Learning Chinese a worthy effort

In a recent editorial, Tom Holmes predicted no one would take Chinese language classes in the local schools because Chinese is too hard. We disagree. Many other Cook County students are studying Chinese. According to a Nov. 11, 2007 story in USA Today, 8,000 Chicago Public School students are studying Mandarin as a foreign language at 30 schools (22 of them elementary).

Certainly Chinese is hard for adults. The U.S. Military’s Defense Language Institute estimated it takes almost three times more instruction time to reach an equivalent speaking proficiency in Chinese than Spanish. However, spoken Chinese would be much easier for children than adults. And while written Chinese is more difficult, an elementary school program would not need to focus on writing but instead should concentrate on speaking. The Foreign Service Institute’s introductory Chinese course, used to train military and diplomatic personnel, de-emphasized writing. Similarly, a Forest Park program could leave reading and writing for high school as preparation for the AP test.

Thirty more Chicago schools are on a waiting list, presumably for lack of suitable teachers. We would encourage Forest Park to start a Chinese program and begin planning, searching for teachers and applying for federal grants now. Such federal money is in fact available. The USA Today article mentions an Oregon public school that won a $700,000 federal grant to start a Chinese immersion program.

Frank Hansen, Rebecca Irwin, Luke Satterfield, Emily Backlund
Forest Park

n Editor’s note: The following comments were submitted to stories we posted online.

Welch wants another $24K

I thought after the first go-round of paying a stupid bill we were done, but no here we go again. I think Welch should resign and get his house in order.

As a taxpayer, I am really upset that we have to pay for his big mouth. He should think before he speaks. Words are very powerful and it seems his are very expensive for the taxpayers in Proviso Twp.

Robert Snyder

Council: Property taxes aren’t enough for road work

I had a chance to check out Industrial Drive after I read about the article how business owners are complaining about the street’s fall into disrepair. I also had a chance to e-mail the Director of Public Works (John Doss) about 18th Street (the E/W street north of Industrial Dr.) needing repair. I drive along 18th Street EVERY DAY when I go to/come from work in the direction towards 1st Avenue. If there is a street that needs repair, it’s 18th Street.

Granted, the business owners do have a point when they say that they shouldn’t be holding the bill just because the street only services them. That street IS a public street, is it not? 18th Street is ALSO a public street and that street is in MUCH WORSE condition than Industrial.

I’m not saying that my route should be given precedence over FP’s southtown economy, which depends on that road. Their road is better, but my road does not get semi-tractor traffic.

So what’s my point? My point is that how can an administrator, who has been watching over our streets degrade year after year, who knows what is being repaired, and when it gets repaired, who I am presuming meets and talks with the FP government with regards to getting money to fund these street repairs, how is it that we don’t have the money now to fix these streets? And I know these aren’t the only streets that need it!

Did all these broken-up streets appear one fiscal year and now we’re stuck? Does this guy not drive around town and notice where the bad spots are? Does FP government not realize the bad spots too? I find it hard to swallow that all members would drive to work and back on all smooth roads, not one pot-hole.

So here we are, how could there have been such a lack of planning?

Adam Jandeska

Debate shapes up over mechanic’s plans

It’s funny how the Village has a plan for a long dilapidated space in the Village when it suits them. Mr. Nunley has been a stable staple of the community and, if memory serves, one who serviced the Village’s squad cars! It’s easy to pass on what can happen when you are blinded by what could be. We all live in a place called reality. That is to say, Mr. Nunley owns the property, he wants to expand on his business, create a new, CLEAN, building to that part of town while continuing to serve his patrons of many surrounding communities. If the Village can’t retain the people who made it into the “village of big city access with small charm,” then it will lose itself and what will set it apart from River Forest and Oak Park. Work with those people who want to keep this town something special, not those dreamers who leave you always wanting more.

Jeremy Forney