Tests leave little time for instruction

Test, test, test! No wonder the students get anxious and frustrated, and the teachers burn out. What good does it do, anyway, when the testing results/terminology reveal a rigged system? The term “proficient” simply means that a student can test at an “A” level. What does that prove? It proves that the newly adopted ESSA guidelines in our state and others is a set-up for students who do not perform at the highest levels in all subject areas. It is why you see teachers leaving the profession and some schools closing.

ESSA stands for “Every Student Succeeds Act.” What a joke! The fact of the matter is it doesn’t matter how motivating the teacher, how fantastic the program, or how much effort is applied. The results will continue to show limited progress because of the tests/terminology being used. Why is the U.S. Secretary of Education not an educator? Why do the state education boards and committees rarely include teachers? Why are we allowing legislators and politicians to call all the shots when it comes to schooling for our children? The last 20 years have been a fiasco, and charter schools were created to enhance public education — not replace it. It’s not fair that they often use different standards and tests.

The state standards need to be practical and attainable. The teachers need to be able to use their education and their skills in the way they know best — not with their hands tied! Most of them really care about children and are excellent teachers. Why must they be required to prepare for and give ongoing tests, leaving little time for true instruction? They need all the quality time they can get to help get your child ready for life. Parents, you have more power than you think. Don’t accept the status quo; we need your help in getting public education on the right track again.

Sandra Wickham

Woodland Park

‘A company of newsboys’

Let’s hear it for those men and women who deliver the Gazette!

After The Gazette emailed about delays, snow buried papers, and papers not in their usual delivery place, our newsman in Peregrine drove into our drive, got out of his car and placed our paper on the porch in its usual place after wading through the deep snow. He was just slightly off his usual delivery time.

He reminded me of when I was a boy. I delivered papers for a number of years on my bike. When the snow was too deep I would walk my route and put the papers on the porches. One time as I was putting the paper on a porch the lady walked out on the porch and said “What on earth are you doing out here? The radio announced that the papers wouldn’t be delivered today because of the snow. You come on in here, sit by the fire and get warm while I make you some hot chocolate.” After I left there I was more determined than ever to make certain that the rest of my people would get their papers. I finished and my dad picked me up in the car at our prearranged meeting place.

I think it was Gen. Eisenhower who said during WWII, “Give me a company of newsboys.” Now let’s see if the mail can get through today.

Vern Swim

Colorado Springs

Reign in the growth of STRs

Colorado Springs City Council has on its agenda to revisit the rules that allow Short Term Rentals (STRs) throughout Colorado Springs. This comes at a time when Council is also struggling to address a shortage of about 25000 housing units in the city.

STRs likely have a significant impact on available housing, and should therefore be considered in the context of our housing shortage.

Every housing unit that is used as an STR is a housing unit that is not available to house full time Colorado Springs residents.

Based on an Oct. 29, 2018 article in the Cheyenne Edition, there are currently an estimated 1,400 to 2,000 STR properties in Colorado Springs. An implication of that fact is that there are 1,400 to 2,000 fewer housing units available to residents because of STRs. Given that the estimated housing shortage is about 25,000 units, somewhere between 5.6% and 8.0% of the shortage can be attributed to STRs.

The growth of STRs across the country has been explosive. The Neighborhood Preservation Alliance of Colorado Springs projects that there will be over 11,000 STRs in Colorado Springs within five years. If that happens, roughly 10,000 additional housing units will be taken off line for full time use by residents, and we can expect our housing shortage to jump by another roughly 10,000 units to 35,000.

STRs are not necessary to vibrant tourism in Colorado Springs, as argued by some; hotels do a fine job of providing accommodations for tourists, and have the capacity and motivation to do so. Furthermore, as frequently pointed out, STRs are businesses, and as such do not belong in residential areas.

I strongly urge Council to reign in the growth of STRs in Colorado Springs. Do not ignore the negative impact of STRs on our housing supply.

Charles Rollman

Colorado Springs

Our current voting method

The Aurora mayoral race was finally decided more than a week after the election, and its results raise some important questions about the way we run elections.

Mike Coffman won with 35.7% of the vote to Omar Montgomery’s 35.4%. But 28.6% of the vote was divided among three other candidates and a write-in. Did these candidates “spoil” the election for Montgomery or nearly “spoil” it for Coffman?

Our current system requires voters to cast their single precious vote for only one candidate. But what if you liked both Coffman and Frazier, or Montgomery, Peterson, and Berzins, or would accept anyone but “fill in the blank”? How do you give visibility to minor candidates and at the same time minimize their adverse impact? Conversely, how do you make peace within major factions, yet ensure they are not spoilers sabotaging their common goal? Our current voting method — one person one vote — polarizes between political parties and within the parties. This divisiveness can be rectified with a different voting method — Approval Voting — which can be used on current voting election machines with minor changes.

Approval Voting works like a “show of hands.” Vote for all the candidates you like, and the candidate with most votes wins. For major candidates, there will be fewer spoilers and for the minor candidates, there will be true support not suppressed by the “wasted vote” stigma attributed to sabotaging opponents.

Frank Atwood



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