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Northwood NH News

February 3, 2016

The Suncook Valley Sun News Archive is Maintained by Modern Concepts. We are NOT affliated in any way with the Suncook Valley Sun Newspaper.


Letter To The Editor


I was at an event recently where the speaker used a word that really got my attention.  He said that we “diminish” our country when we don’t discuss a wide range of options and ideas, and that the narrowing of our discourse did our country no favors.  This put into words some feelings of unease and dismay I have been having as this election season progresses.


When I was young, America was full of promise.  It was as if we had taken the wonderful picture of Rosie the Riveter with the motto WE CAN DO IT, and truly believed that we could build a country and an economy that worked for all of us and was the envy of the world.  But now I’m hearing altogether too much of WE CAN’T. 


I explain why I am voting for Bernie and I hear, “Oh, he can’t get that done….we have to take tiny steps…you have to be an adult about this…” And I am sad that some of my fellow Americans have so little faith in the people of this country.  Yes, we have let our democracy slip almost out of our hands into the hands of a plutocracy, but they don’t have a firm grasp quite yet.  We can still yank it back, but not by voting for those who tell us WE CAN’T. 


It’s still our government, although much of it has been corrupted by the huge amounts of money in campaigns.  We still have the power to clean house.  But it’s not going to happen if we don’t go to the polls and vote.  Vote in every election.  We’ve got 4 this year, including one for our town. Do your homework, ask questions, widen the discourse, and exercise your power.  See you February 9th!


Lucy Edwards




Letter To The Editor

Is Common Core killing kindergarten?


Last year Northwood voters defeated another attempt to expand the kindergartner’s school day. Citizens also let the school board know, by a large margin, that they didn’t want Common Core in Northwood’s schools.


Nonetheless, Common Core continues unabated, and all-day kindergarten is back on the ballot.


As we again consider these issues, parents might want to read a recent Boston Globe article entitled, “Is the Common Core killing Kindergarten?”


Some believe that a rigorous academic kindergarten program is just what children need. The article, however, cites psychologists and educators who take quite another view.


Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner, known for his theory of multiple intelligences, was one of hundreds of teachers and scholars signing a letter expressing “grave concerns” about the Common Core Kindergarten standards. The letter says, “Overuse of didactic instruction and testing cuts off children’s initiative, curiosity, and imagination.”


Boston College psychologist Peter Gray is also quoted: “Over the last half century, there’s been a continuous decline in children’s freedom to play. It’s through play that children gain the social abilities, the grit, the ability to control their impulses and solve their own problems that makes them resilient.”


The Globe reports that “in Finland and Sweden, kids don’t even start formal schooling until they are 7 years old. Yet, Finnish and Swedish teenagers regularly trounce their American counterparts in international tests of reading, math, and science.”


The concerns expressed are that “pressure to meet academic standards will lead to lecture and worksheet style teaching, foster rote memorization, and snuff out the inquiry and play-based instruction that can instill a love of learning.”


Michael Faiella




Letter To The Editor


To the Editor,

These will be my final statements concerning three issues. First, Tom Chase has a lovely and wonderful wife. To the best of my knowledge that is the only subject that we mutually agree on.


Kindergarten. Northwood School is not ready for all day k. Our school is rated 122nd out of 198 K8 schools in NH. Almost 2/3 of those schools do a better job educating their students. We have a myriad of problems to work through prior to implementing all day k. The School Board, purposefully, did not put this issue on the ballot. Having it on the ballot by a petition warrant article, sadly, is just fueling a very divisive subject. I wish that the group wanting all day k would put even 10% of their effort into improving the education of the other 364 students.


Budget. I want you informed when you go to the polls. On just six items there is about a $569,000 difference between ty/ny budgets. Those are fuel (25K), substitutes (13K), teachers (120K mostly from retirement incentive), Health care (125K HT slush fund), special education (268K), tuition (18k). If you add in the five maybe students, another 88K, then it would be $657,000. Yet the budget is only down $289,000. Where is the other $368,000? Squirreled away in every nook and cranny imaginable. Because, sensibly, The Sun limits the size of these letters, so, you’ll have to do some homework if you want those details.


Vote, vote,vote,


Tim Jandebeur




Letter To The Editor

Now it’s ‘glorified’ kindergarten


So once again we hear  the complaint that you should feel guilty because you (the taxpayer) aren’t giving ‘us’ enough money for our current failing pet project.


Conceding that there is a problem with the current kindergarten program, the advocates want to spend over $100,000. Part of the argument for is that because a nearby community is jumping off the cliff we should too. Part of the argument against is that the ‘cliff’ is not well structured for 5 year olds according to many educators, especially those concerned with Common Core aligned programs.


Now it is conceivable that you could design a worthy program, but then why not start with three year olds, they do in China. Of course there the gubm’nt pays for it so it’s free!


Still, there are even more problems, one of which the beneficiaries  don’t want to own up to. Last year I coined the expression “glorified daycare.” Catchy isn’t it? Most people with an ounce of common sense know what that refers to. Regardless of any education that might go on, your children are being taken care of for you at taxpayers’ expense, whereas the parent was doing it before.


It’s a fact of life. You might want to make the argument that parents contribute $2,500 each for the 40 some odd students involved, that could work. After all, it’s going to be this wonderful as billed experience.


Look, separate from this debate is the fact that we can’t manage to create a good, much less, excellent, educational experience in the following eight grades.


Despite sincere efforts by many good teachers, the system is broken.


Beware, educrats at work.

Joseph McCaffrey



Letter To The Editor

Closing the Gap


Northwood is not Lake Wobegone, “where all the women are strong, all the  men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.”


Northwood children are more normally distributed along that famous  bell-shaped curve. And it is the ones at the bottom of that distribution that are most in need of full-day kindergarten.


This was touched on in a presentation made on Jan. 21 to the School Board on efforts to improve the progress of those kindergarteners most in need.


Let’s say a kid enters kindergarten at Level 50 and needs to reach Level 100 to be ready for First Grade. The current program might get him/her there. But what if a kid is at Level 20? Gaining 50 points still leaves him/her 30 points short. And there is not enough time in the half-day to close this gap.


Consultant to the improvement effort, Marion Knight, put it very succinctly, “The easiest time to close gaps is in the early years.”


The converse is also true: closing this gap will only get harder with each passing year.


Some have argued with me that we should wait another year to go to full-day. I would argue that we would be doing a disservice to those kids at the bottom of the distribution to delay.


I hope you agree and will come out to vote for this warrant article on March 8.


Tom Chase







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