January 5, 2011

Inbox — Jan. 5, 2011

Letters to the Editor

Golly Gee
Great choice in Dawne Gee for Louisvillian of the Year (LEO Weekly, Dec. 22). She is an amazing, inspiring lady!

My suggestion for next year: Scott Davenport, with Bellarmine Men’s Basketball.
Leah Farris, Highlands

A Ways to Go
In response to your article “Inertia creeps” (LEO Weekly, Dec. 22), we are in for a long 30-day session in Kentucky.

Bill Lann Lee, former assistant attorney general for the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, once said: “America has traveled and is still traveling a long, hard road ... littered with ... persistent intolerance and bigotry. However, our progress as a nation has been marked by a succession of civil rights laws, standposts that rise above political party and endure as lasting, bipartisan achievements.”

While we have some positive proposed legislation, like statewide fairness and expunging of records once time is served, there is more negative legislation that is designed to oppress entire groups of people and divide our commonwealth.

It should concern all Kentuckians that the Republican legislative agenda for 2011 includes Arizona-style immigration reform. How does this kind of hate-filled agenda move Kentucky forward? We are a state of “unbridled spirit” as long as we can put people on lock down and destroy families because of their ethnicity or race.

Kentucky Jobs with Justice is a coalition of progressive community, faith, labor, political and student groups fighting for economic justice, global justice, health care for all, immigrant rights and workers’ rights. We look forward to joining others from across our state as we converge on Frankfort during the legislative session to remind our elected officials that we do care about human rights and social justice and that we are keeping a record of their actions.
Attica C. Scott, Coordinator of Kentucky Jobs with Justice

A+ Teachers
There is lots of justified criticism being directed at our local public schools. Alas, the problem is national. The latest global rankings of high school test scores show the United States at 15. How can this be when we have so many well-paid experts running the system?

I retired from the Navy in 1964, earned my teaching degrees from Purdue thanks to the G.I. Bill, and enjoyed 25 years as a teacher. The best teachers can teach meaningful lessons that even reach students who dislike school. At times, it seems like you’re fighting the child, his parents and the system. But you can’t give up. Youngsters in your charge need to know you care about them.

I’ve long believed the volunteer Teach for America program has a solution that presents a formal challenge. Extracts from their latest report follow:

More than any other variable in education, more than schools or curriculum, teachers matter. By high school, the compound effects of the strong teacher — or the weak one — become too great.

Parents have always worried about where to send their children to school, but the school, statistically speaking, does not matter as much as which adult stands in front of their children. Teacher quality tends to vary more within schools — even supposedly good schools.

But we have never identified excellent teachers in any reliable, objective way. Instead, we tend to ascribe their gifts to some mystical quality that we can recognize and revere — but not replicate. The great teacher serves as a hero but never, ironically, as a lesson.

States must take a series of steps that are considered radical in the see-no-evil world of education, where teachers’ unions have long fought efforts to measure teacher performance based on student test scores and link the data to teacher pay. States must try to identify great teachers, figure out how they got that way, and then create more of them.
Bob Moore, East End