Letters to the editor: 09-10-2013

September 10, 2013 

Remedial classes

University presidents just released one of their favorite finger-pointing games — the number of remedial courses they have to offer.

Love to trash K-12. And parents. Everyone is a failure!

Enough is enough, Idaho!

The State Board of Education is constitutionally charged with supervising education. The SBOE needs to answer these questions:

1) Who are these students? How many are actually enrolled? Are they Idaho graduates? Foreign students? Which Idaho districts are graduating the unprepared?

Perhaps these students are coming from the Home School System. It enrolls over 10,000 students, without close scrutiny.

2) Assessment: What tests determine remediation? Are these tests aligned to K-12 standards? Are they normed?

3) Cost benefit: What’s in it for universities to offer remediation? Why offer these courses? What’s the cost/benefit for them?

4) Mission: Should the cost for such courses be deducted from university budgets and given to K-12 schools to improve learning in the senior year? Given to low-performing districts?

5) Admission procedures: If a student requires remediation, why admit? Are admission procedures flawed?

Until these questions are answered, university presidents should shut up and explain how their research dollars benefit Idaho. But that’s another SBOE analysis.

RUSSELL JOKI, Meridian

School zones

Approximately two years ago, due to budget cuts, our neighborhood lost its bus to school. A “Hawk” light was installed across Cloverdale Road at the end of Muir Ridge Drive to provide a cross light for our kids to walk to Pepper Ridge Elementary School. No school zone lights or signs were installed, and there are still no school zone signs there now, starting the third school year with the Hawk light.

The main problem is the speed limit is 40 mph, and usually people drive about 50 mph. People constantly run the light without even slowing down. I have witnessed at least five cars run the light while the walk sign was on for me and my children. It is extremely dangerous. One mile down Cloverdale at Spaulding Elementary there are school zone signs and flashers for that school, but not for ours, even though our school is the same distance from the road.

I am wondering what are the regulations for school zones? It seems like if a school is within a half mile from a dangerous road, that should be one of them.

KIM LEEDS, Boise

Wildfires

A destructive cancer is eating away at our beautiful state. This year emphasizes the problem I will call “death by a thousand smokes.”

Idaho has been ground zero for the worst wildland fires in the nation. Annually, huge fires have destroyed the forests and sagebrush environments that were the prime recreational areas of southern Idaho’s people. The loss of scenic beauty, wildlife habitat and quality watershed is shocking and depressing. The economic impacts to our region are incalculable. There is the huge loss of timber, water volume and quality, diminished recreation and wildlife, weed invasion and the cost of attempted restoration and mitigations. With the heating of these deforested lands we are seeing the desertification of southern Idaho.

It seems the more appropriate designation for NIFC is Numerous Idaho Fires out of Control; our nearby Boise National Forest as the Boise Nominal Forest; and frankly our largest wilderness area as the Frank Church Forest of No Return Wilderness.

It’s said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same things and expecting a different result.” Small fire, small-fire suppression tactics. Bigger fire, bigger-suppression tactics. Huge fire ... well you watch the news.

JERRY TRACY, Boise

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