Letters to the editor: 11-27-2013

November 27, 2013 

Education

A recent article (“Idaho’s off to college — all over the place,” Sept. 23) raised the important issue of Idaho’s low rate of high school students interested in furthering their education within the state.

Education is critical for the future of our state, especially given that by 2018, the year current college freshman will graduate, 61 percent of jobs in Idaho will require postsecondary education.

To maintain a competitive workforce, students need to know they have higher education options that include universities residing within the state. Idaho is home to several great public, private and vocational schools, all working to provide students with a high-quality education.

Retaining college graduates within Idaho’s job market is crucial for the state’s future economic growth. Not only do we need to encourage students to pursue a higher education, we need to retain that talent and intellectual capital for our economy.

Private colleges such as University of Phoenix are united with our state and public universities to encourage the pursuit of higher education. By offering curriculum based not just in theory, but in practicality for students entering the workforce, we hope to attract and maintain local talent across our great state.

BARRY BROOKS, University of Phoenix Idaho campus director, Meridian

No Common Core

As the holder of a graduate degree in mathematics, I have exciting news! Excitingly bad news, that is. I speak of the Common Core that is being taught in our Valley high schools.

Politics aside, I can prove, mathematically speaking to you, that the content being taught to your children is random at best in a subject area that should build on previous concepts. Don’t believe me? Then you have not seen it.

I am currently tutoring a high school student who, along with most of his classmates, is quite confused. I have seen the material firsthand, I have seen the concepts and understand them. I am telling you, this is not how you teach math! Sorry. If you think your child is going to be prepared for college by this, don’t be so quick to fool yourself.

The fix? Obliterate the use of the Common Core. Return to daily classroom instruction and note-taking. Return to nightly homework and repetition. Have your kids learn, not memorize.

NEILL MCGRATH, Boise

We now know that the 45 states who signed up for Common Core — sight unseen — were victims of the carrot-and-the-stick charade under the guise of Race To The Top competition. Our state standards were very comparable to the Common Core math standards already (we scored a B-plus, Common Core scored an A-minus, and how that happened when you use theory like 3x4=11 is a mystery). Do some research, folks.

The five wise states who didn’t play along will save millions of taxpayer dollars and get to pick from the highest national standards available throughout the country (many programs being absolutely free to adopt) to use as their model for their state educational systems.

So who’s the chump now? Ante-up, Idaho. We will each pay a small fortune in taxes for a mediocre, untested program that sells our children’s and teachers’ personal data to anyone “doing research,” thanks to the great leadership of Otter, Luna and our elected representatives who “adopted the bill to see what was in it.” Nancy Pelosi would be so proud.

SUSAN FRICKEY, Boise

Gay rights

The Nov. 18 letter from Allen Marsh entitled “Gay rights” was nothing more than the typical religious right rants against gay equality. Not one statement he made is supported by facts. He was doing exactly what “How Religious Right Groups Distort Legitimate Research to Demonize the Gay Community” says they do.

The majority of the American public now supports gay marriage and individuals like Marsh are rapidly becoming a small minority. Marsh is upset that they are called “intolerant bigots.” Well, if you don’t like the title, don’t act like one!

What people do in the privacy of their home is not his or my business.

The problem with God’s word is that it doesn’t evolve. Slavery is still not condemned in the Bible and never will be unless God sends a Bible revision.

Treat all human beings with decency.

ART RIGSBY, Nampa

Ethanol

As then-president of United Street Rods of Idaho, I was once quoted in a Statesman article about moisture-containing caustic properties of ethanol fuel in vintage, classic and performance vehicles.

A station in Boise bucking the trend and selling nonethanol fuel has that article on the wall. Another past-president has written regarding the fallacy of “fuel economy” of e-gas — citing the loss of power efficiency; we use more gas to get the same work from engines. The “real carbon footprint” of producing ethanol for fuel blending has never been fully revealed. What Mr. Bush put into place, Mr. Obama has continued.

In a recent Statesman article, maybe worse problems with our e-fuel fiasco have been exposed: millions of acres of pristine land have been converted to corn production to support the industry.

This ill-conceived land rape is causing massive erosion and enormous water quality issues. Yet the government continues to tell us it will have far reaching benefits to our environment.

If you believe that, I’d like to sell you a bridge in Brooklyn. It’s a crock. The ethanol mandate rips us off at the pump, ruins our machinery, and despoils our ecosystems. Watch the AP investigation video to see for yourself.

CURTIS STODDARD, Eagle

Online comments

I do enjoy the Statesman but why take away all of the fun comments that folks would leave? Now with the only way to leave a comment with a Facebook posting ... the comments have dried up.

Some of the comments had a lot of truth in them.

Does this possibly coincide with BSU having a ho-hum season and the Statesman not wanting to air folks’ frustrations?

Philly.com and Sun-Sentinel.com have open forums for their readers. Is this what Idaho is coming to?

LARRY SACKNOFF, Eagle

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