Letters to the editor - 6-5-2013

June 5, 2013 

COMMON CORE

Critical thinking not as important as approach

As a classroom teacher I agree that the concept behind the Common Core Standards is valid - Idaho's students need to know that they are receiving the same education/information as their contemporaries in Missouri, Maine, etc. However, I have issue with the contention that these new "standards" will promote critical thinking any more than any of its predecessors. It is beholden on the teacher, school and parents to foster environments that offer critical-thinking perspectives. I have both a fourth- and second-grader, and the notion that teaching them to write in cursive so they can read historical documents is comical - this from a history teacher! Common Core is about joining the 21st century and (unfortunately) keyboards are the norm today, not the remnants of 19th century school standards.

TOM DEMPSEY, Boise

Yes to Idaho standards

Wow! Just read the article on Common Core in Idaho classrooms. Critical thinking? Questions about having evidence to support what one thinks or expressing ideas that make sense? Right here in Idaho? In letters to the editor? In the state Legislature? Amazing! Can't come soon enough!

CHARLENE CURRY, Boise

Sees same fed influence

Regarding imposition of federal Common Core Standards, it seems that the Statesman believes that Idaho doesn't have the ability to create valid common core requirements. It isn't that a common core of knowledge shouldn't be imparted to every student at the completion of 12 years of education, it is a question of who is best able to decide what that common core should be. Since Jimmy Carter created the DOE in 1979, education results have been on a downward trajectory, to the point that the United States now stands 15th of 30 developed nations in reading literacy, and 21st of 30 in scientific literacy.

After those less-than-spectacular results of federal interference in education, ask yourselves what authority does the federal government have to involve itself in education to begin with? Not once is any power or responsibility of the Congress or the federal government regarding education mentioned in the Constitution! Perhaps the founders of this nation were on to something, perhaps there are certain areas of government that are better left to those who are closer to the point where the results of those government policies are felt, where they are easier to remedy when they go awry.

KENNETH HUSTON, Garden City

PARKING METERS

Show research before we write the check

So we are to believe Boise residents want new parking meters that can take credit cards and because of that questionable research, we also would be willing to pay more for parking and add additional hours. It sounds like the decision was made and now they are trying to justify it. Please give us your research showing who wants to pay more for this wonderful idea. Not.

LARRY CHASE, Boise

Downtown Boise's loss to be boon to the 'burbs

New parking meters at $800 each? Nothing wrong with the ones we have now. No free parking on nights or weekends? This will not entice customers to visit Downtown merchants. Not when they can go elsewhere for similar goods and services and park for free.

This is simply a scheme for the city to wring more money out of the taxpayers, and buy some expensive new meters we don't need. I wonder who will make money on this one?

I love the quote in your paper in which Croner says: "Our job is not to make money. Our job is to enforce parking and make sure we have available spaces." What a joke. Two public parking garages were sold to a developer. One was torn down, one provides parking for his two new office buildings.

The second garage previously provided direct parking access for Macy's Downtown. Macy's subsequently closed. A coincidence? New construction has been permitted with either no parking or inadequate parking. Now Trader Joe's gobbles up the biggest surface lot in Downtown.

The city is actively facilitating elimination of Downtown parking while telling us that giving them more money from meters will fix the parking problem. Not likely.

FORREST GOODRUM, Boise

IDAHO GOP

Governor should focus more on state issues

I thought it was funny Gov. Otter wants poor people to jump through hoops to get Medicaid. The feds pay most of it. He gives tax breaks to large corporations, no strings attached. Our infrastructure is crumbling, largest precentage of people on minimum wage in the country.

Wake up Idahoans, stop voting "R." That "we the people" they talk about is just talk. They don't represent the people, they represent their corporate overlords.

Thank you, President Obama, for the Affordable Care Act.

DOUG BADGER, Caldwell

THANK YOU

Another salute to Victory Belles show

We attended the program put on by Cloverdale Funeral Home on Memorial Day.

It was an excellent, patriotic and very heartwarming program by the Victory Belles.

Many, many thanks to the staff of Cloverdale Funeral Home.

RALPH AND CAROL LEE GENTRY, Meridian

MORRISITES

Religious sect puts out call for descendants

Why would you invite people to a reunion who may have never met?

The community of Soda Springs, the Presto Preservation Association and the Caribou County Sesquicentennial Committee are planning to have a "reunion" of Morrisite descendants on Aug. 4 this year.

Soda Springs was founded in 1863 by a beleaguered group of Morrisites and others who came into the newly formed Idaho Territory under military escort.

The Morrisites were followers of Joseph Morris. The group broke away from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, rejecting some tenants of that religion at the time.

Morris and several others were killed when the Utah Territorial Militia attempted to free two men who wanted to leave the sect and who were being held in the fort against their will.

The story is complex. That's part of the reason for the "reunion." We want to put Morrisite descendants in touch with each other so they can learn more about their mutual history. It is especially appropriate during this sesquicentennial of the Idaho Territory.

Morrisite descendants can find out more by contacting me by email at rickjust@rickjust.com.

RICK JUST, executive director, Presto Preservation Association, Boise

D.B. COOPER

Reader thinks story facts were off target

For as many years that I have been a steady customer of the home delivery of the Statesman, I have noticed the need of a proof reader from time to time.

Today's edition, May 30, has a glaring error regarding where D.B. Cooper parachuted from a Seattle to Portland flight in 1971.

He did not parachute while the plane was somewhere over Oregon per one Brian Palmer of Slate. Since the Portland airport is adjacent to the Columbia River, had he jumped over Oregon, most likely he would have landed in Oregon - a well populated and urbanized part.

It is believed by authorities he jumped not far from Mount St. Helens. Several years later cash bundles were found on the north side of the Columbia River near a Washington tributary to the Columbia River.

GARRY OWEN AULT, Boise

MERIDIAN SCHOOLS

School Board talks not what he bargained for

Open? Transparent? Good faith?

I attended the Meridian SD2 negotiations session Thursday night, May 30, and was wholly disappointed by the way the School Board has chosen to behave. Rather than the district team meeting in person with the association team, the district sent their lawyer instead. What? How is this bargaining, how is this fair, open, good faith and transparent?

The School Boards complained about transparency, yet they won't present the 2012-13 budget numbers to the association so they can help find ways to cut or what was cut.

How can we avoid another Nampa SD fiasco if the board or boards make it so difficult to assure accountability?

I was so disappointed in the lack of respect it is showing not only teachers and staff but the parents and students as well.

Show up, Meridian School Board, and bargain in person rather than via a lawyer. BTW, who's paying the lawyer to do something the board should be?

SCOTT HALE, Boise

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