Letters: Look at big picture with German program
Please make informed decisions based on fact, not assumptions.
If you haven't learned another language or been beyond the borders of the U.S., it's easy to make false assumptions. Being uninformed, however, is unacceptable when it comes to making decisions affecting our children's future.
To suggest that the success of the German program is only due to my teaching is short-sighted. I do try hard to convey the necessity of learning how to think globally, to look beyond our own borders, to learn to get along with people half way around the world, and I have taken about 400 students to Germany over the years, but it is patronizing to suggest that I'm the only one who can do this. Actually, last month, more than 100 PRAHS students (about one fifth of the PRAHS student body) registered to take German next year. They did this knowing I was retiring. So what will happen to these 100 students? According to Principal Al Judson, the 37 or 38 students signed up for German 2 would be shoved into one class, and someone could be found to cover this one hour, perhaps a substitute. The 45 students signed up for German 1 would be forced into Spanish 1, and an additional Spanish teacher would be hired to teach these classes. The 20 kids signed up for German 3 and 4 would be ignored. And in September 2010, German would be gone from this district.
Yes, the district must make cuts to stabilize the budget. But when one considers the additional Spanish teacher and the additional materials necessary for the students forced into Spanish, the amount saved is greatly reduced, perhaps as little as $5,000. (The budget for the entire German department last year was $150.)
Hopefully the school board will look at the big picture and consider that the difference in cost of offering German and that of expanding Spanish is simply not justifiable. Hopefully they will take an informed look at what is being lost, compared to what is being gained and maintain the "cultural diverse" curriculum mentioned in our mission statement. If the administration would have said that they were contemplating cutting German and asked for some input before bringing this to the school board, I, among others, could have made some suggestions.
Linda Uscola, Park Rapids German teacher