Cutting school arts will harm children

It’s tragic to hear that the School District of Philadelphia plans to eliminate art and music enrichment programs because this will have a devastating effect on children’s’ lives.

Funds that could be used to empower children to express themselves through music and art are going to be used instead to house these same children in American jails later on in their lives. The point is that our children need outlets for their talents and for their creative energy. Music and art give children a creative way to express themselves. If there is no outlet for these expressions of the human spirit, children will find outlets that are destructive rather than constructive.

Everyone, regardless of whether they have children or not, should care about this issue because without access to the arts, children will experience a sense of despair, society will decay, crime will increase, and this will affect every citizen negatively.

Sharon Katz

Musician and Founder

The Peace Train


Students’ health at stake in budget 

Thank you for highlighting the very important issue of education in the recent Local. Despite many impressions of Chestnut Hill as “tony,” the residents represent a diverse base of citizens and many do rely on our public education system.

While Jenks serves the community well, the stories about the upper education system for our residents is not so well regarded. Unfortunately, despite a high tax burden on the area, the finances for the school district continue to struggle, and now, Philadelphia is not only closing a number of schools, but, without some additional money, threatening to cut key services. In addition to the anger and frustration noted in the article, I would like to add my perspective as well.

For several years, the dire states of the Philadelphia school districts presented a number of difficult choices for parents in helping to choose and pay for the right education for their child. As residents of Chestnut Hill and members of the parish of Our Mother of Consolation, we were blessed to have the option of a high quality elementary education for our children. However, when our younger son developed a chronic condition, we needed to explore a new way for him to keep up with his education with more extensive accommodations.

The school district’s initial accommodation presented a very narrow view. Rather than struggle with a burdened district, we quickly determined that an online learning experience (which is considered public education) would provide the optimal solution.

Given further pressures on the city’s schools, I suspect more parents will need to explore options similar to our choice if the resources not only to educate but to maintain the children’s health and safety continue to dwindle. Unfortunately, I fear that if the city continues to starve an already hungry student population, the school system will continue to deteriorate, losing even more students and failing to serve the public.

Janet Point

Chestnut Hill


Fund the schools

I hope we all contact our representatives in City Council and Harrisburg this week to demand the additional funds the district has requested; the bare-bones budget the District would adopt without these new revenues would be devastating for our schools. Mt. Airy is fortunate to have a vibrant business and civic community and I think we have a shared responsibility to support our neighborhood schools however we can. One way the Mt. Airy Schools Committee hopes to help is by using the EITC tax credit that allows businesses to direct their tax dollars to support our neighborhood schools – money that otherwise would have been sent to Harrisburg. Our next step will be a broader planning process to identify how to best leverage the resources in our community to support schools in a strategic, meaningful way.

Abby Thaker

Special Projects Manager

Mt. Airy USA


The constant cull

A representative of Philadelphia’s Commission on Parks and Recreation recently balked at a basic biological fact, “compensatory rebound.” I would refer the Commission to The Natural History of Deer by Professor Rory Putman, publisher of 12 books and over 100 technical articles on deer. He also acts as a consultant on the various impacts of deer.

This phenomenon is apparent in Fairmount Park given the upward trend in deer population numbers since the now 15-year-long siege began. “Culling” deer is self-perpetuating. Once it starts, it will have to continue, according to respected ecologist Thomas Eveland, Ph.D.

A recent PBS program on Whitetail Deer described them as beautiful animals that we should feel privileged to have among us. As long as we fail to recognize them as unique somebodies with inherent worth, not generic somethings and as long as we pursue our egocentric and destructive practices, this human holocaust against deer will persist.

Deer are but contemporary scapegoats, which only fosters irrational dislike and perpetuates the killing of these innocents.

Bridget Irons

Chestnut Hill