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Commentary/Politics - Letters to the Editor
Tuesday, 30 April 2002 18:00
I am appalled at the editorial staff of the River Cities’ Reader. Kathleen McCarthy has written an unresearched and unsubstantiated editorial (“Much More to the Story,” Issue 369, April 10-16, 2002), apparently in an attempt to bring mob mentality to the City of Davenport. When I was on the school newspaper, my advisor, Miss Hildred Nehrhus, always told us to check our facts three times before we submitted an article. Apparently the River Cities’ Reader staff does not check its facts. First of all, Eisenhower Elementary School is a one-level school; the only basement at the school contains furnace/air conditioner units, pipes, and some storage space. There have never been students located there. They did have classrooms located in the hallways, though. Grant and Johnson schools both have basements, which have had classrooms and students located in them for over 35 years.

Secondly, the students that Ms. McCarthy seems so concerned about being displaced at Madison, McKinley, Adams, Wilson, etc. are not being moved around due to the need “to satisfy racial-equity ratios and other requirements the state has for student volume and ethnic composition,” but to continue the district’s policy concerning smaller classrooms in the elementary schools.

The public has a right to information, and the press has a duty to provide it, but just as important as the who, what, when, where, and how is the truth and the checking of facts in an article. When we read an editorial filled with untruths and misconstrued information, we lose the points that are true and bear our considerations. It also sullies the reputation of the River Cities’ Reader as a muckraking, yellow-journalistic tabloid to be picked up at grocery-store checkout stands. The lack of substantiated facts also reminds me of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s crusade against internal subversion.

Robert M. Hutcheson
Davenport, Iowa


Editor’s response: I apologize for the error in citing Eisenhower as the school that had students in the basement. It was Garfield. The rest of the information is correct. The school district has defined standards relative to equity that each district must follow, and if Mr. Hutcheson would care to look into it, he will find the Davenport School District has been in default and out of compliance on different occasions over the years. School closings and boundary changes go hand-in-hand when it comes to these state mandates, and students are re-located as a result. But there is a process to be followed that the district has ignored. Meanwhile, the fact that class sizes will increase as a result of the closings of two schools does not negate the premise that students and their families from schools other than Grant and Johnson might be greatly impacted. It is a community-wide issue. This has been researched and substantiated on occasions too numerous to list here. Finally, even before the decision to close the schools was announced, the district voted to approve increasing class sizes to save an additional $1 million.

Clarification

In last week’s art review entitled “The Lessons of History,” we neglected to credit the artists responsible for some of the artwork we reproduced. Edward Curtis is the artist who photographed Medicine Man, while Fritz Scholder painted Galloping Indian #2. The Reader regrets the omissions.
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