After reading your article [Cash for Grades, Oct. 24] and seeing the focus of it, I believe you could have supported your point using another school and principal. I am disappointed and hurt by the way you used Cheney and me in your article.
Kathleen Sanborn, former principal Cheney Elementary School
Kathleen Sanborn is being tried and judged again. First by the school board, then the Department of Education and now the press for an incident she states she did not know was illegal. Ms. Sanborn never denied or tried to cover up her mistake. If Ms. Sanborn knowingly committed an illegal act, would she have shared it with her staff that same day?
Mr. Billman points out in his article that she had "a spotless 25-year history in Orange County ... ." That "Everyone interviewed for this story praised Sanborn's organizational skills and her outgoing manner ..." (nearly all of whom requested anonymity), and "Her personnel record touts her as 'eager, energetic and ambitious.'"
Kathleen Sanborn is all of these things. Did her staff and parents unanimously like her? The answer is probably not, but what administrator can claim otherwise? Ms. Sanborn was teaching in Broward County when my son was in kindergarten 28 years ago when I met her. I have followed her successful career since. What everyone knows about her is that she always, without exception, put the best interest of her students first, even when others disagreed with her decisions. She took a mediocre school like Cheney and brought it academically forward. She didn't have to do anything illegal to accomplish this. Her skills as a first-class principal made it happen. She was, and is, an example of high standards, as well as of high moral and ethical leadership. To bring this to the forefront again, to examine her heretofore-spotless reputation in the press is unfair and not prudent.
To make your point, a top-rated educator, a proud woman, has been maligned, and her reputation put into question once again. Even after Mr. Billman's article, she has earned the right to continue to hold her head high during these next few months prior to her retirement from a career in which she has been held in high esteem for 30 years.
Patricia H. LaFleur, Sanford
Need for wider focus
I am very surprised that you would choose to focus your article regarding the FCAT specifically on Kathy Sanborn. I agree that there are many flaws in the FCAT and in the comprehensive assessment-testing process in every state that uses them, however, I feel that your article focuses on Kathy Sanborn in an extremely disparaging and ruthless manner. Considering that the FCAT had only been in place for one year, along with the fact that an "anonymous teacher" filed the original complaint, I would think that the school board as well as the EPC would have had the intelligence to take into consideration the character and the integrity of the principle they were dealing with before marring her reputation. I would also think that you would have had the intelligence not to add to the speculation and the damage that has already been done!
Kathy Sanborn cares about the kids. She cares about the teachers and how well they perform for the kids. She demands a great deal from them. I believe that her curiosity regarding the outcome of the scores was based on these concerns. We need more educators like Kathy Sanborn!
Jackie Aschettino, via the Internet