Friday, June 22, 2012: Early education, Afghan war and a mom’s grief

Posted June 21, 2012, at 4:32 p.m.

A mother’s grief?

I feel so sorry for Brantin Webster. What bothers me the most is why his mother didn’t take him immediately to the emergency room after his six-foot, 200-pound brother brought him down firmly onto his knee, after hearing a noise that wasn’t quite right all the way from the kitchen.

Twice Mindi Peavy took Brantin to the hospital because first she thought he had the flu and the second time, 16 days later, she takes him because Brantin is shaky and very white. Why didn’t she tell the doctor about the so-called “wrestling move” and the noise that didn’t sound quite right?

Mindi’s ex-husband filed a protection from abuse order on behalf of their two middle children against Mindi, because the 12-year-old was punching and hitting them. Now little Brantin climbs up into his two-foot high chair at his home and falls off. He dies at the hospital, not from the fall of the high chair, but from the wrestling move that his 12-year-old brother did in December.

Brantin died because his mother was very negligent and has no parental capacity. When will her 12-year-old boy apply his wrestling move on his 1-year-old sister? Mindi should be charged with child neglect and endangering the welfare of a child.

Harrel “Ray” Spann

Bangor

Early education is key

What happened to Maine’s young readers?

I appreciate Ron Bancroft’s column asking us to think critically about why only 32 percent of Maine’s fourth-graders are reading at grade level. I’m also pleased to know that the Maine Development Foundation has red-flagged this alarming fact as one indicator thwarting Maine’s future economic growth and prosperity.

While there is no quick fix to improving our students’ test scores, I firmly believe that a key element to do so is high-quality early education. Just as contractors begin every project by pouring a foundation, our brain lays a solid foundation for all future learning during the first years of life. In fact, science now shows that the vast majority of our brains develop before a child enters kindergarten. Waiting to provide high-quality learning later is like trying to add steel support beams after the concrete has been poured.

Children who participate in high-quality early learning programs are up to 44 percent more likely to graduate from high school, are 22 percent more likely to be employed, and can have median earnings that are 36 percent higher as adults than those who did not participate in these valuable programs. With a long-term rate of return as high as $16 for every $1 invested, these are investments we simply should not ignore.

High-quality early education programs pay great dividends and are worthy public investments.

Stephen Rich

Bangor

Understanding MPBN

I get up early in the morning and enjoy watching World News on MPBN at 6 a.m. I get a different perspective on the news, usually from the BBC from England. This morning the World News was from Japan on NHK. How come people from Japan speak more understandable English than the British?

The anchorperson, as well as all reporters on Japan World News, were very easy to understand. When the BBC is on, I have to really concentrate to make out what they’re saying. They stutter, they slur, they mumble, they mispronounce — they seem to be talking to themselves. Even though English has become our universal language, the English themselves have forgotten how to speak it. MPBN, stick to Japanese World News so we can understand what’s going on.

Marc Chasse

Fort Kent

Early education

As Bangor’s chief of police, I was concerned as I read Ron Bancroft discussing the downward trend in reading success of Maine’s fourth-graders (“What happened to Maine’s young readers?” 5/29/12). As one of Maine’s police chiefs, it’s worrisome that Maine’s youth are evidently not keeping up academically: an undereducated populace will have an impact on our public safety. It is clear from the research that a high school dropout is eight times more likely to be incarcerated than a graduate.

We can help jump-start the education of our children by focusing on early childhood learning. The first years of life are the time when our youngest citizens will not only gain early literacy and language skills, but also a long-term foundation for success as well.

Children who develop flexible learning skills and social development traits early in life are more likely to become successful students and graduate from high school. Research studies have shown that at-risk kids who receive high-quality early childhood education are more likely to earn a diploma and will be less likely to end up on the wrong side of the law.

Our state and federal leaders can help Maine children get the best possible preparation for school and for life by providing them with early childhood education. This approach can improve the school readiness of our children, and our communities will be safer for it.

Ronald K. Gastia

Bangor Chief of Police

Time to leave is now

The escalation of military suicides (BDN, June 8) is one indication of our national lack of purpose in Afghanistan. It can be argued that Afghani society is premised on local rule and centuries old mistrust of the West. Neither of us much wants to change our law, culture or deportment. In our 10 years there, have any of the above changed?

We continue to enable a failed narco-state (much of Afghanistan’s infrastructure is opium-centered) under an illusion of magnanimity, nation building and strategic urgency. We ask our soldiers to do what we would not do ourselves. That is not unusual; soldiers know that is their duty. But we are telling them to do it in an arena where they can not fraternize and by designs of law, culture and language, cannot realistically communicate. Under what definition of hopeless could one imagine the ability to tolerate 10 years of that?

We know we are leaving. The time then to leave is now. No number of drone strikes is going to be a panacea, and almost anything our soldiers do anywhere else is better than them having to continue with I.E.D. hopscotch. Remaining in Afghanistan is an adjustment to a psychosis, nothing else. My father was a detachment commander in WWII, my brother was in Korea. I support our troops, not this inane policy that has lasted too long.

Greg K. Gilka

Machias

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/06/21/opinion/friday-june-22-2012-early-education-afghan-war-and-a-moms-grief/ printed on October 1, 2014