Printed Letters: Aug. 17, 2014
‘Ender’s Game’ editorial full of illogical conceits
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 sixth-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 sixth grade.
Commercial fiction has a place, just not the classroom
I was astonished by the current debate regarding the teaching of “Enders Game” in District 51. I taught English for 45 years, 15 of those as a teacher in north Seattle, and 30 at what is now Colorado Mesa University. I chose certain books on the premise that they could enrich my student’s lives, mystify their imagination, articulate their dreams and disappointments, and — most of all — transmit the best of our culture from one generation to the next.
I don’t quite understand what “Ender’s Game” has to do with an English class, except perhaps to blackmail students into reading something. Most teachers are familiar with “Anne of Green Gables” and “Life of Pi,” but there is so much more, and it is readily available. If teachers don’t know where to look, I would suggest they search the Booker Prize, the Newberry Medal, the Caldecott Medal, or the National Book Award. All of these resources list some excellent material for juveniles and young adults.
Commercial fiction has its place (if not overindulged), but certainly not in the classroom.
MATTS DJOS, Ph.D.
District 51 schedule change is ‘stupid’ and impractical
It did not take long for the students, parents, and teachers to realize what a terrible disservice the board for Dist 51 schools has done with a very stupid schedule change. Using a tried-and-true school schedule that is about 200 years old enabled us to put a man in space and more men on the moon. And now a a bunch of fools think 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 that have to take remedial classes just to stay in college.
Then the District 51 school board insults us with what amounts to a truly bunch of BS 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? Board members should just do its 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 the board perpetuates. If I had students in school with District 51, I would immediately remove them. It would be worth me working two jobs just to make sure they get a good and proper education. Furthermore, I recommend that anyone who truly cares about a child’s learning experience to get them away from District 51’s incompetent board members.
Some of the problems with the new scheduling are simple: Kids can not get a decent summer job, teachers can not get a decent part-time summer job, nor can they pursue to further their education in their field. Vacation time is shot for many. Sports have to be attenuated. 4-H can say goodbye to all the farm children. The excessive mid-year breaks are nonsense and way too long. Rearranging baby sitting will be come difficult, and then some. All of this just to make a bunch of not-too-bright District 51 officials feel like they have done a wonderful thing.
Motorcycles cause damage to dirt roads and trails
I was up on the Uncompahgre this past weekend and when we drove in, Uranium Road was a hard-packed, good-quality road. When we drove out Sunday evening, the road was four inches of loose, sloppy sand. What took place was a 400-motorcycle enduro race.
If a hard-packed road was torn up this badly, imagine what happened to the trails that the racers used. Whose bright idea was this to have a motorcycle race of this magnitude on our fragile public lands?
With apologies to my dirt-bike-riding friends, motorcycles have potential to cause great damage to dirt trails. For evidence of this, just look at the Zion Curtain Trail in Rabbit Valley.
Senators need to stand up for clean energy, climate action
Compared to the last couple years, it’s been a relatively light wildfire season so far: only 33,000 acres burned. As global warming pollution heats up the atmosphere, quiet summers like this will be the exception, few and far between. Blazes like the ones that tore through homes near Waldo Canyon and Black Forest in 2012 and 2013 could be the new normal.
We know what we have to do: Limit carbon from the largest sources — our power plants — and shift to clean energy like wind, solar, and energy efficiency. And that’s just what the Environmental Protection Agency would do under the newly proposed Clean Power Plan.
But instead of letting EPA do its job, polluters’ allies in Congress have introduced no fewer than six bills to block EPA’s Clean Air Act authority to tackle global warming. Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet should continue to stand up for clean energy and climate action, even as polluters dump millions on campaign ads attacking EPA. Because summers like this one are too good to lose forever.
Palisade doesn’t need problem of legalized marijuana
Apparently the town of Palisade is considering putting the legalization of recreational marijuana on the ballot this fall. Why?
We are not De Beque. We are not a town that is so starving for money that we will chase any two-bit idea down the rabbit hole. Let De Beque deal with the headaches that we are now starting to see from this experiment in legal drugs. Let their children experience the increase in use. Let their town deal with the homeless that follow the industry. Palisade has enough problems. We don’t need more.
I strongly urge the town of Palisade to not be seduced by the mirage of easy money. As the evidence is now showing, that “easy money” isn’t so easy.