How good is an Ashland High education?




The Ashland School District is one of the best public school systems in Oregon. Oregon recognizes, and Ashland and the district tout it as such. Even so, it has troubles.




According to the student newspaper recently sent to Ashland residents, most high school students experienced a stressful college application process and got disappointing results.




For the second year in a row, a large number failed to get accepted not only by their "reach" schools, but also by their "safe" schools. So many plan to attend their "fallback" options, Southern Oregon University or Rogue Valley Community College. Only a handful were accepted by prestigious schools &

a basis some elitists use to judge the district's education; my daughter went Ivy, so all is well.




The unhappy students wanted something different at away-from-home Oregon or even more selective institutions from what local institutions offer. Perhaps their parents did too and thus compounded student stress and disappointment. So, for many, the Ashland Public Schools are not doing a good job of preparing many students for acceptance at colleges outside Rogue Valley.




But the story prompted no public response from students, parents or district personnel.




A high school counselor did offer the self-serving observation that students can be happy at any college, not just a competitive one, if they are happy in themselves. Read: The fault is not the district's educational deficiencies, but the students' unhappiness in response to rejection, limited options and shrunken hopes for something different or better. I disagree. Still, even this sorry stab at blame shifting, consolation and counsel does not excuse the district from its shortcomings.




First, if the district does not aspire to, or cannot provide, an education enabling most students to have reasonable chances of acceptance at some "reach" and most "safe" schools, especially Oregon's two major state universities, it should come clean and say so. A public statement would do much to lower student and parent expectations, redirect their efforts and reduce stress and disappointment.




Second, if the district really aims to graduate students who are happy with themselves, no matter that an Ashland education impairs many student's options for future study and lifelong happiness, then it has to admit that it is doing an unsatisfactory job even by this standard of educational success.




Michael L. Hays









Palestinian




support shouldn't be silenced




It seems to me to be very sad that there are some in our community who feel it is their mission to be certain that no support or voice for the Palestinian people be expressed in this town.




There was, unfortunately, an example of this tactic in the recent commemoration and Palestinian support rally at the Plaza on Sunday, June 10.




Though the permit and the announcement of the event were submitted by a group who wanted to describe the tragedy inflicted on the Palestinian people since their lands were confiscated in 1948 and Israel was created.




As when there is any voice being given to the suffering Palestinian people, the radical Zionists were there to begin a shouting match, and to turn &

by what seems a planned tactic &

any such event into a raucous defense of the Israeli occupation. The occupation that, in the light of the outrageous injustice, the bulldozing of houses, the walls, the checkpoints and the taking over of ancient Palestinian lands must seem to a person with any sense of compassion to be indefensible.




While missiles were killing children in Gaza, the citizens of Ashland were being brought into a familiar public display and meaningless confrontation. The confrontation served no one, especially the Palestinian people and their supporters. But, of course, that is a strategy used to silence any attempt to educate people about the Palestinian cause.




Are the Zionists so dedicated to the eradication of the Palestinian people that they must seek out and destroy any small voice of dissent and expression of support for these beleaguered Palestinian people? The media, the newspapers, every means of communication is exclusively in support of Israel and its cruel occupation.




Can there really be hope for peace in the Middle East while Zionist forces here in America refuse to allow the Palestinian people a legitimate and meaningful place at the peace table or in the public square?




Cynthia Zavatski