Email letters, December 12, 2013

Working poor deserve some regard

In response to Linda Gregory, the tea party is a regressive group that would take us backward 50 years. You must pay taxes to have infrastructure.

Just look at North Avenue. Lack of sidewalks, mothers with strollers have to go out in traffic by the cemetery, water standing midway out into the street during moderate rain storms, or just irrigation run-off.

I want no handouts, just a job that pays enough to pay living expenses. Has Gregory tried to live on $8 an hour? I lost my job of 16 years to Mexico. I went to college for two years to upgrade my skills, yet our local businesses feel that $8 is a fair wage. What is wrong with that picture?

As we have found in Western Colorado, energy abandons us to go elsewhere. Not everyone is able to work in the awful condition of the oil fields, or willing to leave our families for weeks on end. 

I am one of those hard-working people struggling to keep my head above water that you speak of. It has been very difficult to not drown. Please have some regard for those of us that ARE actually struggling.

Its very humiliating to apply for food stamps, but it was necessary to eat. Have you been there?

Paying taxes means I am working. By the way I EARNED that public assistance by working for the last 35 years. Raising minimum wage is the answer to our problem of sales taxes. Let people make a decent living; then there is no need for assistance.

So, let’s have Rose Pugliese and John Justman come up with some solutions to the terrible job market we have in Grand Junction. Not just cut everything available to the lower income people in this town, of which there are many!

JENNIFER NICOLLE-BOWDEN

Grand Junction

Common core state standards are not acceptable educational criteria

First, common core state standards are intended to be in the future but are not currently internationally benchmarked (http://www.corestandards.org/assets/Criteria.pdf) to top performing student programs around the world. Therefore, common core state standards are not certified to improve education where they are applied as confessed by: “The standards development process has incorporated the best practices and research from across the nation and the world. While we have used all available research to shape these documents, we recognize that there is more to be learned about the most essential knowledge for student success. As new research is conducted and we evaluate the implementation of the common core standards, we plan to revise the standards on a set review cycle.” (http://www.corestandards.org/assets/ccssi-introduction.pdf).

Common core state standards specify detailed standards for each grade between K and 12 for each student to attain without providing proven evidence that individual standards can be attained. Faced with individual student’s non-attainment, corrective steps are not provided to put each student back on the learning track specified by the standards. Also, faced with non-attainment for many students, corrective steps are not provided for modifying the standards themselves so that eventually all students can arrive at the learned objectives specified for graduation. Hopefully, the state standards author’s “plan to revise the standards on a set review cycle” will result in validating future state standards.

Second, common core state standards are copyrighted by National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and Council of Chief State School Officers (http://www.corestandards.org/public-license) preventing improvements to common core state standards by participating school districts. The label, “state standards”, infers intentionally designed voluntary use.  State standards’ authors, having knowledge of and experience in evaluating existing international and domestic education standards, were directed to accumulate and organize existing education standards for selective use within states by state school officers. Not one of the five state standards’ lead writers have substantial experience in teaching K-12 students and, consequently, do not possess qualified knowledge of each state’s teaching system to successfully adapt specific, detailed standards.  State standards have been co-opted into the federal government’s education requirements spawning a text book industry already creating curriculum as misinterpreted from common core state standards.

Obvious reasons for inadequacies are that state standards were designed by direction of state governors and school officers to be intended as only guides for state school officers to implement voluntary state initiatives not an integrated step-by-step education requirement. Even with conflicts identified, best practices were subsequently hijacked by the federal government to serve as testing criteria, a purpose for which they were not intended. Product warranties rely on using products for the intended design purpose not on hijacking products for unintended use which can create unsafe environments and cause harm to those who use them.

Third, therefore, parents, teachers, and local business and community leaders whose school district has entered into an agreement to use common core state standards cannot participate in important decisions affecting education for children within their school district.  Results are: Any school district participating in common core state standards, before evaluating the advertised educational value, accepted an education program incapable of serving individual community needs for improvement, adaptability or enhancement, relegating that community to a one-size-fits-all, top-down imposed education program more fitting for a socialistic society than for a democratic republic.

Be very clear, education standards, developed by experienced educators by carefully and thoroughly testing education standards within their state, are necessary to improve youth education. Common core state standards originated as only a guide and do not rise to such a standard of care and thorough testing.

Last week, The Daily Sentinel published “Critical thinking hallmark of Common Core class” by The Associated Press about Middletown, Delaware, which inaccurately lauded common core state standards and attempted to defend said state standards against recent criticism. In spite of existing praise and criticism, the facts presented show how common core state standards are inadequate for their current use and were not sufficiently vetted.

ARTHUR GARDNER
Grand Junction

Pramenko’s membership on federal advisory board worth noting

Various people have written the Sentinel regarding the so-called Affordable Care Act, aka Obummercare. 

We here in the valley also have a “booster boy” for the ACA, Dr. Michael Pramenko, who has written many columns touting the law as the best thing since sliced bread.  Many of us residents here in the valley totally disagree.  I myself have been known to write letters regarding Pramenko’s columns. 

For a few of us at least, it was hard to understand how someone who is a doctor could support the ACA, thinking it would be something he or she could easily see as a disaster from a mile away.  There just had to be a reason for Pramenko to be so supportive. 

Enter Bill Hugenberg.  Hugenberg has yet to meet a socialist he couldn’t support or a conservative he couldn’t berate.  If in doubt, read the comments section of Sentinel e-mailed letters to the editor. 

For those of us wondering about Pramenko’s reasoning, Hugenberg finally gave what may be a clue to Pramenko’s support.  On Dec. 6, in a response to one Richard Rininger, while voicing that Pramenko “deserves the ink,” Hugenberg states that Pramenko is a “member of the Federal Advisory Board for section 1322 of the ACA.” 

In all of the opinion columns I have read that were written by Pramenko, that was the very first time I saw that information.  Is it available somewhere else?  Quite possibly.  Did Pramenko write it in any of his columns?  I haven’t seen it.  Why? 

There are possible reasons:  Since he had a hand as an advisor for section 1322, according to Hugenberg. if the ACA turned out to be the greatest thing since sliced bread, Pramenko could get some kudos. Could Pramenko be angling for a federal appointment of some kind?  Hey, it beats the long hours of doctors. 

On the other hand, if this “signature legislation” fails miserably (which appears more likely), Pramenko was in a position to not get much blame. Can Hugenberg say “Oops”?

DAVID F. ZULIAN
Grand Junction

 

 



COMMENTS

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Why is someone sitting on an advisory board a problem?  Is the system that we had before Obamacare better?  Why or why not?  I’m not asking for a political discussion on socialism or capitalism, I’m asking for your solution to the health care problems confronting the US.

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