Letter: Ruehlig Says Even With Challenges, Antioch Can Become Destination City

Submitted by Walter Ruehlig

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The New Year brings new visions. With the widening Highway 4 and the nearby inauguration of Hillcrest e-BART Antioch sits on a promising crossroads. We all hope that it might soon fulfill its’ promise of a ‘destination’ city.

I was privileged growing up in such a town, Great Neck, Long Island. Though we lived on the modest side of town, nevertheless, we would periodically find at our doorstep a stranger’s note asking us to kindly call them should we ever decide to move. The town was desirable because it was rated in the top ten school districts nation-wide. Case in point; my German teacher spoke nine languages and would quote, from memory, extended passages from Goethe.

We all know the two main drivers of real estate prices are safety and public education and that Antioch has challenges.

Criticism aside, Antioch has plentiful appeals, boasting Rivertown’s elegant El Campanil Theatre and the Delta breeze; over two dozen parks; a ‘Miracle Mile’, with a medical office complex, stunning hilltop church, community center, second City library, swim and skate parks; and unchopped hills overlooking curving, undulating streets.

We have a corps of talented and dedicated public school teachers; a cutting edge network of ten career themed academies, including the award-winning Dozier-Libbey Medical High; abundant choice with Montessouri and now Rocketship Charter School; and a rich tradition of Christian schools like Cornerstone, Holy Rosary, Golden Hills and Seventh Day Adventist.

Granted, too often we have a two-tier proficiency system, haves and have-nots. My son, Joshua, as example, prospered at Deer Valley High taking Advanced Placement classes.  He went on to Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo and within three days of graduation became an environmental engineer. Antioch schools served him well.

Others, though, get left behind; too often children of color or students perhaps homeless, latchkey, transient, special needs or English language learner. Distressingly, only 19% of our students score math proficient. English scores are marginally better.  This cries for bold action by school administrators instituting aggressive interventions like the after-school Individualized Math Intensive program.

Parental involvement is also paramount as education, after all, is a three legged stool– students, teachers and parents all cooperating.

My New Year goal is that working together one day we can all open our doors and see a note asking for us to call should we decide to move.

Antioch can become that destination city.

Walter Ruehlig
President, Antioch School Board

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3 COMMENTS

  1. I like to think good thoughts about Antioch but have come to the conclusion it will take a very long time, if ever, that it will be fixed. There is a tone of problems which are not being addressed mostly because of money. Walter means well, but he is the epiphany of a snake oil salesman and double speak. He is full of knowledge but does next to nothing with it to improve the seat he serves on.

    Under the current leadership, no Antioch cannot become a destination city.

  2. We can have a bar 30 feet from a high school (Beer Garden- Prospects High), but bring up the idea of a cannabis dispensary that could bring in MILLIONS for the city from the east bay and everyone would throw a fit. We have leaders stuck in the 1970’s and that’s why the only business downtown is antique stores.

    • Antioch’s descent into violence and political confusion has resulted in a local population fearful of any new beneficial tactic that doesn’t involve 1. hiring more police officers or 2. opening up more places to go shop for more stuff. Anything else is suspect, even if lots of money can be made (which it could).

      While the rest of the Bay and many other states reap the benefits of these progressive measures, lowly Antioch will forever be trapped in Reagan/Nixon-era drug war propaganda. But, contrary to media-induced mania, we can always just hope for the best.

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