By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Dead Man's Party
Stiffed: I just finished reading the excellent article "Grave Robbers," by Thomas Korosec (November 6), and I'm walking around my apartment incensed. I'd sure love to know why the mayor's new crime initiative is focusing on lap dances and shopping carts, and lousy criminals like these are left to roam the streets of Dallas. I wish the powers that be would pull their collective heads from their rears and start focusing on the REAL crime that is affecting our city and not the crimes that satisfy their petty agendas. A friend of mine had her identity stolen and couldn't get anyone from the Dallas Police Department to take her seriously.
Men Behaving Badly: I normally despise the Dallas City Council and their wicked ways, but their recent attacks on the sex industry in Dallas are honorable and necessary ("Feel Coppers," by Jim Schutze, October 30). For the record, before anyone whips out their cards, I'm not a Christian or a right-wing conservative. I believe sex is a good thing, just like everyone else in the world. Strip/lap dance clubs, however, have little to do with sex. They are more about male chauvinism, domination and objectifying women. They are also about the consumption of America's most abused drug--alcohol. Put the two together and you have a very lascivious and degenerate recipe for humans behaving at their worst. Just visit one of Dallas' many strip clubs on any given night, and you'll see it firsthand. It's an utterly disgusting and embarrassing display. These places shouldn't even exist in a civilized society. It's not a right or left issue--it's a right or wrong one.
Odious description: Regarding the October 30 article by Christine Biederman on the Nasher Sculpture Center ("The Man and the Monument"): The review was appropriate, but the personal description of Mr. Nasher--"...and bald of pate, with a hooked nose..."--was completely unnecessary and inappropriate. The writer describes Mr. Nasher's parents as being denied opportunities because of anti-Semitism and then proceeds to describe him with a "hooked nose" description, which has had historically odious overtones. If the writer had used odious physical descriptions of other ethnic/racial groups, it most likely would never have passed editorial review. Mr. Nasher has left a great artistic treasure to Dallas. The Dallas Observer needs to extend an apology and applause to this fine Dallas gentleman.
Where are the parents?: I am always saddened and amused when people who apparently have no experience in today's school system try to state with an air of authority "what should be done" in the schools. If a kid can't read, it is always the teacher's fault. Reuben L. Owens wrote (Letters, November 6) that if we teachers get a student who is very behind in his/her knowledge/skills set, we should:
1. Notify the administration.
2. Find out who the last teacher was.
3. Have them "take action" about it.
4. Place the child in "remedial" classes right away.
I tell you what, Mr. Owens, quit your job, come to work in the DISD and try to do what you just said! Let me give you a reality check:
1. I teach SEVEN classes with 174 students.
2. At least half read below level for ninth to 10th grade, and some are "special education."
3. Many do not speak English fluently, so try teaching "feudalism" and "manorialism" in a simple English form while not boring native speakers to tears.
4. Remedial classes? What decade are you in? Being behind does not qualify a student for anything. If I believe that a student qualifies for special education, I must fill out a form, the school must test the kid, and a meeting of the Student Support Team and the Special Education departments must choose the best solution. Even then, the kid will probably be put right back into my class, only now I have to do more paperwork demonstrating what individual adjustments (IEPs) I alone have to make to get this kid to pass. What is the point?
5. He called it a crime? Excuse me, under what part of the Texas Penal Code is it a crime not to teach a kid English? I am sure the Dallas police have time for that, too.
Oh, and Mr. Owens assumes it is the teacher's fault only? Did this kid hatch from an egg? Where are the parents? Where are they? Where are they? I say again, Where are they?
Teachers have to take any kid who walks in the door. Because of shortages, we must keep some teachers who are not as desirable as we would like. Until society respects teachers the way they do entertainers and athletes, we will not have the best in every classroom.
Mr. Fish and Mr. Owens need to come work with me. I will give them a book, the IEPs, the attendance sheets, the phone lists for parents, the truancy lists, the parent conference lists, TAKS list, TEKS list, scope and sequences, expanded curriculums, lesson plans, quizzes, tests, homework sets and everything else I have to do by myself every week/month.