Letters to the Editor

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<b>Alameda community:</b>
[Last week], the school year began for most Alameda K-12 students! Help keep our community’s kids safe by taking extra care on the roadways during school drop-off and pickup times, especially near schools, where a disproportionate share of child-involved collisions occur.

Make safe speeds and watching for pedestrians your priority (the top two behaviors associated with the most severe crashes in Alameda are failure to yield to pedestrians and unsafe speeds). But there are other important ways to promote safety, too! Here’s what we posted on social media last Friday:

DYK school starts this Monday in Alameda? Please take it extra slow in the mornings and watch out for kids. As always, remember not to block bike lanes and don’t park in white or red zones (white zones are just for drop-off and red zones are needed for emergency vehicles or are not safe for parking).

Something we hope you’ll consider this first week back is changing your commute times if possible. Most of Alameda’s students will be on their way to school between 8 to 8:30 a.m. If you can be off the roads at that time, it will be safer for all! Welcome back to school, kiddos, you are our future!!

For information aimed at parents and caregivers, check out AUSD’s Getting to School webpage at www.alamedaunified.org/family-resources/families/getting-to-school.

— City of Alameda

As published in www.futureofcapitalism.com and in the Wall Street Journal, Ira Stoll hits on two truths in “Why the Left Hates Horatio Alger.”

First, that the left really does hate Horatio Alger and second, why it is politically expedient to vilify Horatio Alger. The left is eager to inculcate young minds with a sense of victimhood, despair, and futility; it ultimately translates into votes for the liberal left. As a 26-year, high school math teacher in Alameda I had frequent collisions with the woke, the left, the indolent and enabling parents.

Denying opportunity represents a labor-saving device: if the situation is hopeless, why waste time and effort grinding out math problems? To simplify homework assignments, I made worksheets that sifted math problems from the assigned textbook as well as other sources. The worksheets carried titles that indicated the specific math topic but also hinted at alternative realities beyond the liberal bubble.

One such odious title was “Land of Opportunity Requires Hard Work.”

A day after distributing this disturbing worksheet, a parent stormed into the principal’s office demanding my apology. It was too late for a retraction; a pebble had already been dropped into the millpond of family insouciance sending dissonant ripples through their Zen state.

Math in California is the evilest manifestation of Eurocentrism: old white, nerdy men (Gauss, LaPlace, Newton, Fibonacci, Fourier, Pythagoras, et. Al.) tormenting students with irrelevancy, from beyond the grave. Dropping the gauntlet at the feet of trusting children, telling them that with a bit of grit they can ascend the socioeconomic ladder, and coupling it with reverberations of the Protestant Work Ethic was incendiary.

As the parent ranted, my supportive principal bobbled her head, vehemently agreeing with the parent and expressing astonishment and indignation that a teacher, trusted with students, could attach such a title to an assignment.

The furrows of concern, etched in her forehead, were so deep, her frontomaxillary sutures were exposed to drying air. Both the parents and the student felt vindicated; I suspect they returned the math textbook to the book depository. Having tossed a teacher under the bus, the principal gained a sense of job security while the dossier maintained on an evil math teacher gathered even more girth and critical mass.

— Jeffrey R Smith

Back in March 2020, each of us faced unprecedented circumstances, but most critical was the disruption of our education. Among the policies implemented by the U.S Department of Education, to ease this disruption, was a pause on nearly all student loan payments and interest accruement. This allowed families to meet their financial obligations as the world came to a standstill.

However, we find ourselves in new territory once more with the U.S. Department of Education’s COVID-19 relief ending. Student loans will resume interest accruement starting September 2023 and student loan repayments will be due starting October 2023.

While President Biden’s Department of Education works to solve our incredibly high student loan debt by expanding student loan forgiveness for eligible students, California’s 2023-24 budget has incredible investments in our TK-12, Community College, and UCs/CSUs communities. This budget will expand Cal Grant to an additional 150,000 students starting 2024-25 and supports the University of California’s announcement that California residents who are part of a federally recognized Native American tribe will receive tuition-free education at any UC campus.

I remain committed to making public education safe, more equitable, and fully accessible from cradle to career. Please find some key tips for student loan repayments below:
Your first payment will be due October 2023:

  • Your monthly payment amount depends on your repayment plan
  • Don’t wait until your first bill to start preparing how to budget.

If you work in a federal, state, tribal, local government, or non-profit organization, you may qualify for student loan debt relief of up to $20,000.

You may qualify for lower monthly payments based on your income and family size with the Income-Driven Repayment Plan.

If you find yourself in financial difficulties and unable to restart student loan repayments, apply for temporary relief for deferment or forbearance with your loan provider.

For additional information on upcoming webinars and resources, please visit my website to view my e-newsletter.

Yours in service,

— Mia Bonta, California Assm., 18th District