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The bigger they come, the harder they fall...

July 14, 2004

I attended the 4 p.m. screening of "Fahrenheit 9/11," [on June 28] at Burbank's AMC 8, and was surprised to see a long line.

The audience reaction was notable. While they laughed a few times

in the beginning, there was church-like silence throughout -- except

when American soldiers appeared on screen and said they would vote

against President George W. Bush when they returned home.

I hope Bush's people weren't listening.

JONNY M. DUFFY

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Burbank

Stress on athletics overshadows education

It seems all anyone has to say about the schools here in Burbank

lately has to do with the sports teams.

I find it distressing in a day and age when presidential elections

are fueled by the promise of continuing education and life-long

learning and the importance of higher education, but when it comes to

our schools the most important thing we can think to speak of are the

sports teams.

I'll not argue that sports are a valuable part of education and

schooling. They can teach great lessons on teamwork and it can help

keep kids fit and healthy. But isn't education a little more

important? At least, shouldn't it be?

People are sending their kids to other schools simply for the

reason that they might get noticed by scouts or agents and go on to

make big deals of themselves in college and professional sports. So

be it. If you care so little about your education as to desert this

town and its schools for a chance at batting cleanup in Santa

Clarita, then I for one don't want you here. You're not going to make

a real effort in a classroom and you're going to make it more

difficult for those who want to learn to get that chance.

It's a sad commentary on our society and city that parents care so

much about their children's chances of landing a multimillion-dollar

contracts that if they can read the contract or not doesn't make a

difference.

Maybe if we treated teachers with the awe we give a pro basketball

star. Maybe if teachers' faces were on cereal boxes. Who knows?

I'm happy to pay my taxes and see that they go to schools, but it

troubles me that more of our money goes into a football field or a

gymnasium than a library or to a teacher's salary. The average

professional athlete's career is about 10 years. A good education

lasts a lifetime.

I can't speak for anyone else, but I'd rather my child come out of

school with a higher grade-point average than batting average or

field-goal percentage.

JESSE L. BYERS

Burbank

Cooking up some healthy ideas for future Fourths

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