Feb 27, 1997 Parents' letter to Kiwanis Int'l


PO Box 1341 Black Mountain, NC 28711
Tel: 704-669-6677Fax 704-669-8862

February 27, 1997

Mr. Christopher Rice
Director of Program Development
Kiwanis International
3636 Woodview Trace
Indianapolis, IN 46268-3196

Dear Mr. Rice:

Thank you for your letters of January 23 and February 14. As you copied your letter to some Kiwanis officials new to us, Iwould like to clarify several points related to those two lettersand ask you for further clarification on your February 14 letter:

Your letter of January 23, 1997 was sent in response to myrequest made in a letter dated October 14, 1996 and numeroussubsequent reminders. The original request was for you to sharethe details and decisions of the October Board meeting regardingthe Terrific Kids program as we had discussed October 7 over thephone. No direct mention is made of that Board meeting in yourletter. (Attached is my own file memorandum of our telephoneconversation of October 7.) Instead, you summarized yourperspective on our general discussions about Terrific Kids, someof which had come out of the October Board meeting. The onlypoint I want to clarify is that we felt that if KiwanisInternational does not take adequate action to address theconcerns, we would feel an obligation to children and families inthe program around the world to work to alert them to TK'sunintended negative element. That effort would involve takingthe issue to the media but we would do so reluctantly because wehave hoped from the beginning that Kiwanis would take theinitiative to fix the program. More than two years after weraised concerns about TK, not even our local Black Mountain Newshas been made aware of the concerns we raised or the fact thatthe TK program has been suspended in the valley's four schools. We feel we have bent over backwards to give Kiwanis anopportunity to take the initiative, but we are surprised anddisappointed in the ineffective response.

Your letter of February 14, 1997 is addressed to mepersonally despite the fact that our letters to you have beensent on our parent organization's letterhead. Moreover, yourefer several times to "your objections" as if concerns beingraised about the TK program are coming from a single parent. Weworry that Kiwanis Board members do not fully understand thathundreds of parents have expressed opposition to or reservationsabout the program. Further, no early childhood or elementaryeducation academician with whom we have spoken has been favorabletoward the program. One professor sent us a thank-you note fortrying to do something to "slow down" the program.

Moreover, our organization is disappointed with the Board'srecent decision outlined in your letter even as many childrencontinue to be exposed to the unintended negative element theBlack Mountain Kiwanis Club's Task Force found in the design ofthe TK program. As we understand it from your letter and fromyour subsequent telephone conversation with local parents BetteBates and Robert Tynes, you are going to speak withrepresentatives in the Priority One Advisory Committee and then,out of those conversations come up with recommendations forfixing a program that operates in 50 states and 74 countries. Wewonder how Kiwanis International can expect to do justice towardthe tens of thousands of children affected by this program withsuch a casual approach?

It would perhaps help us understand your process if youwould clarify several questions we have:

  1. What are the organizations that make up the Priority OneAdvisory Council?
  2. Will they meet with you as a group or will you simplyspeak individually to their staff over the phone?
  3. What specific background information will you supply themprior to discussing their recommendations?
  4. Did the Board discuss and will you take steps toimplement an interim action for Clubs (as per the HillandaleElementary School principal's letter we sent to you in ourattached memorandum dated January 28, 1997)? We feel that theitem in the January 1997 Project Ideas newsletter to "RevisitTerrific Kids" is a start but inadequate in light of the problemsraised.
Thank you for continuing to be in dialogue with us. I thinkwe share a concern that in the end what is best for the childrenwill set the tone for Kiwanis International's action. Again,too, let me say that we would be happy to act as resources foryour Board members or for the Priority One Advisory Councilmembers if you think that would help them better understand theimportance of decisive and prompt action.


Monroe Glimour

cc: Mr. Alex A. Shafer, Jr., Chair, Int'l Board Committee on Education and Program Development Thomas J. Dimmock, Governor, Carolinas District William R. Wirth, Secretary, Carolinas District A.G. Terry Shaffer, International Secretary Local Parents

(8/17/97--note that no response to the questions raised in thisletter has been given. Instead, we have been told that they areoverworked and do not have time to reply. Mr. Rice instead saysthat he will share with us his recommendations in October. Wehave not heard from him in several months.)