Letters to the Editor
Dear Lawrence Kumarasivan:
I want to commend you on the comprehensive, articulate, educational article on the green bike I see all over Alameda. (“LimeBiking with Lawrence,” Nov. 2). I often wonder how do people use them and how much it costs. This is no more a mystery! Thank you for writing that wonderful article!
I read the Alameda Sun every Thursday, cover to cover. It is a local paper that I feel I want to support. I am glad you are a Sun staffer.
I saw a very powerful film Sunday afternoon in a local church titled Race to Nowhere. It shows how the American educational system is producing a generation of kids who are overscheduled, over- tested and underestimated. One of the issues it touched on is homework. After the film a woman said her kindergarten granddaughter is being given homework.
There’s been a lot of research into homework. According to this research, homework assignments for students up to sixth grade have no academic value whatsoever, and very little for middle school kids. For high schoolers, after about four hours a week, time spent on homework is of little or no academic value. Most high-school students, of course, get a lot more homework than four hours a week. In some communities homework can climb to five hours per night!
Some of what’s lost with a heavy homework schedule includes:
• Enough time for exercise and sleep
• Family time
• Time to absorb and learn what you studied at school
• Time to explore a subject that interests you in depth
• Time to read for pleasure
• Time to play alone or with others
• Time to discover and define who you are.
Read The Homework Myth by Alfie Kohn to learn more about this. If you’re a parent worried about your kid’s homework burden, talk to other parents, talk to teachers. Our children need and deserve freedom to make some choices about how they spend their time, about what they want to do.
Here’s a quote from the book Beyond Measure by Vicki Abeles, who made Race to Nowhere:
“All those hours not spent making up games, peering under rocks, talking with friends, tinkering with tools, looking up at the sky and puzzling out the constellations ... the many non-academic pursuits that can shape a child’s personality, aspirations and dreams. Since when is school the only source through which children can learn and grow? These lost experiences amount to numberless childhood hours that can never be recovered, even a loss of childhood itself.” Is this what we want for our kids?
President Donald Trump was in Asia last week. Escalating threats against North Korea are topping his agenda. Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times quotes several mainstream government officials and foreign policy experts saying that nuclear war with North Korea is likely. Lindsey Graham on the Today show quoted the president as saying that thousands will die “over there. They’re not going to die here.”
Here in Alameda, the use of nuclear weapons anywhere is unacceptable. For that reason, at our weekly vigils last Saturday and coming up this Saturday, Nov. 18, we will be joining with others in the national days of action to say “No fire and fury on North Korea. No nuclear war.” The Trump-Pence regime is a danger to the world. A recent poll of U.S. military personnel found a majority consider Trump’s threats the number-one danger to our national security.
Everyone is encouraged to join us at the Human Billboard Vigils on Saturdays. Bring a sign. The events take place noon to 1 p.m. at the intersection of Park Street and Santa Clara Avenue.