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NCLB: A Government Plot for Industry

To the Editor,

I was pleased to see discussion about federal education reform in "No Child Left Behind" by Dave Devine and Molly McKasson (Aug. 28). The article covered much ground, but there is other information worth noting.

The No Child Left Behind Act contains a provision to fund school-to-work concepts under NCLB's "Smaller Learning Communities."

Bad news! STW/SLC turns public education into workforce training for total quality management indoctrination. It is designed to support government-industry partnerships and maintain a "planned economy." Bottom line: The government will control job availability, quantity, content and certification. Citizens, or "human capital" as we are called, will be told which line to stand in.

STW/SLC does not improve education! What it does is establishes "career pathways" that narrow curriculum, put children in a career path usually between sixth and eighth grade, requires ongoing assessments for personal information, requires involuntary community service, promotes humanistic values and more.

Additionally, schools adopt block, flex, or year-round scheduling for the eventuality of taking children off-campus during class time to do unpaid jobs.

While Arizona schools incorporate pieces of STW/SLC "strategies," low funding has gratefully hindered full blown statewide implementation.

Accountability mandates WILL NOT help produce a more educated population. It's time to heed the facts and ax the laws that are dumbing down curriculum, wasting tax dollars, and slowly removing the freedom to make career choices.

--Debbie Niwa


NCLB: A Government Plot for Privatization

To the Editor,

Your cover story on No Child Left Behind was one of the best articles you've ever done. There was one minor flaw, because the writers left out the most important part: They forgot to mention privatization.

It's a forest-and-trees thing. The accountability rhetoric, the teacher-bashing, the simultaneous cuts in funding and raising of standards, the voucher schemes and all the quacking on fascist talk-radio about "government schools"--these are the trees. The forest is this: There are people who see opportunities for riches in privatizing the public schools.

Dr. Paz was only partly right when he spoke of leaders hoping that kids would flee to charter schools. The people behind this campaign are not thinking of thousands of mom-and-pop charter schools. Can you think of any sector of the economy where mom-and-pop anythings are not being stamped out? No, the dream, or threat, depending on which side you're on is of nationwide chains of private schools--McSchools, if you will. The most well-known aspirant is Edison Inc., but there are others, lots of others.

For the sake of our children, and our wallets, they must be actively resisted, and we can only do that when the issue has been brought out into the open.

--Bill Miller


The Feds Should Stay out of Education

To the Editor,

If our educators are concerned that No Child Left Behind will possibly destroy our "national education system," they should be rejoicing. All education is local. Our tax dollars should not be sent to Washington, diluted to pennies on the dollar, then sent back to the states. The federal government should be out of the education business and let the 50 states make their decisions free from the bureaucrats in Washington. Each state would then be able to demonstrate, on its own merits, the success it is having on improving the test scores. While the intent of NCLB is to have the same testing standard, and the states will then have to compete on the same field, the feds should just stay out of it and return more of the money by way of tax reductions.

Molly and Dave are right: The stakes are high. They should be. While we live in a world that is competitive in every way; somehow, our education system does not want to compete or be judged by some standard other than its own. While charter schools are now competing with the traditional public schools, we have to also continue to move towards school vouchers as a way to expand competition.

John Pedicone and Kevin Vinson seem to be complaining that the program places accountability and labels on the students, teachers and administrators. If they are not to be accountable, then who is? Everyone is on notice that they will now have to compete and be judged by a new and raised standard. Well, welcome to the real world.

Finally, while the immediate effects of Prop 203 will seem hard to accept, the students will benefit forever from increased standards and live a more rewarding life as adults. They will better fit into an English-speaking society and are much more likely to get a better education if they just learn English hard and FAST.

--Jack Langley


Thanks for Keeping It Short, Bro

To the Editor,

I'll make this very short.

I have been a school teacher in mathematics off and on for more than 30 years. I read your cover article on No Child Left Behind, and it is more of the same. Why doesn't the media interview people who really know how to educate children without hurting their psyche? Many educators know exactly what the problem is and how to solve it. Almost every child can be successful. Yes, we can do it--and without the standardized testing.

The solution lies in competency-based learning in the early years. This means more money and attention in the early elementary schools, which will result in a long-term savings of big bucks. If the students don't get it early, they usually don't get it. One good hour at the early elementary level is worth 100 hours at the high school level.

Take the challenge up and interview people in the know who are not afraid of speaking out, of telling the truth.

--Sam Yulish


Thanks for Treating Shooters' Issues Seriously

To the Editor,

Thank you for "Trigger Unhappy" (Sept. 4). It's a pleasure to read an article concerning shooters' issues that treats the matter as a serious subject of wide interest.

I like to think of our Game & Fish Department folks out scouting habitat for game and fish--not for developers. I've always supported the Second Amendment, shooting sports and wide-open spaces as natural habitats for wildlife as well as for people. The Ben Avery Shooting Facility stands for all those things, and should be left alone. Your informative support is much appreciated! Keep up the good work!

--Piet Van de Mark


The Food Is SUPPOSED to be Bland!

To the Editor,

You need to hire a Chow expert with a heart and a brain, instead of a numskull ("Assembly Line Pie," Sept. 4, by Jimmy Boegle).

How can a human take a good picture of the owner/manager of a credible Tucson eatery and then trash him as he did?

Yes, it's institutional food. Yes, it can be bland to someone--so add pepper/spices to your individual taste. That's why they put them on the table, duh!

Boegle states that the only view from Pizza Factory's outside patio was the back of the shopping center. Try turning around and looking to the north to capture a beautiful view of the Catalinas--be careful not to get dizzy and fall off your chair.

Finally, if you don't like his store and its wholesome food, stay home and cook your own. Then you can damage your own reputation instead of hurting people who are trying to make an honest/franchised living.

--Frank Salbego


Yes, Virginia, There Is Sexual Addiction

To the Editor,

Regarding letter by Mr. Gruver ("The Sensitive Doc Award Goes To ..." Sept. 4): Dr. Richard Miller, director of a drug treatment program near Sacramento, California, wrote in the 1980s: "Of all the drugs and the compulsive behaviors that I have seen in the past 25 years, be it cocaine, heroin, alcohol, nicotine, gambling, sexual addiction (or) food addiction, all have one common thread. That is the covering up, or the masking, or the unwillingness on the part of the human being to confront and be with his or her human feelings."

Back in the 1980s, clinics didn't charge the fantastic prices they look for nowadays.

--Joyce Plaisted

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