Schools great equalizer
In response to the July 16 article by columnist Charles Haynes regarding school vouchers and Louisiana Rep. Valerie Hodges' exception to Islamic schools also getting the use of vouchers, I say, therein lies the problem. If vouchers are allowed, be ready to accept that all religious groups can use them.
Proponents of vouchers address their right to choose, but in many areas school options are already available with the offerings made by a Montessori or charter school. It would be difficult to fathom exclusive schooling for a few that may perpetuate the stereotype that some religions are evil and unworthy of vouchers as Rep. Hodges proposes.
Between 1880-1930, 37 million immigrants came to the United States. Public schools were the great equalizer. Even though the Germans would return to their ethnic neighborhood and the Irish and Italians to theirs, the public schools took every child. By putting a face and personality with a child, people may gain an insight to what just being human, innocent and culturally or religiously different really means.
Grateful for SEEDS
My grandchildren have attended Woodlands Charter School from kindergarten through eighth grade. It has the tremendous advantage of having very small classes, dedicated staff and a community-based student body.
From there the grandchildren graduate to Kalkaska High School. They go from a close-knit, very small student body to an entirely different world of high school. They don't know the majority of students; it's a very difficult change. My granddaughter in particular is quiet and shy and was having a terrible time adjusting. We were frequently hearing, "I hate high school, I have no friends." Then she discovered the SEEDS program.
The dedicated staff that runs the SEEDS program has turned her high school life around. They manage to create an atmosphere of caring and sharing, combined with tutoring and wonderful activities that very few teenagers could refuse, and there is no cost involved for the students.
They continue the program through the summer months. So far this summer my granddaughter has gone horseback riding, kayaking, and next week is survival school.
I am so very grateful to the staff of this miraculous program.