much as I am a product of public schools, at this point the system has too many systemic problems to really be effective in preparing children.

Now I do not think private schools are any panacea, but the chances of student success is greatly enhanced. The early years of discipline and structure give the foundation for learning and becoming an adult who can contribute to society.

Stephen Kadar Jr.
Newport News



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