A plan to help BHHS regain its footing

Editor,

The Benton Harbor Area Schools did not arrive at this point due to the single actions of any one person, group or entity. There has been ill-conceived plans, negligence, apathy and enough blame to satisfy everyone. But, leave the past; all parties must come together for the young people of Benton Harbor.

1. Do not close the district. Increase teacher pay. The state must help. Make the pay competitive. And don’t say there are no good/great teachers at the high school – I know there are.

2. Permanent subs are unacceptable. You must attract teachers.

3. Develop a three-year program with major emphasis on grades 1-3. Each year the program should be adjusted to address issues.

4. Get commitment from the court to deal with chronically absent students. 

5. The state must assist BH by agreeing to increase teacher pay.

6. The state must agree to reduce the debt if improvements are shown in academic areas after three years. Then develop a new three-year program. Don’t discard the first program, but modify it.

7. The school board must back off. It’s over-managing the district.

8. The high school must regain its community support by reaffirming its graduation requirements. No more credit recovery.

9. Discipline must be demanded. Suspension and expulsion should never be forbidden, but not used indiscriminately. Students will accept discipline when they perceive that there are teachers who are there to teach them. Need I remind everyone of the success of Coach Elliot Uzelac and Coach Corey Sterling? Emulating them might be a good start.

10. And parents – those who guided your child and persevered – “thank you.” To other parents, “Do your job.” Be the parent your child needs. If you need help, ask.

Ken Overley

Benton Harbor

Raise a glass to those who tend our beautiful vineyards

Editor,

I’d just like to say how beautiful the grape vineyards in our area are looking!

Kudos go out to all of those hard-working men and women who put themselves in those vineyards all winter long, no matter what the weather is doing.

I say a little prayer each morning I see them so diligently trimming those grapes, because it is not a job I would ever chose to do!

Take a moment to look around at your surroundings to see the beauty that’s been given to us!

Marcia Hess

St. Joseph Township

Curious Kids’ Museum keeps hitting home runs

Editor,

I want to congratulate and compliment the leadership of The Curious Kids’ Museum for several wonderful changes at the museum below the bluff.

Successful and popular exhibits in a children’s museum should be interesting, educational, attractive, fun and durable. Hitting the mark on all five things is a difficult task. All the boxes can be checked for the upgrades and the core exhibits that remain.

For the younger children, the museum above the bluff is also a gem. I am so impressed and can tell you that our grandchildren are even more so.

Great work, CKM! Keep up your wonderful work!

Ed Meny

St. Joseph

Mayor’s ‘turbulence’ comment was irresponsible

Editor,

I was very surprised by the comments made from Benton Harbor’s mayor, who promised turbulence over the proposed shutdown of Benton Harbor High School.

The fact that he promised turbulence at the direction of Whirlpool and their sponsorship of the Senior PGA Championship is absolutely ludicrous. Whirlpool, as far as I know, has nothing to do with running the Benton Harbor school system. That would be like someone offering to buy you a new house, but you turn them down because you’re mad at the guy who owns the hardware store down the street. The two have nothing to do with each other. What Whirlpool does have to do with Benton Harbor is the fact that it provides thousands of jobs in Benton Harbor, as well as contributes huge money to the Benton Harbor tax base.

My second point is, where was all this outrage over the past several years as the lack of education was happening at Benton Harbor school system? Why are second- and third-graders not able to read? Why are high school students not college ready? Whose fault is that? Young people take their cues from parents, elders, community officials, teachers, etc. Why are they not part of the solution?

Turbulence, by definition, is violent or unsteady movement of air, water or some other fluid. Synonyms include conflict, upheaval, unrest and chaos, just to name a few. Really, Mr. Mayor, is that the message you want to teach these children?

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” – Martin Luther King.

I pray Benton Harbor can resolve its issues and keep the high school open. They are a vital and important part of our community. Let’s also learn from our past mistakes or we are destined to repeat them.

Michael Neumann

St. Joseph