Really Down on the Farm
I am a 1997 graduate of Alhambra High School, which is located in the Phoenix Union High School District, and I would like to offer my view of a magnet school ("Hayden High School Had a Farm, e-i-e-i-o," Michael Kiefer, June 26).

Alhambra's magnet program is the Center for Sports Medicine. When I attended orientation, I was shown the wonderful equipment in the fitness center and the famous "million-dollar, all-weather track." However, I was not shown the library, a computer center or even a science lab. During my years at Alhambra, I never was able to find a book that I needed in the school library, never attended an educational field trip, never had the opportunity to talk to a counselor about my college and scholarship opportunities, and never was offered an SAT/ACT prep class. I feel totally unprepared for college.

I had excellent teachers at Alhambra, and my father has taught at Alhambra for 28 years. These teachers taught me all they could, but could have taught me much more if they worked in a district that stressed giving every student a good, basic education. Instead they work for a district that channels money into special-interest programs that only benefit a small percentage of students. All PUHSD is concerned about is if it has the correct number of whites, blacks or Mexicans at every school. Obviously, it's overlooked the 50 percent graduation rate and the many students who can't read on an adult level or write a complete sentence.

I admire the students at Carl Hayden High School and all the wonderful things that they're doing with their million-dollar facilities at the Center for Agribusiness and Equine Science. I'm just sorry that my education, and the education of many nonmagnet students, has been sacrificed.

Allyson Snow

The happenings at Carl Hayden High School so superbly covered by Michael Kiefer have nothing to do with education, and it is not about minorities versus nonminorities. What it is about is power! The negative power of one man who, most apparently, along his life's journey obtained some deep soul spurs that were never resolved, and now he is inflicting his pain on others.

"Children" are children in the public-school model whether in kindergarten or 12th grade. They are lumped into minimalistic categories for the sake of ease of documentation. I want to know, where do Jewish students fit in, or Italian-American, or Spanish Anglo, or African-American-Anglo or any other of the wonderful arena of diversity?

We must stop the insane thinking and attitudes that separate! Neither side talks about unity. Additionally, any creative architect would show the creation of the proposed school up and out, its emergence created from the "Farm," the Farm being the nucleus from which a center of unity is born. Nothing of the Farm itself need change! Let the children lead--they will show the unlimited potential and unlimited possibilities!

Reverend Dr. G. Sky Guadagno

Sick Transit
Howard Stansfield's article about the transit initiative covered part of the territory persuasively and convincingly ("Trainplotting," July 3). Another part is occupied by the Valley residents who use public transportation. We may ride buses because physical limitations impede or prevent driving, because we can't afford to own a car, because we prefer not to add to existing car-caused problems, or to stay out of Stansfield's way.

The benefit of functional mass transit would have unfortunate side effects, as Stansfield's article points out. So now we know the back story according to the drivers and the financial planners, those who find it better to maintain the existing situation than to risk losing ground to the rest of us.

Meg Umans

Since moving here in 1989, I have had ample opportunity to experience Phoenix and would like to comment on Howard Stansfield's article "Trainplotting." The island of Manhattan is extremely small in comparison to the city of Phoenix, yet it manages to commute millions of people in and out every day. This scenario is repeated in cities worldwide, utilizing buses, subway and commuter rail.

Yes, Phoenix roads are on the way to paralysis, but to add more of them is simply to put a bandage on what will surely evolve into a festering wound. Construction will never catch up to the rate of growth and this route would, of course, do nothing to eliminate the growing air-quality problems. The increased transportation flexibility would greatly affect the job market, not only by creating new jobs, but also by providing cheap, reliable transportation to job sites for those who cannot afford autos.

As taxpayers, we might as well pay the piper now and adopt a high-volume commuter system. Otherwise, get comfortable with the idea that Phoenix is, and always will remain, a second-rate city.

David J. Hayden

I was pleased to see questioning of the motives of the Phoenix City Council regarding the "transit" tax. This is the same council that just went to the Legislature begging for exemptions and money, claiming it couldn't find the money to convert mostly empty city buses, which spew noxious, choking clouds of hydrocarbons, to cleaner-burning compressed natural gas from diesel.

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