Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Readers' Views

Proficiency test system doesn't serve pupils

The fourth-, sixth-, and ninth-graders are sweating through days of unending proficiency testing. I understand the need for testing that determines that our children have mastered basic skills. I question testing that has 19 Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence on a failed schools list for proficiencies and expects 9-year-old children to identify congruent triangles and answer questions on a reading excerpt about "shingling the fog" and an article written by Andy Rooney.

How many of us even knew what "congruent" meant at 9, could identify sarcasm or knew what a shingle was? Now, special-needs children with Individual Education Programs (IEP) must take and pass these tests. I wish our legislators would observe these classrooms while tests are being administered. They'd see the frustration and confusion on kids' faces, and the faces of teachers who must read tests to the students. What are we accomplishing when students end up throwing the test on the ground and jumping up and down on it?

These tests are supposed to determine proficiency, but topics covered are always different. How can public schools perform well on the proficiencies when one year, fourth-graders are supposed to be proficient in the solar system and the seasons, and the next, the test focuses on force, magnets, and small machines?

The proficiency process needs drastic overhaul.

Janet S. Richer, Sharonville

Head Start provides future stepping stones

A country can be no stronger than its individual citizens. That is why it so important that all children be prepared to compete in a technologically sophisticated society. And that is why the work that Head Start is doing is so important ("Head Start model has been efficient" March 9).

As the director of Head Start, Verlene Dotson, points out, it is not enough to establish camaraderie and social skills among the students, even though these are very important. These students need to open their eyes to the world, fill in the holes, and learn how to live and to think positively about the possibility of success in their futures.

All should applaud the work of Head Start as it provides the proper stepping-stones with which the students can prepare their marches toward the future.

Helen W. Joffe, Hamilton

Taft's gun-control stance is wrong

The latest poll shows Gov. Bob Taft's approval rating has plummeted to 40 percent. Couple that with the thousands of citizens who are unhappy with his stance on gun-control, which equates that citizens of Ohio shall not be permitted to possess and use a gun to defend themselves against car-jacking, robbery, attempted kidnapping, rape, murder, etc., unless the Ohio state patrol and police chiefs give their approval.

To accommodate this group of law enforcement,he is placing citizens' lives on the line. We read so many stories about victims of criminals and rampageous spouses out for revenge, it is proof positive that law enforcement cannot possibly protect intended victims. And this governor won't give us the means of protecting ourselves. Yes, he has a problem, a big problem.

John J. Myers, Medina

Tarbell: Tax proposal garnered attention

Water taxi service between Covington and Cincinnati is a good idea. Like every other method of transportation, the fare should be the same in both directions. However, what was proposed charges $2 for people to come to Cincinnati and charges nothing for people to go to Kentucky.

Charge the same amount each way and I will give my unqualified support. But providing an incentive for people to come to Kentucky at the same time as providing a disincentive to go to Cincinnati is not the way to do business and is not in the spirit of regional cooperation. We have spent upwards of $2 billion improving our waterfront for everyone n the Tristate to enjoy. We have put our best foot forward for folks on both sides of the river. We'd like to see people be able to enjoy our riverfront for the same price as it costs to enjoy Kentucky's riverfront.

The tax proposal was a tongue-in-cheek way of getting attention to the issue.

James R. Tarbell, Cincinnati Councilmember

Vocational students deserve better image

I'm a 16-year-old junior at Diamond Oaks C.D.C. I am a straight "A" student with in health technology a 95 percent attendance rate and am proud to say I attend a vocational school.

I'm getting tired of hearing such bad remarks toward students of career development campuses. We are thought of as losers, outcasts and bad eggs. People think we couldn't "cut it" in a "real" school, so we took the "easy way out." We are getting a head start in life. We know what we want, and we're not waiting to start.

We are involved in our community, whether by community services or just by lending a helping hand to a neighbor who knows we can. Our Junior ROTC, in which I'm also involved, volunteers to help with meetings at the school, veterans' reunions and parades. The JROTC also helps with the Marines Corps' Toys for Tots.

To those who think we'll never amount to anything, we'll be the ones you come to for help. Five years from now, people will be coming to us when they have car trouble. It'll be us that they ask when they want a room added to their house. It'll be someone like me that they come to for their health needs.

We are the future. Please have faith in us.

Hallie Lane, Addyston

Democrats obstruct, offer no alternatives

Why do so many in the Democratic Party work so hard at obstructing President Bush in his efforts to revitalize the economy, fight terrorism and disarm Iraq?

They are against tax cuts, say we are not doing enough to fight terrorism, should not rush to disarm Iraq and that North Korea is the greater threat. The Democrats offer no alternatives. They just step forward and attack the president. Are the Democrats working to help improve these matters, or are they positioning themselves to take advantage if things get worse? How can the Democratic party get away with its hypocrisy? Are U.S. citizens so disinterested or uninformed? Does the United States need to suffer more 9/11's to generate greater concern?

Dean Phillips, Fairfield

School funding is also unconstitutional

It has come to my attention that in the state of Ohio the policy for school funding is not only unfair, but also, as ruled by the Ohio Supreme Court on four separate occasions, unconstitutional.

All are created equal and all should have the same opportunities to succeed and to be well-educated. In the state of Ohio, a child going to Williamsburg High School, for example, is funded $2,469 each year, while a child attending a school, such as, Sycamore High School is funded roughly $12,500 per school year. Is the child attending Sycamore more important than the child in Williamsburg School district? No.

Then why does his/her school receive more money from the state? Is it because of where they live? I reside with my parents and am legally bound to them until I turn 18. Is it my fault I live in Williamsburg?

Declaring something is unconstitutional is not enough. Someone needs to take action. Not only are local school districts being taken advantage of, but now the threat of another cut in higher education is approaching. I will soon graduate. I come from a family with little money. As a minister, my father makes only what the church can afford to pay him. I'm relying on God to bless me with a grant or a scholarship of some sort. If funding for high education is cut, I will be affected as well as many others. It's not right.

Andrea Jones, Williamsburg High School

Police contract: Preserve Issue 5
Crowd safety: Increase inspections
Medical liability: Enact sensible reforms

The third leg of the Tristate
Wanted: A few good writers

War letters: Pro & con
Readers' Views