Letters From the Issue of Thursday, July 13, 2006

Page 3 of 3

Many people probably don't realize that the normally very challenging job of teaching is compounded at Pappas by the fluctuating attendance levels in classes. Kids seems to come and go, and then subsequently reappear, at a much higher frequency than at neighborhood-based schools. This makes planning and preparing an incredible challenge for teachers.

Until your article, I never really had any facts to make an assessment of the educational achievement of the school, and I was deeply disappointed to learn that test scores indicate Pappas is not succeeding in that key area. I wholeheartedly agree with the point you make that if we don't educate children, we are in fact not really helping them. That we are just making ourselves feel better and, in a sense, moving the problem down the line. Obviously, without an education these children will not be able to break out of their current situation — which should be the ultimate goal.

Regarding the integration of these children into neighborhood schools, I have always thought that one of Pappas' primary benefits was "protecting" these kids from the ridicule they might face from their "housed" peers. However, here again, your article caused me to re-examine this issue. In fact, the possibility exists that that they might in some ways dominate less world-wise children in traditional school settings.

Your article caused me to question if Pappas is really the right solution for these children. But I do plan to stay involved with the school because I care about the students.

What I can tell you with absolute certainty is that, almost without exception, the children at Pappas are pretty amazing. They are witty, smart (definitely in a "street" sense if not always in the traditional "book" sense) and charismatic beyond their years.

My sense has always been that these personality traits have been developed in an effort to survive their circumstances. It is sort of sad to see such traits in children so young, because it indicates to me that they have been robbed of some of the wonder and joy of childhood — that is, forced to grow up too quickly.
Name withheld by request

It's a Dowling thing: You conducted an outstanding job of research into the genesis of Pappas, and in describing its demise. I worked at Pappas for four school years and five summers in the '90s as the school's mental health/"Early Intervention" specialist.

While I certainly agree with the point that (at this time) Pappas should be shut down, I grieve (and have for years) for what Pappas might have been if Sandra Dowling's heart were not 10 sizes too small.

To refer to Dowling as a "bit of a publicity hound" is akin to calling Texas "a bit of a state known for warm temperatures, an interest in football and a few oil deposits." Sandra's pathological desire for personal accolades led these schools down the path to disaster and chaos.
Margaret Kearney, Polson, Montana

Pink Yucko

She may be on to something: I agree with The Bird about all the nonsense brouhaha over the opening of the Pink Taco restaurant in Scottsdale ("Pussy Posse," June 29). Of course, Scottsdale Mayor Mary Manross is a MAN-ross for objecting to it. When any woman objects to any form of degradation of women, she is referred to as a man.

If the majority of women don't give a damn about a restaurant having such a disgusting name, then go all the way. Don't just use the nice, cutesy term of Pink Taco; just put a big actual photograph of a pussy up as advertisement to draw the customers in.

There was no reason for owner Harry Morton to change the name of the black-and-pink tops of the "hot Salsa gals"/servers. The phrase "wife-beaters" was fine. Fits our society well. Isn't the term "wife-beaters" so funny?!

Here are some suggestions of menu names: "Hot Pussy on a Platter, With Cum Sauce;" "Boobs El Grande;" "Hot Tasty Nipple Dippers;" and, instead of margaritas, how about some "margatitties"? I could write more menu suggestions, but I don't want to get too nasty.

Women (ha, ha) don't give a crap anymore, so let there be more and more establishments that degrade women. Anyone who objects to the Pink Taco, or anything of its kind, can shut up.
Cynthia Ballard, Tempe

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