Updated: November 29, 2012 6:40AM
Phil Kadner’s Oct. 17 column on “Mr. Southtown,” Marv Schletz, was a marvelous account of a man, his occupation and an era that deserves spotlighting.
For those of us paperboys who delivered in the 1960s, we know intimately every Marv Schletz, the hubs of the newspaper business that made sure your paper got to the stoop, top step or porch. There was something about their briskness and routinely steady delivery of these newpaper bundles that jump-started you to get on the bicycle and deliver the news.
In my case, Bingo, the family dog, sped up the process by running behind my old Schwinn Typhoon, pushing me to move 50 papers in an hour. Sometimes the Marvs of my world delivered a pink slip, which would indicate a house was missed the day before. I suspect that Marv was driven to deliver missing papers simply because that’s what people expected, their paper.
I initially delivered the Chicago Daily News and the Chicago American in the afternoon. I slept in on Sundays for the first years until I agreed to take a twice-weekly Southtown Economist route.
In the winter of 1967, a huge blizzard brought Chicago to a silent halt. That was a long Sunday morning with the toboggan, but it seemed imperative that the news get through, like the mail. People needed their Sunday Southtown Economist. The customers reinforced the importance of getting their news, as some were waiting on the porch, some even with cookies in hand. They loved getting the newspaper.
Here’s to all the Marvs in the newspaper business, the unsung heroes and finishing-end professionals for their routinely brilliant and dedicated performance.
Public education under assault
I am undecided on my vote for president. I voted for Barack Obama four years ago and hoped for real change, especially in public education policy. I’m a parent of three wonderful children who attend a fabulous Chicago public school, and I’m also a certified teacher and stay-at-home mom.
I want my kids to get the best education possible. I believe in public education and teachers who will give our children the tools and knowledge necessary to build a great future for themselves and for their country.
It pains me to see the destruction of public education that began with the No Child Left Behind law and continues with Race to the Top. The current direction of public education in the United States is so off its original course, and we are feeling that in Chicago. The addition of more standardized tests in the younger grades is unnecessary and educationally unsound. And the high-stakes nature of such testing is dangerous to schools, teachers and students.
Being involved at your local school and within your local district is democracy in action and needs to be encouraged. Mayoral control of large urban school districts is not working. Public schools not only educate, they are anchors in a community. Closing, turning around or transforming schools destabilizes communities.
Charter school growth needs to slow, and these schools need to be held to the same standards as other public schools. Research shows that charter schools do not outperform neighborhood schools.
One decision I have made is to vote “yes” on the advisory referendum asking Chicago residents if they want an elected school board instead of the current appointed one. Now is the time for those who write education policy to start listening to the true public education stakeholders — teachers, parents and community members.