Report From the Fifth Grade
We are fifth graders from Reservoir Elementary School in Providence, Rhode Island. Reservoir is a poor school community, but we have accomplished many academic goals. We are as good or better than ninety-three schools in our state. Our school of 312 students is 75 percent Latino, 16 percent Asian, 8 percent African-American and 1 percent “other.”
We would like to share with you our experience reading your editorial. During our reading class we were discussing the word “raid,” which moved our discussion to war. We posed a question to our principal: Why are we still at war even after Osama bin Laden has been killed? She told us about you and how you asked a similar question in your magazine. The next day we were introduced to your editorial from May 23, 2011, titled “After bin Laden.” Eleven of us met in the principal’s office to read and discuss it.
Reading your editorial was challenging, but it made us feel powerful. Some of us felt like low-level readers because many of the words were new to us. To understand it, we used our reading strategies like chunking, cause and effect, words in context, and monitoring and clarifying. After reading and discussing your editorial, we felt motivated enough to send you this letter.
We discovered that the Bush administration started a “war on terror” that is infinite. This could potentially cause devastation in many countries. We agreed with your suggestion to President Obama on how to take a step to close the “dark chapter” that this war created. We think we should reduce US forces in Afghanistan and increase communication between everyone.
While we were working on this letter, we found that the president followed many of the suggestions in your editorial. Soon after it appeared, he went to Afghanistan and addressed our troops. It seems the president took advantage of the opportunity to close the “dark chapter in American history.” He will reduce US forces and begin peace talks.
In conclusion, we would like to thank you for writing this editorial and challenging us to discover more about current events. We hope people take your advice and increase communication globally to stop conflicts.
IVAN DAVILA, IZAIHA ORTIZ, JASON HERNANDEZ, ELIANIX LUGO, ZECHARIAH TOPPIN-WHITE, SHYLOC ORK, SERGIO LIRANZO, JOVAN CABREJA, D’ZIRE SCOTT, JAMES DORANTE JR., ISSAC BUN
Gaze of a Woman
Thank you for publishing “Self-Portrait in a Sheet Mirror,” Joanna Scott’s review of the new titles about Vivian Maier [June 11]. I wish Scott had addressed more the issues of Maier as a foreigner and her gaze as a woman living on her own in American cities. She does take issue with comments about Maier’s clothing (which I did not find strange at all), but I think she could have reflected more deeply on what it might have been like to walk around a very segregated city. Chicago’s beaches were segregated until the 1950s, meaning Maier took a bus to areas of the city where she may not have been welcomed. I would like to posit that Maier, as a woman, could venture into areas where men would have been more obvious; perhaps she could become more invisible. I also suggest that her dress, if indeed it was odd, helped with that invisibility.