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Thursday, January 18 News

letters to the editor

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Norma Pfriem Breast Center, we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the entire Town of Fairfield for making the 3rd Annual Pink Pledge, our month-long, community wide breast cancer awareness and fundraising campaign, a huge success. Throughout the month of October, over 200 businesses, schools and other community groups participated in Pink Pledge by making the Norma Pfriem Breast Center their Charity of Choice. The funds raised during the campaign will provide medical excellence, compassionate care and life-saving programs to ALL women regardless of their ability to pay.

Pink Pledge could not have been the success it was without the support of the hundreds of people who contributed their time and energy and joined us in opening their hearts to raise awareness for breast cancer. Thank you to everyone who volunteered at or attended the events, to the merchants who decorated their storefronts and hosted promotions to benefit our Center, and to the schools who embraced a fun twist to fundraising and education for a pink cause. Your commitment to our mission will impact patient lives directly in our community, and our deep gratitude simply cannot be encompassed in words alone. The pride of Pink Pledge and its contagious spirit within our Town is far beyond any description—we are so fortunate to reside in a town that embraces the spirit of pink, and offers compassion to stand in support of its neighbors and families who are impacted by breast cancer. In short, Pink Pledge’s impact must be felt and shared and it continues to remind us all that This is What Love Looks Like!

Our thanks to the Town of Fairfield offices for embracing Pink Pledge with such enthusiasm: First Selectman Michael Tetreau and staff; Director Mark Barnhart and the Office of Community & Economic Development; Superintendent Scott Bartlett and the DPW; Fire Chief Denis McCarthy, Deputy Fire Chief Kyran Dunn and the Fire Department; Director Anthony Calabrase and the Department of Parks & Recreation; and Chief Gary MacNamara and the Police Department. And a very bright thank you to Yankee Electric Construction Co. for helping us light the town Pink!

Our sincere thanks to our Lead Corporate Event Sponsor Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, a Bank of America Corporation, and to all our Corporate Sponsors whose continued support makes Pink Pledge possible: Miller Nissan, The Norma F. Pfriem Foundation, Inc., Bigelow Tea, Little Pub, Houlihan Lawrence, and the Paloian Family Foundation.

It means so much to breast cancer patients, survivors and their families, and the providers who care for them, to know that they have the community behind them as they struggle with a disease that affects so many.

Marlene Battista Meghan McCloat Kristen Staikos

Pink Pledge Chairs

To the Editor:

In reference to this article in your Nov. 24 paper, Bank of America’s involvement in addressing hunger is noble. However, the statement, “We recognize that food security is a key piece of the puzzle in achieving economic mobility ...” basically states that people don’t make enough money to be adequately nourished and therefore struggle to get out of poverty. The battle over raising the minimum wage in Connecticut resulted in the current rate of $10.10 an hour. Compare that to the chairman and CEO of Bank of America Corp., Brian T. Moynihan’s, annual salary of $20 million. That’s about $9,600 and change an hour, I believe.

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Bank of America employees who make far less than this have dedicated time to volunteering to the Connecticut Food Bank. It’s so true “that the underlying causes of food insecurity” must be addressed by first feeding “the line” as these volunteers do, but economic inequality must be addressed to “end the line.” With the GOP tax cuts, the windfall would make Brian Moynihan even more comfortable and will make little difference to those who must turn to our food banks.

Kathy Lotty

Fairfield

To the Editor:

Midway through my junior year, whisperings about the SAT and ACT seem to haunt the halls of my high school. For me and my classmates, standardized testing is always looming in the back of our minds, and understandably so. The prospect of a definite, numerical measure of my intelligence that will make or break my college application is undoubtedly daunting, especially since the only things I know about the ACT is that it’s out of 36 and it has a science section.

But while I am certainly anxious about undertaking this mysterious test, I can take comfort in the fact that I will prepare for months with a tutor who will bombard me with practice tests and test-taking strategies until filling in the right bubble becomes second nature. I’ll probably bomb my first practice test, but if my tutor can raise my score five points for me, who cares? The issue with this mindset that I share with almost all of my classmates becomes painfully obvious when you step outside of Westport, Connecticut, where I go to school. Most high schoolers take the ACT or SAT once and without the help of any trained adult, so whatever underwhelming score I will probably get on my first practice test would be the score they have to send to colleges. Even though we may have scored the same the first time around, I will get to boast a significantly higher score after my months of tutoring, and claim superior intelligence to the colleges to which I will apply. This advantage I have over many of my peers is distinctly unfair and unacceptable in a supposedly merit-based society.

According to the standardized test prep website PrepScholar, Connecticut has one of the highest average composite ACT scores of all the states, at 25.2. According to the US census, Connecticut also has the second highest average household income of the states. This could be written off as a coincidence, except for the fact that PrepScholar shows Mississippi’s average composite score as the lowest in the nation, at 18.6, and they are the leading state in poverty rate according to CNN. In fact, in almost every state in between, the average ACT score correlates nicely with the average household income, with New England states like Massachusetts and New Hampshire leading in both categories.

While good and expensive tutors cannot take all the credit for this disturbing disparity, when you look at the number of students in these high-scoring states that have tutors and how significantly tutoring can alter scores, they seem to play a significant part. Tutors in my area often cost thousands of dollars, and almost always promise to raise a student’s ACT score by at least five points. My school has openly stated that all students should get SAT or ACT tutors outside of school because regular classes will not adequately prepare them to take these tests. I know that nearly all students have followed or plan to follow this recommendation, and all of my friends who have already taken the test have done so after months of private tutoring. If this many kids at my school have standardized test tutors, it seems likely that the same is true in the rest of Connecticut and throughout the high-scoring, high-income states. If the same amount of high schoolers in Mississippi could cough up thousands in exchange for five extra points as they do Connecticut, Mississippi’s score raised a few points could be in the top half of state scores.

Everyone knows rich kids have clear advantages when applying to college like legacies, being able to pay full tuition, etc., but what makes this one so egregious is that it manifests itself in these tests that are posing as equalizers. The purpose of a standardized test on the college application is to create a fair baseline assessment of an applicant’s abilities, and the current system clearly fails to do this. What reason do we have to hang on to a test that not only fails to fulfill its sole purpose of leveling the playing field, but actually perpetuates economic inequality? When I apply to college with my ACT score, it will not reflect how smart I am or how hard I worked, but the fact that my parents could buy me a few extra points. What use do colleges have for this corrupt measurement? What use does anyone have for an institution that undermines the American ideal of equal opportunity?

Lillian Breier

Fairfield

Editor’s note: The letter writer is currently a student at The School for Ethics and Global Leadership (SEGL) in Washington, D.C. Before attending SEGL, she went to Greens Farms Academy, where she will be returning in the spring for the rest of high school.

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