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Our Readers Write

August 25, 2010

Column's headlines inspire him

The titles of Dr. Joe Puglia's columns catch my eye. A few years ago he wrote of his boyhood nun, Sr. Jean, and it reminded me of my 8th-grade nun Sr. Jean Dolores. Dr. Joe's article spurred me to communicate with her and tell her how much she had inspired my life and the Valley Sun published my thoughts about her.

On a recent week Dr. Joe wrote about his travels along America's Blue Highways. That title caught my eye too, because in the early '80s I read book named "Blue Highways" by the author, William Least Heat-Moon.

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I discovered the book because it was on the N.Y. Times best-seller list. An excerpt revealed least Heat-Moon's travel to St. Martinville, Louisiana, the site of my paternal ancestors' home before many of them came to California. After reading of the Creoles and Cajuns of the area I was curious to learn more. I found that the Evangeline Tree was there as a reminder of the trek of the Acadians from Canada made to escape persecution. I found that my great-grandfather built the first U.S. replica of the grotto in Lourdes, France, at his parish church. Delving further into my heritage, I found that my great-great uncle, Louis A. Martinet, a freeman of color, a lawyer, a physician, a publisher, teacher and legislator, coaxed his friend Homer Plessy to ride on the "white only" Louisiana train car. He and his collaborators shepherded the Plessy vs. Ferguson case to the Supreme Court.

It's amazing to me that printed column titles can bring to life distant adventures and travels to places on Blue Highways and into personal, and sometimes important, history.

Ken Martinet

Glendale

 

Value-added data could be helpful in LCUSD

Thank you to the Valley Sun for opening the local discussion on value-added test data and teacher evaluation. In the Aug. 19 issue, the comment was made that the La Cañada Unified School District contract with the teachers' union prevents the release of standardized test scores by teacher.

As a school board member, I have read the union contract and didn't recall seeing this prohibition. In a phone conversation with an assistant superintendent, I confirmed that the standardized test data for individual teachers can be released and published.

To clarify, La Cañada Unified receives the standardized test results for our students and the data is made available to the teachers. The data can be organized by teacher, grade-level and subject.

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