Check Out Our Charter

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[Re: Feature, “Charting a New Course,” Feb. 23-March 1]

Thank you for the article on charter schools. Charter schools are a wonderful movement, especially for the state of New Mexico, and are often misunderstood by the pubic. As a charter school teacher, I feel you explained charter schools very well. I had only one concern, you forgot to mention my school, East Mountain High School, in your article. I am sure this was an oversight on your part because EMHS has been a model charter school since opening in 1999. EMHS consistently has high test scores with the majority of our 330 students scoring at or above proficiency. As an APS charter, EMHS is grounded in the philosophies of a liberal arts curriculum based on inquiry and discovery learning. Students of EMHS enjoy small class sizes and one-on-one attention by their teachers.

EMHS is nestled in Sandia Park surrounded by breathtaking views of the mountains. This environment promotes a small community feel where both staff and students are invested in their teaching and learning. Students are offered many opportunities to develop their characters and be active members of the community. From service learning projects focused on rebuilding local acequias to end-of-the-year discovery projects traveling to Italy to study art, EMHS graduates life-long learners ready to take on the world. You should check us out!

Power To The Prius

[RE: Punch Line, “Hooked on Petrol,” March 2-8]

Eric Griego gives us some good alternatives to the gas-guzzling hogs many people are driving today, but I’m dismayed by his disparaging remarks about hybrid vehicles. Contrary to being overpriced and “downright hideous”—I think consumers are finding hybrid vehicles to be a pretty good deal. Consider the federal and state tax credits, along with today’s gasoline prices, and hybrid owners are actually recouping their initial costs and saving thousands within a short time. The number of hybrids on the road is growing exponentially—with 83,000 sold in 2004 and more than 205,000 in 2005, according to the Green Car Congress. Toyota alone plans to introduce 10 more hybrid models within the next seven years. It’s not only the “earth muffin, neoconservationists” looking seriously at these vehicles.

Nope, I don’t own one. I went carless 14 months ago and public transportation is working for me. But when—if—I get into the market for a car, you bet it will be a hybrid. I encourage Eric to park his Nissan sedan (25 mpg) and give a Toyota Prius a spin at twice the mpg.

Say Whaaattt?!

Count me among the painfully ignorant, if I’m wrong, but it seems the Alibi virtually missed Black History Month this past February. There was one cover devoted to a local black person, and that was to a man whose claim to credit is inventing another way for black women to “shake it.” Can you say, “Whaaattt?!”

Now, as a white guy, it often takes the reminders of black friends to point out stupid racist slipups, even as I acknowledge that it is not their duty to correct my myopia. Yet, as an avid Alibi reader, I assumed that such reminders were part of the internal debate at your offices. This seems to be my myopia again. The Alibi dropped the ball in February.

Black History Month is one of the few opportunities for individual communities across the USA to address the history of abduction, slavery and persistence of African-Americans. It gives us a chance to actually talk about race, what it means and what must be done to erase race as a functional framework (and we are not there yet). But, race cannot be erased by featuring how many white people do African dance or by re-encoding the caricature version of acceptance that pop culture affords. It cannot be erased by ignoring a necessary dialogue and replacing it with a mocking “Shout Out!” Whaaattt?!

Just to point out a few big strikes the Alibi had in February: The visit of founding members of the Black Panther Party to UNM and an accompanying weekend conference was absent minus the mention of a hip-hop concert associated with the visit. It’s the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party! Whaaattt?!

Two different homegrown, African arts groups put on a diverse celebration throughout the month: OmniArts and Out Ch’Yonda. Both seemed to be missing in the “Lucky 7” listings, featured events foci and even the basic community calendar. They had an entire month planned out between them and no highlight in the Alibi? Whaaattt?!

Is it me, or did we not as a nation see three major reminders in this past year of race, civil rights and the difference between where we were, are and have yet to go as a nation in addressing our racist history? Corretta Scott King died, Rosa Parks died and Katrina decimated New Orleans, the homeland of jazz, blues and all things gumbo. Yet, the Alibi saw fit to focus on Valentine's Day, white-dominated African-based recreation and poppin’ and shakin’ it, Krump-style. Whaaattt?!

Somewhere in the public record there must be a reminder to the Alibi and all community press that racism does exist, the struggle does continue and our collective responsibility to air the dirty sheets of this nation did not end with the Voting Rights Act. To paraphrase Audre Lorde, nonwhites are sick and tired of being sick and tired—we should not wait for nonwhites to lodge complaints in order to draw attention to our bias, historical privilege or myopia. From one target market white professional to the target makers—you of the Alibi—next February, pick up the slack, talk to some black folk in town and represent.

Letters should be sent with the writer's name, address and daytime phone number via e-mail to They can also be faxed to (505) 256-9651. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may be published in any medium; we regret that owing to the volume of correspondence we cannot reply to every letter.

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