Email letters, August 15, 2014
District 51 schedule change a huge disservice to students, parents, and teachers
It did not take long for the students, parents, and teachers of District 51 to realize what a terrible disservice the school board has done with a very stupid schedule change. I don’t understand why they changed a tried and true school schedule that is about two hundred years old enabled us to put a man in space and more men on the moon. Now a bunch of fools think that changing the school schedule is going to change the grades and level of learning. About the best we produce now (thanks to District 51) is a long list of college bound youngsters who have to take remedial classes just to stay in college.
The District 51 board then insulted us as to why the changes to the schedule were needed. If the students are going to forget what they previously learned during the summer, then how much are they going to forget with the excessively long spring and winter breaks? The board should just do their job and get our children the education they need, and leave scheduling alone since they are obviously incompetent at that task.
I am sorry that my taxes go to help pay for the nonsense that this board perpetuates. If I had students in District 51 schools, I would immediately remove them. It would be worth working two jobs just to make sure they get a good and proper education. Furthermore, I recommend that anyone who truly cares about their children’s learning experience to get them away from this incompetent board of directors.
Some of the problems with the new scheduling are simple. Kids cannot get a decent summer job, and teachers cannot get a decent part time summer job, nor can they pursue further education in their field. For many, vacation time is shot and sports have to be attenuated. Farm children can say goodbye to 4-H.
The excessive mid year breaks are nonsense and are way too long. Rearranging babysitting will be difficult, and then some. And all of this has been done to make a bunch of none too bright District 51 officials feel like they have done a wonderful thing.
Education worked without massive schedule changes and without boards that had too much ego and self-importance.
Ender’s Game editorial missed the mark
The Sentinel’s Editorial Board finds it troubling that Joy Porter, mother of a District 51 sixth grader, objects to the novel “Ender’s Game” being required reading for that grade level. Her opposition is based on personally reading the book, and the “swear words, references to
genitalia, and passages about characters renouncing religion and killing each other” that it includes.
Such proactive parenting is disturbing to the editors, even though Porter also was a fifth grade teacher and sounds like she knows a thing or two about kids. Her challenge is labeled as insulting to both curriculum planners and parents who put their trust in them.
Nowhere mentioned in the editorial is the fact that a formal school board policy already exists for exactly such a parental objection. Applying the Sentinel’s (il)logic, should we then presume that it is actually the curriculum planners and parents who were insulted by the policy’s adoption?
The editorial cites other titles that have been similarly challenged across the country over the years. Unstated, however, is whether those titles targeted 6th graders, thus rendering any such comparison irrelevant.
There is a comparison, however, that may be useful. “Ender’s Game” is on the official U.S. Marines Professional Reading List for ranks 2nd and 1st Lieutenant. The obvious comparison is that there is none to 6th grade.
Obama’s Nobel destroyed Nobel credibility
Rueben Navarrette’s commentary “Hispanic journalists association has become a vaudeville act” seemed well reasoned and correct in that the NAHJ is an embarrassment.
The high mark for embarrassment, though, is the Nobel Peace Prize given to Barack Hussein Obama. That truly set the standard for boneheaded, embarrassing awards and destroyed what little credibility the Nobel Prize committee had.
RICK L. COLEMAN
Reader takes issues with publication of Hugenberg letters
Seems like every day there is an email letter published from Bill Hugenberg. They are all the same: anti-conservative and pro-liberal. Apparently he has nothing better to do than write letters to the Sentinel. I’m starting to wonder whether whoever makes the decision to publish his letters is a relative.
‘Freedom to read’ editorial twisted the issue at hand
The Daily Sentinel editorial about our “freedom to read” absolutely twisted the issue at hand. The editorial did not address the question, “Is the profanity and sexual innuendo in this book appropriate for an 11 year-old”? Honestly, I am a bit troubled by the Editor’s logic.
I would have appreciated if the editorial would have discussed the real issue and actual question to the school board. I personally do not have any issue with the book’s “educational merits” or that it is an “award winning” book. But is it appropriate for a 6th grade class with 11 year-olds?
Honestly, if the two SD51 employees that created this curriculum are insulted, then so be it.
Is it appropriate to hand out material in which the characters call each other “half-assed” “bastard,” or “####-talking”? This book is filled with page after page of profanity, and is, in my opinion, not appropriate for an 11 year-old.
Would it be appropriate for a male teacher to read the following paragraph aloud in the classroom in front of 11 year-old girls? “He could walk between my legs without touching my balls.”
Once again, the mother that came forward to the district never mentioned banning this book from SD51, so why make this issue out to be something that it is not?
This book is sold in the teen section at bookstores. “Teen” is considered 13+.
ROBBIE G KOOS
Fee-and-dividend carbon pricing would benefit economy and environment
As a Carbondale resident and member of the local Citizens Climate Lobby chapter, I was pleased to see that the Sentinel sent a reporter to cover the 11th annual American Renewable Energy Day. During the AREDAY conference, a multitude of problems associated with a warming planet were discussed: rising sea levels threatening coastal cities, intensification of storms, increasing droughts and wildfires, species extinction, and more.
In terms of the solutions that were addressed, again and again panelists including President Carter, Teddy Roosevelt IV, Tom Steyer, and others concluded that the most efficient solution to the problem is to put a price on carbon emissions.
Citizens Climate Lobby advocates for putting a price on carbon through a fee-and-dividend model. This is a free market solution that supports the core American values of capitalism and entrepreneurialism. Rather than relying on heavy-handed regulation, the idea is to put a fee on fossil fuels at their source in order to account for their contribution of carbon emissions. All the revenues collected would then be returned to the American people, much like the Alaska Permanent Fund.
