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May 1, 1994
Vol. 51
No. 8

Letters

Adrian and Blissfield: One More Visit

Larry Wilson's account, “What Really Happened in Blissfield” (March 1994) adds an important correction to my article, “A Tale of Two Districts” (December 1993/January 1994).
The situation was more complex than I suggested. The population difference between Blissfield (a tight-knit village) and Adrian (a large town) led to different internal dynamics when each district responded to its community's challenge to proposed restructuring. My article addressed general components of effective response strategies, and I did not pay close enough attention to other important details.
Wilson, however, misrepresents my conclusions. I don't think a simple formula will work in all situations. Rather, the district must (1) assess the opposition's real strength (2) become informed about the worldview and tactics of the opposition and communicate with the community about them, and (3) employ a democratic process in an atmosphere of rational deliberation of the issues.
Moving a district toward necessary change is not an easy task. What causes one district to successfully defend change and another to fall short depends on a variety of factors. Your batting average improves significantly, however, when you employ the above strategy.
—Fritz Detwiler, Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Adrian College, Adrian, Michigan

On the Demise of the Littleton Program

As a member of a staff that has been grappling with a restructuring mandate, it saddened me to learn of the demise of the Littleton (Colorado) High School performance-based graduation program (March 1994). After reading the Littleton newsletters and communicating with a faculty member there, I am concerned that a segment of the community has scuttled a visionary education plan at such a late juncture. Rather than the hundreds of hours the article mentions, I estimate that many thousands of hours—and hundreds of thousands of dollars—have been spent on restructuring.
If given a reasonable opportunity, the Littleton program would have been in the vanguard of what education must become for the 21st century. It's time the public begins to understand that the education that was “good enough” for our parents and for us will not be acceptable for our grandchildren.
—Robert B. Hansen, Lewiston High School, Lewiston, Maine

This article was published anonymously, or the author name was removed in the process of digital storage.

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