June 11, 2013 Updated: June 11, 2013 at 7:50 am
We didn't even have a vote
As a retired educator with two grandchildren in the public school system, I am deeply concerned about the Common Core educational standards which have been adopted in Colorado. According to the letter I received from U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, they will be fully implemented this coming school year in all public schools and in many charter and private schools across our state.
It sounds good on the surface - to have a national set of goals and expectations, establishing language arts and math requirements, which would not differ from state to state. It seems to make sense to have everyone on the same page.
However, I was not consulted - and neither were you - in the acceptance of this major change in education for our country. If you haven't heard of Common Core, don't feel bad; most of us don't know that much about it. It is my understanding that only five votes brought this mandate to our state. Our governor was one of 45 out of 50 governors who voted to accept Common Core, in part because the vote was tied to Race to the Top funds, as well as waivers from the unsuccessful No Child Left Behind legislation. Then in 2010, the Colorado State Board of Education voted 4-3 to accept the standards in our state.
Parents and educators should have more control over the education of our children, but as it stands now, we didn't even have a vote. Who wrote the standards, and who will be developing the tests to reflect the standards, and who will be writing the content that the teachers will teach? I encourage you to do your own investigation.
If Michelle Malkin's column scared you about the invasive and unauthorized iris scans of students in Florida, consider this. The state of Colorado is one of nine states which has committed to pilot testing, sending students' personal information to a national database. It's called "data mining," and believe me, it's not just test scores that will be shared.
Parents, empower yourselves. You have the right to get the form to opt your student out of the testing. Do your research, write letters, and be aware that several states are defunding Common Core.
Sandi Wickham, Woodland Park
Maybe your rights are being trampled
I am writing this the day the Recall Morse folks turned in their signed petitions. On Memorial Day, I was at the Territory Days in Old Colorado City, where I saw a number of them with their signs, looking for signatures - a lot of trouble to recall John Morse, the best Colorado State senator that has come out of El Paso County in 150 years.
I have heard all kinds of talk that the recent gun related legislation is taking away "my constitutional God-given right" to bear arms under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. If your Second Amendment constitutional right is to sell an AR-15 assault rifle with a bump stock, a 7 power scope and ten 30 round magazines filled with hollow point bullets to a restraining-ordered, wife assaulting convicted felon, out of the trunk of your car, then maybe your rights are being trampled.
The Second Amendment is the only amendment to have a stated purpose. "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." A well regulated militia is today, the state National Guard. You have a duty to join it, if you are able-bodied. "[B]eing necessary to the security of a free state" means the country, not individual states, to be defended from foreign invasion. "[T]he right of the people to keep and bear arms" means you can possess a musket, sword, bayonet (optional if mounted on the musket), knife, shot and powder. "[S]hall not be infringed." That is the strict interpretation of the amendment. You know, the kind many on the U.S. Supreme Court hold.
There have been several reasonable restrictions on the rights under this amendment. You can't own an automatic weapon or machine gun without a permit. There are several others and the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed with them. The limit to the capacity of a magazine and a background check is not an infringement of your rights.
David Justice, Colorado Springs
There are rules for a reason
Recently, my husband and I decided to hike the loop trail on Spruce Mountain in Douglas County. It was to be a nice hike on a nice morning. We also decided to take our dog, knowing that the trails there have a leash rule. As we got about 1/2 mile up the trail, we were accosted by a big yellow Lab, who was running loose through the woods. Because our dog was an abused rescue who was never socialized properly, and growls, we pulled him in close and tried to chase the Lab away. Up the trail someone apparently heard us and called the dog.
A little later, we were again accosted, this time by two Labs. A woman followed them, wearing the leashes around her neck. I reminded her that dogs on this trail were to be on those leashes. Only after some difficulty, she managed to get her dogs away from ours, but one ran back up the trail and we had to chase it off. The dogs meant no harm, but were completely uncontrolled. I yelled down the trail for her to leash her dogs and I was met with expletives. So much for a nice hike. There are rules for a reason, and baggies at the trailhead to keep the trail clean (which this woman apparently ignored as well).
I will have to gratefully say that every other dog we met that day was on a leash and our hike was otherwise pleasant. Having grown up here in Colorado and having hiked all over the mountains, I become dismayed that more and more people determine that "rules of the trail don't apply to them. I see loose dogs, their "gifts" all over the trails, and owners who do not care. I see trash, which I will pick up. I see dogs swimming right in front of "no swimming" signs at reservoirs. I see fires where they shouldn't be. I see a general lack of caring for this beautiful land in which we live. It's bad enough that we have to be reminded by trail rules. It's even worse that some folks just don't think they should have to follow them.
For the woman we saw on our hike that day, I say, "Shame on you".
Deborah Kenny, Colorado Springs