Thanks from Kiwanis

On behalf of the Kiwanis Club of Rockland, we would like to thank all of the people, organizations and businesses that contributed their time and money to make our annual Italian Fest a huge success. This event, designed to benefit the Knox County Special Olympics program, is a major source of funding to defray expenses for sending our local Special Olympics athletes to the summer games.

We would like to thank St. Bernard’s church for allowing us to hold the event in its community hall again this year. We would also like to thank Amalfi’s on the Water for making its scrumptious spaghetti and sauce that everyone enjoyed; and the Samoset Resort and Boathouse restaurant for making wonderful salads to round out the dinner. Borealis Bread supplied a wonderfully delicious array of breads,and Beta Sigma Phi, the Mid-coast School of Technology and many of our Kiwanis members made delicious deserts. Special thanks to fellow Kiwanian Robin Lee who provided beautiful background music with her flute and guitar.

The following businesses made contributions, which made our silent auction a big success: Amato’s, Applebee’s, Bangor Savings, Bar Harbor Bank & Trust, Bay Chamber Concerts, Benjamin Magro, The Boathouse, Burger King Restaurant, Camden National Bank, Chambers Jewelers, Deborah Winship, Domino’s Pizza, Down East Magazine, Everett L. Spears, Farnsworth Museum, Flagship Cinemas, Glen Cove Dental Associates, Green Thumb, Hannaford Supermarket, Hollydach’s, Home Depot, Key Bank, Mr. Kunn, Rockport Diner, Loyal Biscuit, Maine Eastern Railroad, Maritime Energy, McDonald’s Restaurant, Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors, Mr. Tire & Company, O’Hara’s Ice, Owls Head Transportation Museum, Patrick Beacham, Pizza Hut, Plants Unlimited, Port Clyde Lobster Co LLC, Rite Aid, Rock City Coffee Roasters, Rockland Golf Club, Rockland Savings Club, Rockport Roadhouse, Samoset Resort, Sean Beacham, Shaw’s Supermarket, Sweets & Meats, Thomaston Grocery, Texaco Express Lube, The First, Trackside Station, Wal-Mart, Wasses Wagon, and WBACH The Classical Wave.

We would like to send a heartfelt thank you to all who donated, worked on, and attended the spaghetti dinner to make it such a big success.

Marjorie Kinney

Project chairman

Rockland

 

Celebrating National Charter Schools Week

President Obama has proclaimed May 2-8 National Charter Schools Week, and has asked Congress to increase next year’s funding for the federal Charter Schools Grant Program to $310 million. Since 1993, a bipartisan Congress has appropriated more than $2.8 billion for the Charter Schools Program, available only to the 40 states that allow public chartered schools.

In his proclamation President Obama says, “Ideas developed and tested by charter schools have unlocked potential in students of every background and are driving reform throughout many school districts.” The president highlights the twin goals of chartered public schools to enable students from all backgrounds and income levels to achieve in school, and to drive broad improvements in traditional school districts.

Maine does have reason to celebrate National Charter School Week this year. Nationally, 5,000 public chartered schools are showing us powerful new approaches to enhance student learning, especially among traditionally disadvantaged groups, and at a reasonable, sustainable cost.

Charter schools have a lot to teach us in Maine. We should celebrate their pioneering, entrepreneurial spirit representing choice, freedom, accountability, and competition — isn’t that what we celebrate each July 4th?

Charter schools are demonstrating that a “no excuses” approach to teaching, learning, and administration works well. They are showing us that we do not have to tolerate bullying in schools, schools with high numbers of dropouts, or schools whose graduates still need remedial courses in college (and often drop out there), or schools whose graduates need remedial training when they enter the work force.

Maine legislators have had several opportunities to enact legislation to begin a pilot program for charter schools in Maine. But they have consistently bowed to pressure from the leaders of Maine’s professional teacher, principal, superintendent and school board associations. These leaders have persistently led us nowhere, defended the unacceptable status quo, and resisted any meaningful innovation in education including charter school legislation.

These leaders’ inaction is reflected in Maine’s embarrassingly weak application for $75 million in the Race to the Top education grant competition. As the Maine Coalition for Excellence in Education states in its new Call to Action for school reform, “Education is Job #1.” Most candidates for governor seem to understand Maine’s critical need to improve our public education system for economic reasons — to better prepare our children for college and careers.

Many local schools cannot meet the needs of all of their students — 3,800 students dropped out of Maine schools last year. Those students “drained” more than $30 million away from their schools in state per-pupil allocations. Then other state agencies pick up the tab for the increased rate of problems those students experience later such as substance abuse, welfare, and juvenile crime.

Our next governor needs to be serious about educational reform, light years beyond any minor changes acceptable to the traditional opponents of charter schools and other successful models of educational innovation. Maybe next year Maine will be able to celebrate National Charter Schools Week with an expanded spectrum of public education options available to all of our children.

For more information, please visit mainecharterschools.org, uscharterschools.org and publiccharters.org.

Dr. Judith D. Jones

Maine Association for Public Charter Schools
Union

Scarcelli article unprofessional

“Democrat Scarcelli more than political newcomer” [The Republican Journal and The Herald Gazette April 28] is the worst analysis of a political candidate I have ever read. Presented ostensibly as an objective and nonpartisan assessment, it is only at the end of this half-page (68 column inches) diatribe that we read in a “disclosure” statement that the author has already contributed to a rival candidate’s campaign. So we’re supposed to believe the author is practicing objective journalism here? This comment should disqualify the author for this type of article, or at the very least, the disclaimer should be at the top of the article, not at the end.

The author claims that Rosa Scarcelli, candidate for the Democratic Party’s nomination for governor, “cherry-picks her background and experience to create one image.” So does the author, yet seemingly to reveal and elaborate on any possible negative aspect of Ms. Scarcelli’s business career.

The article does not present or analyze or mention even one single political issue championed by Rosa Scarcelli. But in an article that takes up 47 paragraphs, 10 of those (starting with the fourth paragraph) deal primarily with the business experience of the candidate’s mother and problems she had.

The author describes Scarcelli’s mother’s company (that her daughter now owns and manages) as a player in the “lucrative business of developing low-income housing with federal dollars.” The term “lucrative” might well be disputed by many with experience in that business.

We read of official complaints against the company, but only one side of each complaint is reported. The company’s side of the story — or any observation by Rosa Scarcelli or other company executives — is totally absent.

It is a one-sided criticism of a gubernatorial candidate that reads like a campaign manual of attack points. Still little if any of this long article presents the political views on specific issues of the candidate.

This is not a sterling example of political journalism, maligning a candidate without even looking into her point of view on the issues to be discussed during this election year.

Disclaimer: After reading more information about Rosa Scarcelli, and despite the long and windy article, I have decided to vote for her. Yes, there is more here than one might think, and much more than anyone would find in that slanted article.

Fritz Lyon
Belfast