Letters from our readers: Special-ed initiative has failed before, will again

Having spent 30 years as a teacher and administrator in special education, my reaction to your Wednesday story “City special-ed approach outdated” is outrage. How many times do we have to go through this cycle to get the lesson?

At least in the field of the mentally challenged, back in the ’60s we had what was then called “educable mentally retarded” special-ed classes. Perhaps some newer name like “developmentally delayed” is more appropriate, but our students were to some degree sheltered from the often-cruel teasing and bullying of regular students, and they were appropriately taught by specialists.

“No, no. That will never do!” said the ivory-tower educators, and some misinformed parents. They must be integrated into regular classrooms, with “appropriate support for the teachers and students.” The results were a disaster. Now, many such students have gradually been “pulled back” into specialist classes.

And again we hear, “I know what! Let’s put them in regular classrooms!” Argh!

Don Havis
San Mateo

The truth rings true

The Examiner reported that opponents of Proposition B are selling a “No on B” ringtone for $1.29. The instructions advise supporters to “make sure to set this as your default ringtone. That’s the only way it will have an impact.”

I agree it is highly appropriate to make this your default ringtone, because if Proposition B fails to pass, it will not be long before San Francisco goes into default for not being able to pay its health care and pension liabilities while also fulfilling all its other financial obligations.

Richard Beleson
San Francisco

High-speed rail is a waste

Too many Peninsula residents think they can have railway grade separations and electrification if only they can finesse the high-speed rail board into doing it all “our way.” The “underground or nothing” crowd is onto something, and I think they have it right.

There are far too many job-creating infrastructure needs that make high-speed rail little more than an “Alice in Wonderland.” Better to just upgrade Caltrain on our own.

Mike Caggiano
San Mateo

Subway project ruinous

A Wednesday Examiner letter about the Central Subway really made me sit up and take notice. I live near Candlestick Park. Every day I ride the T line to the Embarcadero station and then take BART to my job in Oakland. If the T line is rerouted to Chinatown, I will no longer have that direct connection. Instead, I would have to ride up Fourth Street and past Market to Union Square and then walk the length of three football fields back to the Powell Street station to catch BART. I agree that the Central Subway is going to really wreck things for those of us who must rely on the T line.

Ben Hayashi
San Francisco

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