Printed Letters: October 4, 2017
Air Show provided great entertainment
Kudos to all who planned, arranged, staged and executed the fabulous Grand Junction Air Show this past weekend. Everyone in attendance was totally cared for, from the initial parking guidance to the gate, to the venue itself.
Grand Junction police, parking attendants, security personnel, vendors, and, of course, the professional fabulous Air Force Thunderbirds were all responsible for a great day of entertainment for the entire family. The way the crowd was handled the moment that severe weather was entering the area during Saturday’s show was very well done, and how gracious and considerate of them to allow Saturday’s tickets to be honored for the show on Sunday.
Having attended many air shows with the Thunderbirds and the Blue Angels in Arizona, Michigan and Colorado locations, I send congratulations to all who were involved in this magical, fun event. Thank you to all.
What do standardized tests really measure?
A great deal of importance has been placed on test scores over the years. It is a topic that comes up as a concern when we are talking about many of our schools in Mesa County. Standardized tests do not measure a child’s capability or ability to learn; they measure their performance on a single test developed in Denver.
When I first started working with District 51 in 1996 at a local elementary school, we had some of the lowest CSAP test scores in the district. Our school’s Accelerated Reading teachers noticed how the standardized tests did not reflect the format for most of the teaching and testing that was currently happening in the classroom. Standardized tests are largely multiple-choice questions. Over the years, teachers have moved away from using multiple choice testing formats to using more open-ended questions, so we could more fully understand what our students have learned and how they are thinking. Multiple choice testing does not tell you how a child thinks.
That year at school, we implemented practice tests to prepare students for the CSAP. The children were taught how to approach the format of the test and given time to be comfortable with the process. When the CSAP results were published in The Daily Sentinel that year, our school’s test scores were reported near the top of the district’s schools.
Did those children really improve their reading scores, or had they just become better test takers? It is not about a score, it is about each child and their individual style of learning. Our students are not numbers; they are individuals.
Early Childhood Special Educator, MCVSD 51
Oppose proposals to reduce COLAs for federal retirees
As a federal retiree who has served our country for years, first as a U.S. Army officer and Vietnam veteran and then as a Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent and supervisory special agent for over 22 years, following that as a member of a company of retired agents who continued to conduct federal background investigations for another 11 years, I am deeply concerned with a provision in the president’s budget which would eliminate cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for current and future federal retirees. I ask that my representative and senators oppose any proposals that would reduce COLAs for federal retirees.
The annual COLA provides protections against inflation, but even the current calculation is inadequate because it understates the impact of health care spending, yielding lower annual COLAs. Reducing or eliminating my COLA further threatens my health and financial security.
This proposal would diminish the value of my hard-earned annuity by allowing inflation to erode the benefit over the course of my retirement. With the cost of goods and medical care on the rise, I will not sit back and allow this attack to gain a foothold.
I have also survived three open-heart surgeries and the implantation of two consecutive heart pace makers/defibrillators. Obviously, medical issues are paramount in my future planning and concerns.
MICHAEL A. HAMMETT
NFL players should say silent prayer before national anthem
Instead of protesting The United States of America — which is the best thing the NFL and the players have going for them — how about saying a silent prayer before the national anthem, in memory of the thousands killed each year by black-on-black violence? And ask God to help put an end to illegal drug use, drug dealers, gangs and domestic violence.
This is something the whole country would support and get behind. And it might help restore some respect and credibility to the NFL and the players.