Even if, despite all the evidence of climate change, you think the science is still unsettled, using this approach, it doesn’t even matter whether climate change is real or not. Economic modeling shows that it can create jobs, grow the economy, and save lives.
Regional Economic Modeling Inc. conducted an independent study of the fee-and-dividend model and found that far from killing jobs, fee and dividend would increase GDP $75 billion annually, create 2.1 million jobs, and save 13,000 lives due to reduced air pollution. As a side-note, this model would reduce carbon emissions 33 percent, all within 10 years.
Western Colorado Congress and other extremist groups dishonest about beliefs
Kudos to David Ludlum for his guest op-ed in Sunday’s Sentinel, in which he called out local extremist groups for their dishonesty. As Ludlum pointed out in his piece, groups like the Western Colorado Congress feign sincerity in claiming that they support “responsible drilling” and that they are “only trying to keep it from happening where it shouldn’t.”
But, in fact, the flat-earthers of the WCC and similar groups do not believe drilling should happen anywhere. They live in this fantasy world where all of our energy needs can be met with solar, wind and unicorn flatulence, and where fossil fuels are a thing of the past.
Here in the real world, most people realize this is not the case, and recognize the importance of providing for our energy future. WCC and their various parent organizations (such as World Earth Guardians and the Sierra Club) know that they will never be able to advance their agenda if they speak openly and honestly about what they believe. So they have hired PR experts who coach them in ways to couch their message so that it is more appealing to reasonable people. In essence, the only way to make their case to the people is to lie about what their position really is.
Ludlum is absolutely right in asking that these extremist groups at least be honest about what it is that they believe. Put your cards on the table, and then let’s have a real debate. While deception and subterfuge may be central to WCC and the rest of the environmentalist movement’s strategy, it does not make for a good basis for determining public policy.
Letter response raises issues worthy of consideration
David Zulian’s response to my on-line letter (“Immigration system is not the only broken thing in our country”) raises several issues worthy of further consideration.
First, because sound public policy decisions should be based on objective facts rather than on subjective prejudices, the numbers I “spout” are both “correct” and relevant – in contrast to the fact-free gibberish offered by local nativists (like Zulian and Virginia/Mr. “Not So” Bright below).
Second, in April 2012, in an apparent effort to curry favor with Latino voters in advance of the Presidential election, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio offered an alternative to the DREAM Act that did not include a “pathway to citizenship.” After President Obama endorsed his proposal as a reasonable compromise, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and like-minded “Tea Partiers” railed against it – prompting Rubio to repudiate his own bill. If those facts denigrate Rubio, he has no one to blame but his fellow Republicans.
Third, on June 27, 2013, by a vote of 68-32 (including 8 Republicans), the Senate passed S.744 – the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act” – but the “Tea Party”-controlled House has yet to even consider it. S.744 would enact “comprehensive” reform by addressing all the major concerns of both parties – but “Tea Partiers” won’t allow a vote in the House because they know it would pass.
Fourth, as Republican Sen. John McCain insists, those (like Zulian) who think S.744 grants “amnesty” don’t understand the meaning of the word. Rather, the present system is “broken” because it already amounts to “de facto amnesty” due to the absence of the rigorous enforcement (and millions of deportations) that nobody but “Tea Party” nativists really want, while S.744 imposes a $1000 fine and requires “illegals” to self-identify themselves to immigration officials to obtain temporary legal status.
Fifth, Simpson/Mazolli failed because the Reagan administration did not enforce it against scofflaw U.S. employers (presumably, Republicans), whose demand for cheap labor continued unabated. When President Clinton increased border security, determined immigrants found more remote and/or inventive ways to enter illegally.
Sixth, “Tea Partiers” have yet to clearly defined what they mean by “securing” and/or “sealing” our southern border – much less confronted the dubious cost-effectiveness of doing so, when (like the 9/11 terrorists) 40 percent to 50 percent of “illegal immigrants” actually enter legally and overstay their visas and/or arrive by boat, plane, or car hundreds of miles away from the “southern border.”
Nevertheless, S.744 would provide some $43 billion to “secure” 700 more miles of border with 20’ fencing and double the size of the Border Patrol to 40,000.
So, why are House Republicans still afraid to have an “up or down” roll call vote?
Local climate change experts presented great information on Aug. 4
We have climate change experts right here in town: Jay Scheevil, geologist; Jerry Nelson, food security and climate: Chris Jaulola, BLM; and Gigi Richards, water specialist; all with advanced degrees in their specialties. On Aug. 4, at a presentation sponsored by Conservation Colorado, the Math and Science Center, and the Grand Junction library, these experts dug into some of the complexities of climate change for those of us lucky enough to be at the library to listen and ask our questions.
They shared many computer model variations, graphs, and Gigi’s wonderful Rube Goldberg arrangement of buckets and faucets depicting the way our Colorado River sends and saves water for us, and for Denver and California. There was one simple theme: whatever the ups and downs of all those marvelously data derived lines are, the temperature is and will be going up, and the water supply is and will be going down.
This is not an action movie, slow and inexorable, but fate, our fate? Geology says that this is a lot slower than you think, all that change. But if we know about it, don’t we have to pay attention? Don’t we have to try to study it, and try to understand what we can and cannot do about it?
We at least need more meetings of experts, our experts, people we can talk to. We need to share the ignorance, and hopes and dreams, and share the teaching moments, learning moments, and action moments. Perhaps we need a bit more than the nonetheless hopeful 30 percent reduction in carbon over 26 years.