Letters to the editor-07-19-2013

July 19, 2013 

REP. LABRADOR

To me the phrase "all men are created equal" is what America is famous for and why it stands above all other nations around the world. From the beginning we've stood against labor abuse and for voting rights. Washington's army was full of former serfs, slaves and poor people who were tired of being abused by wealthy landholders and those entitled by the crown.

Today when I watch conservative attempts to use the Constitution to postpone labor rights for the people George Bush let in, I realize the war continues. My response to them is until your party comes up with the money to send them all back, my party is not going to let you exploit them. They are our equal.

Seeing Raul Labrador on "Meet the Press" reminded me why I am a Democrat. Even though the Republicans are moving the goal posts on immigration again, I know we'll eventually reach citizenship for the latest group being dehumanized by his party. What I hope for is that those we're trying to help will remember what we've gone through and be there for the next minority that comes along.

LARRY LUGAR, Boise

EDUCATION STATS

Don't Fail Idaho (DFI) asks us to rethink education because 60 percent of our students are "not proficient" (i.e. not making the grade, falling further behind, and will never catch up) in reading and mathematics.

Not to panic! DFI just misunderstood NAEP achievement levels. Descriptors from NAEP resources clarify how achievement levels should be interpreted and used. NAEP uses "Proficient" to name one achievement level, and uses "proficiency in subject" to describe the "Basic" achievement level.

"Proficient" descriptors: some of the best students you know, mastery of complex material, and higher than grade-level performance.

"Basic" descriptors: "proficiency in subject" (common language meaning) and overall understanding of grade-appropriate text.

Focusing on the name "Proficient" rather than on "proficiency in subject," DFI reported 60 percent of Idaho students were not "performing above grade-level" in reading and mathematics. Not a useful statistic. It fails to indicate how many Idaho students actually scored "not proficient" in reading and mathematics.

On NAEP 2011, 31 percent of fourth-graders and 19 percent of eighth-graders were not proficient in reading, while 17 percent of fourth-graders and 23 percent of eighth-graders were not proficient in mathematics. None of these Idaho percentages square with the claimed 60 percent.

Idaho needs correct data.

BERT STONEBERG, Boise

POLITICAL PLEDGES

Thanks to "The New Yorker" July 1 article, "Koch Pledge Tied to Congressional Climate Inaction," we now know that our Idaho treasurer signed the Koch "No Climate Tax" pledge. Regardless of one's feelings about climate change, many in this nation and Idaho will now question the ethics of this seemingly personal choice.

We know the Koch interest is for state and federal governments to "leave energy alone," but we also know it's in the interest of many, many businesses (job creation, too) and people to further wind and solar energy (smartgrid anyone?) and to decrease interest in fossil fuels.

What could entice such alliances by pledge allegiance? Is it "career development?" Is it external investment influence? Is it the next election? Is it ... etc.? Trust needs transparency and auditing. While we're at it, it would be nice to understand what defines "common good" in Idaho and the nation; perhaps, is there a difference between what and is?

It is very concerning when pledges can keep so many "independent contractors" in line at the state and federal levels and today's marketing mind can make garbage seem like ice cream for "the soul."

One of the best solutions I can think of is MoveToAmend.org.

DOTTIE LOWE, Boise

BOISE OMBUDSMAN

The question printed on the front page reads "What does Boise need in an ombudsman?" and discusses other areas where an ombudsman could be useful.

The real answer is that we need an ombudsman that will stand up and represent the people of Boise to protect them from police abuses. I believe that 90 percent of the reports can be decided in the police department's favor, but if the ombudsman only rubber-stamps the police department's orchestrated report of an incident, the people are not receiving the protection they are paying the ombudsman to receive.

Murphy states "I have not run into a time when I needed to get the testimony of a noncity employee in order to complete an investigation." This leaves the door wide-open for police abuse. We need an ombudsman that will represent and protect the people. I am still waiting for the first time the ombudsman stands up and takes the police department to task.

BRIAN WILLES, Boise

Idaho Statesman is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service