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Childhood Development Center a critical part of Laconia schools

To The Daily Sun,

An open letter to the members of the Laconia School Board.

Life can sometimes be ironic in many ways. Just (the other day), I began teaching my unit on ecosystems in my fifth-grade science class. I began with having the students list as many systems as they could possibly think of.

Of course, the school system made the list. Because every student in the room is part of that particular system, we decided to delve deeper and list all the sub systems that make up that all important larger system that we call education. I asked students if they were part of the school system at birth, and of course all students agreed unanimously, that no they were not in the system until kindergarten. When asked again to contemplate where a child enters that school system, it took a little probing before students could come up with the word preschool.

Once the entire system was written out on the board starting with preschool, all the way through graduate school, I began to erase just one part of that system, asking the class how this would affect the school system at large. Of course, when middle school was erased, the kids laughed, stating that there is no way the system could work if kids went from elementary school directly to high school. I of course laughed along with them.

However, when I erased preschool, some of the kids told me that the system could still function. I began telling them of stories that I had heard told to me by my colleagues who have taught kindergarteners for numerous years. When kids are entering the school systems having no letter recognition or never having heard a book read aloud to them, the community at large suffers. These children are starting off so far behind where we as teachers and educated adults know they need to be.

It saddens me that with all that we as educators know about early childhood development and the capacity of the brain very early on, that we would even consider dissolving programs that offer kids the chance to start the education system with a strong foundation.

I myself grew up in Laconia, attending Jack & Jill Nursery School for my earliest years of education. Sadly, this private business closed its doors within the past several years, meaning that fewer options for an all-important strong beginning were now available to parents. St. James, yet another early childhood preschool, also recently closed, again, leaving parents who see the value of preschool, without options to academically nurture their children early on.

Our local schools, knowing the value of reaching kids earlier to decrease the learning gaps of toddlers, have tried to start up preschool programs within the walls of our public elementary schools. Though intentions are usually good, most of these preschools rosters rely on servicing only at-risk students who are already severely developmentally delayed. Any additional openings are filled using an open lottery. It seems mind blowing to me that we are willing to gamble on something as crucial as early childhood education when we have fought to keep gambling out of New Hampshire for so long.

If you do some research, neighboring states such as Massachusetts and Connecticut have started to implement free preschools in all public schools, ensuring that all the children in their communities are getting the strongest possible foundation to their early learning and development.

This, of course, requires a great deal of funding and I by no means am proposing this. However, to close the doors on the Huot Childhood Development Center is not the answer either. I have four children, three of which attended the Huot Center and benefited from the loving care and early learning that they were provided.

The center played a huge role in immersing my three oldest daughters into books, imaginative play, early math skills, and much needed social skills. My wife and I loved the staff and appreciated the daily feedback that we would receive specific to how our child's day went. We loved that our children were part of something even bigger than their own development too. Knowing that high school kids were being instructed how to teach young children was exciting to me as an educator of 17 years.

My girls, though all uniquely different, loved the preschool at the Huot Center. The success and popularity of this program stretches to other communities as well, being regarded as the best there is in early development for children. Because of this wide success and overwhelming need for top notch care, parent's biggest concern is that there will be room for their child when the time comes. I myself called the center to put my son on the list when he was only 1 year old. That's three years before he could officially attend.

I'm not alone when I say it would be such an injustice to close the doors on such a hugely successful and crucial part of the Laconia system. Countless people have raised an eye when I tell them we live in Laconia and that my children attend the public schools there. I have always supported the decisions that have been made in Laconia regarding the education of its children, but this decision, to close the doors of the Huot Center, would be a huge mistake. The Huot Center, and all the programs offered within those walls, is one of the things that makes Laconia great.

I realize budgetary cuts must sometimes be made. However, these decisions have a huge impact on the children in our care. I ask that Laconia School Board members strongly reconsider the choice to close the doors of the Huot Childhood Development Center. So many eager young minds, not yet mature enough to write to you, are also hoping that you make the right decision.

Keith Noyes



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GOP candidates' priority is stopping further illegal immigration

To The Daily Sun,

Leftists like to attack policies or positions that they falsely claim their political opponents have. One frequently repeated example is "deporting 11 million people" (e.g., David Stamps letter in the March 9 Laconia Daily Sun).

Note, they don't identify these "people" for what they really are: criminals. Would we try to round up 11 million murderers? Yes! If they stopped paying, would we capture the 11 million top income tax payers? Immediately! Would we pursue 11 million bank robbers, rapists, or embezzlers? Yes!

Even if they didn't know it was happening, most people would want someone embezzling from them to be stopped. Illegal aliens are embezzling, taking benefits to which they aren't legally entitled, from American citizens. They also commit tens of thousands of rapes, murders, drug and other crimes, and accidents causing property damage, injuries and deaths. They also hurt American workers by increasing competition for jobs and depressing wages.

We would be just to, and we could, deport 11 million illegal aliens. With a small effort compared to today's capabilities, over 1 million illegal aliens were apprehended in the first year of "Operation Wetback" (1954). According to FactCheck.org (http://goo.gl/g7gLkZ) 3.4 and 2.1 million illegal aliens (significant percentages) were deported or voluntarily left under threat of deportation during Truman's and Eisenhower's presidencies.

No leading Republican presidential candidate is talking about rounding up and deporting 11 million illegal aliens. Their priority is on stopping further illegal immigration, ending the incentives (jobs, welfare, free medical care, citizenship, etc.) for people to come and stay here illegally, to ensure that immigration prioritizes Americans over the special interests, and the deportation of illegal aliens convicted of crimes. Without the incentives of jobs and/or welfare, most illegal aliens may leave voluntarily.

People who have traveled outside the USA know we have a special country. Our Constitution, rule of law, and free enterprise system created an environment in which the American people live free and could, did, and do prosper. Our immigration laws are supposed to protect our system so that future generations of Americans can also live free and prosper.

Some Americans, including Democrats and Republicans, for their personal benefit, put the interests of special interests ahead of the vast majority of the American people and fight enforcing our immigration laws.

Fortunately, the leading Republican presidential candidates are committed to enforcing our immigration laws and ensuring that immigration benefits the American people, not the special interests, and protects our Constitution, rule of law, and free enterprise system that have allowed the American people to live free and prosper.

Don Ewing

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