Letters For April 23 

Readers sound off on Mathnasium, our coverage of the Berkeley protests, the armed standoff on an AC Transit bus, hot lesbian sex scenes, rape as "karmic revenge," Patrick McCullough, shoe shopping, and Nancy Pelosi.

"Career Opportunities," Feature, 2/13

The truth About Mathnasium

In the February 13, 2008 article; "Career Opportunities: No Child Left Behind set off a gold rush for tutoring companies, but California isn't keeping up." Mathnasium, the Math Learning Center, was characterized as failing to win California Department of Education approval in 2007 because of its academic program.

This is not true. Mathnasium has an excellent track record with the state and school districts and was approved by the CDE in 2003, and again in 2005. The reason we were not approved in 2007 had nothing to do with our service, but, according to Linda Wyatt of the CDE, was because we included too much information in the appendix (there was a 50-page limit) and failed to double-space the answers to a series of questions.

By listing us alongside Education Station, whose delayed approval stemmed from a poor academic program, shoddy delivery, and predatory business practices, readers were led to believe that we had committed the same crimes.

According to the article, Education Station earned more than $900,000 tutoring Oakland students. Mathnasium tutored only fifteen students that year!

Talk to the children and parents involved. Each one will vouch for the high quality of service Mathnasium provided. Furthermore, the instructor, Joyce Ching, far from being inadequate, is a UC Berkeley graduate and bioinformatics scientist who left a lucrative biotechnology job so that she could work with children.

David Ullendorff, Mathnasium Co-Founder, Los Angeles

"Who Baited Whom at Berkeley Rallies?" News, 3/26

What's counterculture?

Excellent article. I'm stunned by the way traditional antiwar groups are more and more under the influence of various communist organizations and I think it needs to be publicized even though (or because) so many here simply refuse to believe they are here. Google Zombietime's photo coverage of the SF Protests of March 19. He has a whole section on counting how many different communist and communist front groups were at the protests.

My son has a class with "Micah" and was astounded by the "Rebels with a Cause" segment on "Nick News" (it was rerun a few months back). What amazed him was Ellerbee's obvious bias, in an item that was referred to as news. Berkeley is bringing out the latent conservative in many of the high school students these days — maybe because that's the only option for current youth to be "counterculture" in this town?

Heather Jacobsen, Berkeley

"The Curious Case of the Bus in the Daytime," Apprehension, 3/26

The change at BPD

After reading Anneli Rufus' account of how the Berkeley Police Department officers approached Cragmont school teacher DeAndre Swygert with guns drawn, I did take a minute to really ask myself, "What would I have done differently?" I appreciate that the officers were nervous because they were possibly searching for someone with a gun. However, good officer training is often about checking to see if the subject is responsive to verbal commands. If a person does respond to an officer's requests, that extends an officer's range of options. It allows for the possibility of negotiation. I do not believe that these officers were justified in entering a school bus with guns drawn before asking the subject to exit the bus. The officers were not CERTAIN that Mr. Swygert had done anything and had not personally witnessed the man commit a crime or carry a weapon. They should have asked him to exit the bus before boarding it with guns drawn. A display of a firearm should be discouraged if 1) an officer does not see a weapon and 2) the individual is willing to respond to verbal commands. However, even if police had found that the armed suspect was on the school bus, was it wise for them to storm the bus? Isn't there a danger that this action might have sent him into a panic and started a shoot-out that could have had disastrous consequences for the kids trapped on that bus?


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