Charter schools need guidance, feedback
Re: the Feb. 8 article "Charter with tie to UA to close."
I was surprised to see the article regarding the closing of the Wildcat Charter School, especially considering that it exists in partnership with the University of Arizona.
With access to the human capital resources of the College of Education, it seems almost unthinkable that such a school could fail. To not have an explanation is inexcusable.
Why were steps not taken to turn things around last year when the school received its first D rating? Unfortunately, there is very little oversight of charter schools in Arizona.
As a former consultant for application and renewal reviews of charter schools in New York and Massachusetts, I would love to see similar processes put in place here that give charter schools the initial guidance and systematic feedback that might prevent future families from scrambling to find what all children deserve: a quality education.
Beth H. Scott
Educational consultant, Tucson
Brewer keeps beating border-crossing drum
Re: the Feb. 13 article "Governor tours border, invites Obama to visit, see problems."
Gov. Jan Brewer once again makes the Arizona border with Mexico a divisive issue and beats the same drum over and over again.
She acknowledges that illegal border crossings are "dwindling." Apparently in the future she sees an increase in border crossings and therefore must continue to be ever-vigilant, just in case her famous issue fails to be important.
By all means she must extend an invitation to President Obama to tour the border. The governor was so gracious and represented the citizens of Arizona with such respect and grace that I am sure he would return.
Geneva K. Ulm
Letter writer showed homophobic bias
Re: the Feb. 10 letter to the editor "Gay Scoutmasters shouldn't be an option."
The letter writer opined that there is no place in the Boy Scouting program for gay Scoutmasters in order to "save the program and protect the boys."
The writer omitted in his diatribe exactly what in the program requires saving or what protections are needed for the boys.
On the surface, he is clearly revealing his homophobic bias, suggesting that gay Scoutmasters have no ability to mentor or provide wholesome leadership to young men. Heterosexuals do not have a monopoly here.
Might I remind the letter writer of the recent disclosure by the BSA of thousands of documented cases of molestation of Scouts over the past 10 years, most of which were perpetrated by straight men.
Science doesn't find truth, only conclusions
Re: Feb. 11 guest column "Bill would encourage critical thinking."
The writer supports SB 1213 and attempts to debunk the "standard tired reasons" why some people believe religion should be kept out of the science classroom. He sets up a false dichotomy between improbable naturalistic causes of the origins of the universe and "in the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth."
But science - yes, the very nature of science - relies solely on observation/experiment and testable hypotheses. There is no "truth" in science, only ever more refined tentative conclusions.
But the writer wants "our young minds" to know the truth. They can find truth (indeed multiple "truths") in a class on religion or philosophy, but not in a science class. I'm afraid the writer repeats the standard tired reasons for mixing science and religion.
John D. Heyl
Higher education consultant, Tucson
Writer doesn't know purpose of education
Re: the Feb. 11 guest column "Bill would encourage critical thinking."
The writer shows clearly he does not understand the purpose of education. The school systems' job ( and all parents') is to inform and hopefully encourage exploration of all aspects of knowledge.
How can one simply conclude that something is hard to understand, or, not fully explained, so we have to resort to a magical story?
There's a lot of science going on in the world, things that are way beyond my understanding, but I am confident that scholars and scientists and researchers will continue to explore, continue to come up with more questions, leading to more information and more questions. That is the nature of accumulating more knowledge.
How disturbing it is to have someone who is part of a school board encourage shrugging and attributing anything you don't understand to an imaginary event. Neat, clean, simple. And that will describe the students you produce.
Retired psychiatric RN, Tucson
Misuse of 'less' makes language lovers squirm
Years ago I decided to quit laboring over commercials, advertisements and those who use "less" and "fewer" as if they were interchangeable. "Now with less calories ..." and all the things that make language lovers squirm.
Let's keep them on their toes, no matter how pedantic we seem.
Judith Oien Hancock
Why do we need a "Black History Month"? Why not celebrate those people as "Great Americans"? Think of the outrage that would happen if we had a "White History Month."