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LETTERS: Education nominee Betsy DeVos champions parental control; Colorado Springs trail in noticeable decline

By: Gazette readers
February 7, 2017 Updated: February 7, 2017 at 6:36 am
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President Donald Trump's nominee for secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, appears before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Jan. 17. MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Melina Mara.

Recent letters to the editor from Gazette readers:

DeVos champions parental control

Betsy DeVos, who has been nominated as the next secretary of education, represents a threat to special interests and other bureaucrats in Washington. Because she has pledged to shake up the establishment, these groups have targeted her with public smear campaigns. Randi Weingarten, for example, president of the largest teacher's union in the country, called DeVos "reckless" and a "threat to public schools."

It's impossible to reconcile such accusations with DeVos' record as a champion of parental control, better school choice, and greater accountability. As head of the American Federation for Children, she has fought to empower families to make the best decisions for their children - especially those from disadvantaged and at-risk backgrounds. She believes every child deserves access to a first-rate education.

In fact, DeVos' position would appear to align closely with Senator Michael Bennet's, who recently said that "all kids should have access to a high-quality education no matter where they live." That is exactly the belief that will guide DeVos' leadership at the head of our nation's education system. In that light, I urge Sen. Bennet to support Betsy DeVos' nomination as our next secretary of education.

William Moloney

Denver

    

Too much challenge in kindergarten?

This subject sounds strange, if you believe that kindergarten is what it always has been - an introduction to formal schooling for 5-year-olds. However, kindergarten has changed, as parents of young children have discovered. It no longer presents opportunities for growth at an age-appropriate level. It demands that young children be ready to listen attentively, follow group instructions, know letters and sounds for reading instruction, understand how to use a computer, and be ready to take paper and pencil and computerized tests when they walk through the door that fall. A few children are ready for this more academic approach at the age of five, but most are not developmentally mature enough to handle it well, even though they may be very bright.

Imagine my surprise when, as a retired teacher having taught these grades, I walked into a kindergarten class to volunteer several years ago and witnessed the teacher trying to teach skills that children used to learn in first grade, as per Common Core requirements. Many had not been to preschool and had just turned five. Before the middle of the year, they were feeling frustrated, and it was not uncommon to see a child crying because he could not do the work or to hear a child say that he did not want to come to school anymore.

It is a very good thing to fund full-day kindergarten. Otherwise, children are even "further behind." More importantly, it is crucial that the curriculum be age-appropriate and developmentally sound. No formal testing should take place until at least 2nd semester. Otherwise, it's better to enroll children in preschool until the age of six, when they are more ready to handle the "rigors" of kindergarten.

Sandra L. Wickham

Woodland Park

   

How many citizens will it take?

I recommend a reading/rereading of an old Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale that is a fitting commentary on our current state of affairs. The title is, The Emperor's New Clothes. How many citizens will it take to adopt the role of the young boy in the crowd who was willing to shout out the obvious?

We all need to take to heart the cautionary words at the end of the tale: Beware of clever weavers.

Gwen Koehler

Colorado Springs

  

Knowing when to merge

Please inform those who are traveling on Woodmen Road between Lexington and Union that the Colorado Department of Transportation recommends, when two lanes are shut down to one, that all drivers continue in both lanes to the merge point, and then merge and allow others to merge. This greatly increases traffic flow. It applies on the highways and city streets.

I hope the citizen "enforcer" in the shiny new red Tesla reads this; he (or she) inconvenienced hundreds of people through his (or her) ignorance. Maybe the construction crews could emulate the CDOT folks with signs saying: "Use both lanes to merge point."

Bill Cory

Colorado Springs

   

What a noticeable decline

Wow! That seems the appropriate way to start this because, wow, was I shocked at the condition of the Greenway Trail from Highway 85 north to about Nevada Ave. the other day. I haven't ridden my bike on that part of the trail since maybe last fall and I could not believe its current condition. What a noticeable decline in appearance in only three or so months!

Before my ride the other day, I was only upset and concerned about the damage the trail underwent over two years ago from heavy rains, that have never been fixed. So since no one from the city or parks division ever goes down there, I'm sure you didn't know there are at least 50 homeless campers on this part of the trail now too. And the trash is completely unacceptable.

I feel for the homeless, but why is it they are allowed to live right on the trail and use the creek as their bathroom? That is so unsanitary and quite frankly, disgusting! America the Beautiful Park seems "cleaned up," so I guess they were driven out of there to another piece of the trail no one cares about? Well I care about the trail and suppose I have to say, "not in my backyard either!"

I'm someone who has brought sandwiches to these folks who live outdoors and always walk with a trash bag so I can pick up what I find on the ground. But right now I'm just ashamed and disappointed in the leadership in this town that allow this to happen.

Theresa Schutts

Colorado Springs

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