My name is Sherrie Stradley, and I'm with Parents for Math Matters. I have a few points to make in regards to Gov. Gregoire's request of $197 million for math and science.
First of all, she speaks of "world-class" standards, but gives us no definition of what that might mean. She also talks of "master teachers," but again, gives no criteria as to what that means. Who would determine those standards? Herself? Terry Bergeson?
Second, Terry Bergeson is a strong proponent of reform math, which is what has gotten us into this mess in the first place. All the money in the world could never turn bad math programs into good math. Do we really want this curriculum state-mandated? Her request completely ignores the fact that the WASL is riddled with problems -- from mistakes in questions to mistakes in scoring -- and costs more than $70 per student. The ITBS, which was used to test students up until a few years ago, doesn't have the rate of mistakes the WASL does, and costs $3 per student.
Lastly, hinting that low scores are the fault of teachers is just plain wrong. Gregoire and Bergeson are forcing our state's teachers to plant corn seed and expecting them to reap gold.
Throw the Bums Out
I found Robert Herold's commentary ("Frontline Fallout," 11/23/06) hitting the proverbial nail on the head again in his evaluation of the Frontline story [on the] Jim West coverage by the Spokesman-Review. I believe the Spokesman-Review's management went for the sensational and salacious in their coverage in order to sell their newspapers. One can only surmise the tactics they will stoop to next time. I believe reasonable minds would agree that Stacey Cowles should have taken a step back before approving his staff to move forward with the tactics, and the subsequent articles after the professional criticism his newspaper received regarding the coverage of the River Park Square fiasco. I assume Steve Smith can claim that the coverage of River Park Square was not on his watch. It was interesting to see how quick Chris Peck bailed ship when the heat got too hot in the kitchen. I believe the citizens of greater Spokane need to kick Stacey Cowles and his editorial staff of the Spokesman-Review off Spokane's cheerleading squad.
Donald H. Skaufel
Thanks for Thanks
Michael Bowen's Last Word in the "'Tis The Season" issue (11/23/06) was a great stop-and-smell-the-roses piece. The incident with the "Tom Tresh" [glove] may date Mr. Bowen and some others of us, but almost everyone could find some items among the author's thankful list that gave them pause and a moment to feel some gratitude during the season. This old world ain't so bad. Thanks for the pause.
Darin Z. Krogh
Taking One for the Country
The Democrats will take control of Congress in January 2007. So how did the Republican leadership respond to their coming loss of control after the November election? With maturity, dignity, and respect? No. "We're taking our ball and going home," they figuratively responded. During the campaign, Republicans objected to the Democratic label of "do-nothing Congress." Meeting for only one week in November and planning only one week in December, this 109th Congress has convened the least amount of time of any Congress in 50 years.
Since the election, the GOP leadership decided they would not finish work on the federal budget. There are variously 11 to 13 separate budget bills that fund the federal government. They are supposed to be on the president's desk and signed before the Oct. 1 start of the new fiscal year. Since the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress, they have never -- repeat NEVER -- completed the budget process before the Oct. 1 deadline. Now the GOP has said they won't even bother trying to finish the eight undone bills. They just pass a resolution to continue funding with last year's number. They don't care if school enrollments have changed, or whether there are more wounded veterans to treat, or if inflation is up or down. Even more cynically, while supposedly doing "the people's" business, some Republicans have actually said that they are leaving the budget undone in order to gum up and obstruct the Democrats as they do the people's business starting in January.
Are these the great things that Rep. Cathy McMorris promised Eastern Washington in her recent ad thanking voters for returning her to Congress? This Republican tantrum does not bode well for McMorris's ability (desire?) to work with the new Democratic majority. Remember, McMorris claims to be part of House GOP leadership. Is she urging her fellow Republicans to do the job they are paid to do?
Best Is Yet To Come
Nice piece in The Inlander this week ("Rising from the Davenport," 11/30/06). I think Spokane is going through a long-awaited generational shift from a majority that neither felt it was worthy of, nor could afford, nice things, to a majority that feels it can not only afford a little luxury but deserves some -- typical of the boomer generation. The resulting urban landscape is, of course, self-sustaining. River Park Square and the Davenport were the initial catalysts.
Our new downtown is attracting more people which, in turn, allows for the continued development of downtown. With the new Fox Theater, Kendall Yards, the University District and projects yet to be announced, I think it can be said that downtown Spokane's greatest days lie ahead.
The Davenport Hotel
Peace on Earth -- Really!
Your Gift Guide (12/7/06) was a hoot. Thanks for an amusing shopping experience. However you missed a gift that is 1) new for the first time this year, 2) something almost everyone wants and 3) perfect for those who already have "everything." That is the gift of world peace. Didn't know you could buy world peace? Well now you can.
Turns out that life manifests in layers. Just as that newspaper you are reading is made of paper, it is also made of atoms and molecules, quarks and subatomic particles. What constitutes that "paper" just depends on how you are looking at it. The same is true for personal awareness. There are thoughts and perceptions in our awareness, but thought has a more subtle, more powerful influence from deeper levels of consciousness. Explore that consciousness and the thoughts and perceptions you have will become more orderly and powerful.
Not only that, but with only a fraction of a population plumbing the depths of consciousness in a group, the whole dynamic of thought in that population becomes more orderly, more peaceful. That group is now being formed for the U.S. and the magic number is 1733 (the square root of the country's population). The base of this group (1,000) has existed for years in Fairfield, Iowa.
Now Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is sending another 1,000 consisting of Vedic Pandits from India to give the U.S. group the numbers it needs to create a peaceful national consciousness right now. These 1,000 young Indian men need housing muy pronto if this endeavor is to succeed. Want to finance world peace? Donate to Vedic Pandits for America online at:
Or, if you are more of a do-it-yourself person, check out tm.org. There you will discover how to learn to explore the depths of your own consciousness and -- if you are so inclined -- become part of this peace generating group. Happy Holidays!