Printed letters, March 9, 2012
After holding several community budget forums, it seems that the majority of the community supports a four-day school week for District 51. However, I oppose adopting such a drastic measure as a means of cost-savings, primarily given the limited systematic research on the impact of a four-day school week on student achievement.
In July 2006, the Colorado Department of Education published a report titled “The four day school week” in which it found, “The jury is out on the question of student performance.” Moreover, several prominent educational experts have voiced concerns with a four-day school week. In particular, Diane Cargile, president of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, stated, “The rationale behind the four-day week is not to improve instruction, but to save dollars.” The president of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, said that the concepts of school reform and a four-day school week do not mesh.
In the event the District 51 School Board adopts a four-day school week, I would propose including an automatic mechanism to revert back to a normal five-day school week in the event of a districtwide decline in student achievement. I have not heard any public discussion on this topic, and obviously the school board, along with community input, would need to ascertain the triggering decline level. Yet, given the lack of peer-reviewed research on the academic effect of a four-day school week, we must include a means of quickly ending this experiment, should it fail.
Civil War established supremacy of federal law
A recent letter writer raised the idea of state law supremacy over federal law. He relied upon cases from the late 1700s and early 1800s. He deliberately ignored that little incident that occupied this country between 1861 and 1865 that forever established the supremacy of federal law. States exist because the federal law allows it, just as counties exist because the state law allows them. If he took a similar position to assert county government was superior to state government and advocated that counties take over state parks, he would be laughed out of town.
Next month, it will be 147 years since the South lost the supremacy argument. Get over it.
Coram bill would promote horse racing, video gaming
Raising, riding and racing horses is as much a part of our Western heritage as the cowboy. MC4FF is a coalition of Montrose-area business, civic and government leaders working to expand the area’s tourism industry, included a horse track and Old West town, through their application to create the GREAT Colorado Adventures Regional Tourism Zone submitted to the Colorado Economic Development Commission.
This exciting project is part of a package of tourism developments that would give a tremendous lift to our stagnant economy, with its high unemployment rate, by generating jobs and incremental sales tax for the area.
House Bill 1280, sponsored by Montrose’s Rep. Don Coram, would create a strong incentive for opening a new horse track in our community and would permit limited expansion of the Colorado Lottery to allow state-licensed operators of horse-racing tracks to install video-lottery games at up to three locations, including one location on the West Slope. In addition to providing a big boost to the prospects of opening a track in Montrose to diversify our community’s economy, this legislation is projected to create some 6,000 jobs across Colorado.
Because current legislation prevents horse tracks from offering fans options beyond traditional wagering, our state is losing horse-breeding farms, racing stables and associated jobs to neighboring states like Oklahoma and New Mexico. House Bill 1280 would reverse this trend.
Coram’s effort at the Capitol is important to the future of horse racing in Colorado and to our ability to establish it in Montrose. By letting horse-track operators attract lottery fans, the legislation will draw new fans to horse racing, adding more race dates and expanding the prizes.
HB 1280 will restore a cherished piece of our Western heritage while growing our economy and adding jobs. Let’s hope this legislation passes soon.
Some Democrats find joy in conservative’s death
It is hard for me to believe that some of the Democrats have gone so low as to express joy over the death of Andrew Breitbart. He spent his last years trying to educate all of us on what is happening to our country. In his words, “I express righteous indignation.”
If Obama gets elected again, his warning will have gone unheeded.