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S’side schools support professional development

We want to extend to Mrs. Joanne Kilian and the Sunnyside School Board a heartfelt appreciation for the opportunity for the professional development we experienced as a result of our trip to Texas. This trip provided us a learning opportunity of a lifetime, which we will in turn share with our colleagues and students.

Our trip to Texas was another clear illustration of how fortunate we are to work in a district that supports professional development and does care for children. Your continued support and guidance affirms your commitment to providing traditional and non-traditional learning opportunities for educators and administrators.

We networked with colleagues from across the nation and we realized through these collegial exchanges the excellence of our district, the commitment of our administrators and the unfailing support of a school board that supports and values dual language instruction.

We are all excited to begin the sharing process with our colleagues, administrators and most importantly with our students, who will benefit immediately from our expanded knowledge and understanding of critical language acquisition concepts.

Again, we thank you for your willingness to invest in us through professional development by providing exposure and access to experts and best practices in dual language at the 2005 National Association for Bilingual Education.

/s/ Teresa Puente, Lydia Garcia, Andrea McCallum, Joe Veloz, David Diaz, Doris Matson, Petra Armendarez, Andrea Lopez, Eva Tiliano, Kimberley Cook

Program cuts short-sighted

Our TRIO community is shocked and deeply disappointed by the official announcement of the proposed elimination of Upward Bound and Talent Search.

We are dismayed by the news that GEAR-UP is on the administration's hit list as well.

Programs like Upward Bound, Talent Search and GEAR-UP serve first generation, low-income students who need a little extra assistance to become educated, productive tax-paying adults.

It is tragically short-sighted of the Bush administration to seek to end these programs in the name of "No Child Left Behind." Are standardized tests in high schools a reasonable substitute for one-on-one mentoring and rigorous instruction for students who have low aspirations and few family resources? Clearly not!

The proposed budget's supporting document claims that Upward Bound is ineffective, citing the Office of Management and Budget's PART score. Ironically, the low-scoring section of the evaluation was tied to a lack of data that could only have been provided by the Department of Education. If you don't have the data to measure the progress of the program, how can you judge it to be ineffective?

Our community will aggressively address this spurious assault on Upward Bound and Talent Search. Many students present and past will speak out about the value of the programs and the positive impact on their lives.

We are confident that members of Congress will object to this wholesale disposal of popular and successful programs that, since 1965, have helped two million first generation students earn college degrees and find rewarding careers.

/s/ Dr. Arnold Mitchem, President, Council for Opportunity in Education, Washington D.C.

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