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February 5, 2014

Inbox — Feb. 5, 2014

Letters to the Editor

Visible Leap
Regarding the new column in LEO Weekly, In Visible Ink: Jaison Gardner is out and proud! This is a great column to be added to your weekly run. Surely his words inspired and encouraged many to take the leap to freedom. Please seriously consider this outstanding work to be a regular feature. Thanks.
Dorene Stein, East End

Phone Home
Reading a recent column in LEO (Jim Welp’s Summary of My Discontent, Jan. 15) on experimenting with how long he could go without making a phone call prompted me to write this. Understood that the landline telephone is becoming a thing of the past. Ah! But verbal communication cannot be replaced by texting, email and all other sorts of digital communication. How I enjoy the sound of my mother’s voice over the telephone. If the only way I had to communicate with those I love was by short type-written messages, my life would be unfulfilled and, needless to say, dull. We need to encourage the ability to communicate verbally — sometimes difficult and other times so rewarding! Let’s hear it for conversation!
Linda Fitts, Highlands

Testy Assessment
Columnist Erica Rucker (Fun with Shrapnel, Jan. 22, LEO) brings an interesting standpoint of the American educational system and standardized testing in particular. She’s maybe too close to the forest to see the trees and has lost all objectivity. Standardized testing is necessary.

No two pupils are alike. Each will test differently on the same subject matter given the same teacher and text. The instruction is equal for both. It is up to the student to choose to learn.

The point of standardized testing is to assess the student’s knowledge of the subject matter, course work and grasp of content. These tests aren’t given to assess family values and ethnicity of any race or creed. Nor are they given to advance any socio-economic group over another. These types of tests have been “dumbed down” to the lowest common denominator since before Affirmative Action to ensure the slowest achieve. Naturally, the best prepared rise like cream to the top. It’s natural selection. Darwinism. The reverse of “No Child Left Behind.” There will always be those at the bottom.

The biggest challenge to the American educational system is the use of language. The use of speech. Is there a reason the 14 percent can’t speak like Neil deGrasse Tyson? No there is not. Is there a reason the vast majority of this minority mispronounces pronouns, adverbs and adjectives? People judge you on how you speak. Corporate America spends millions each year on remedial programs to teach minorities to speak the King’s English.

No matter who you are, if you pulled yourself out of your situation and bettered yourself, you have experienced your own personal Darwinism. Race had nothing to do with it. Remember, poor is poor whatever classroom you’re in.
Rich Givan, Crescent Hill

Bad Aim
WAVE-TV’s Eric Flack calls himself the “Troubleshooter” and tries to get the public riled up about mostly insignificant issues in the community. Last month’s segment was about how JCPS spends too much money sending their teachers on trips for professional development. He mentioned Las Vegas about 10 times, but I’ve been on a couple of professional development trips myself, never to Vegas. He just wants his viewers to envision all these highly paid teachers boozing it up on taxpayers’ money. Would you question your doctor going to a national convention to learn the newest medical techniques? Why shouldn’t we want the same for the professionals educating our children?
Lori E., JCPS teacher, Louisville

No Problem
Republicans are good at playing loose with the facts. In his 1981 speech to the NAACP, President Ronald Reagan said that federal social programs of the ’60s and ’70s failed. The next year, Reagan called Great Society programs for blacks “tragic.” On both counts, he spoke untruths. The social programs did much good for African-Americans and others living in poverty. Today, as it was during Reagan’s presidency, this is the Republican Party’s pathetic answer to race, poverty and income inequality in America: NO PROBLEM!
Paul L. Whiteley Sr., St. Matthews