Keep the joy in learning alive for everyone

Re: the Feb. 20 guest opinion "The trend in education is away from standardized, high-stakes tests."

Thanks so much for printing Robin Hiller's special commentary. Clearly educational excellence is the goal we all have. It's a really complex matter to achieve. However, after more than 15 years of high-stakes testing it has to be clear that putting students and teachers beneath the wheel isn't working.

Time to end the fear in education. It has been an oppressive period where good educators have not felt accepted to speak up.

Let's stop trying to blame and scapegoat and start looking for something else that accomplishes educational quality.

Let's open the discussion for alternatives to the testing process that hasn't worked.

If I can offer only one concept on this issue it's that we must "Keep the joy in learning alive for our children, their parents and the teachers."

That's the motivation necessary to learn. There must be joy.

I hope more people can feel free to talk about this subject. It's long overdue.

Charlie Steffens

Educational consultant, Tucson

Gun violence not a school problem

Re: the Feb. 20 editorial "Arming teachers, principals won't make schools safer."

Thanks for the editorial. But it made me think back to my former life as a consultant.

Back then we taught people that the first step in solving a problem is defining it.

It appears that the killing of so many children with firearms is being defined as a school problem. Therefore, we must make schools safer.

But let's not forget that most children who are killed by firearms are not in school when shot. Only about 3 percent of children are killed in school. Rather, they die of gunshots in their home, a friend's home, on the street, even in front of a grocery store.

If the school is not the problem, what is the problem ... and solution?

Deane Trumble

Retired, Tucson

American people deserve the truth

When our consulate in Benghazi asked again and again for more protection, who gave the order to ignore it?

England closed its consulate and the Red Cross left, too. Who gave the order to disregard their actions?

Who threw Susan Rice under the bus with her five network appearances to blame a video for "spontaneous attacks"?

The situation room knew in real time that with sophisticated weapons the attack was well-organized and -executed.

During recent testimony it was stated that we had troops over 1,000 miles away, but we all know one can fly to Chicago (1,000 miles from New York) in less than two hours. The attack lasted seven hours plus.

The president must give the order: Where was he?

He ignored the travesty during the campaign and hoped it would fade away afterwards.

The Watergate scandal, a third-rate burglary, resulted in President Nixon's resignation.

Benghazi ended with four dead American heroes. The American people and the relatives of the dead deserve the truth.

Monty Woolson Jr.

Retired, Tucson

Recognizing danger no simple matter

Re: the Feb. 21 article "Teachers, clinics are asked to spot next Loughner."

The Star's front page featured the vote of a House panel to require teachers and clinics to "spot the next Loughner" before he kills.

Police cadets would get additional training to identify potentially dangerous people.

If only it were as easy as our state legislators believe to foresee or stop killings.

The New York Times the same day included this message that Susan Klebold wrote about her son, Dylan, one of the Columbine killers:

"I think I believed that if I loved someone as deeply as I loved him, I would know if he were in trouble. My maternal instincts would keep him safe. But I didn't know, and my instincts weren't enough." 

Meanwhile, House Republicans prefer to let anyone carry guns into any building, refuse to extend background checks to all sales or to limit the size of ammunition clips.

Joan Weimer

Retired university professor, Tucson

Bill mandating reports looks like witch hunt

Re: the Feb. 21 article "Teachers, clinics are asked to spot next Loughner."

First reaction - good idea!

On second thought - the idea has all the makings of a 21st century witch hunt.

Am I the only one who thinks this way?

David M. Williams

This intelligence center - what will it cost?

Re: the Feb. 21 article "Center is in the works for border intelligence."

Phoenix lawmakers announced they are ready to create a border intelligence center to coordinate state and federal law enforcement agencies working along our border with Mexico to curb illegal immigration.

What are they thinking?

We already have an "intelligence overload" with 16 government intelligence-collecting departments, all with many overlapping services, who invariably work alone, with mind-boggling payrolls.

What's the capital cost estimate to create the center, where will it be located, what are the annual operating costs and where's the money coming from?

The public needs to know.

Nunzio Addabbo

Retired, Tucson