Education

It’s just common sense

You bring your car into a shop. It’s running amazingly but needs an oil change. What if the shop said, “Today, we’re evaluating all cars by a 130-point inspection process, no matter how well it runs.” I’d take my car elsewhere. But of course they don’t do that because it’s bad business.

You go into the doctor’s office. You’re fit, you eat well, but you have the flu. Your doctor says, “Today, we’re evaluating everyone with an EKG and an MRI.” I’d leave on the spot. But of course your doctor doesn’t do that because she understands how evaluations work.

This all seems like common sense: evaluations should match what’s being evaluated. Everyone accepts it, right?

Wrong. Every year, all Colorado teachers get evaluated. It’s the law. If you’re an effective teacher rocking it in the classroom with your student growth scores, you get evaluated just like another teacher who is struggling to move students forward on exams. You don’t need the formal evaluation. The other teacher does. But according to Colorado law, you both get evaluated every year.

I have been teaching for 15 years: 10 in college, 5 in high school. I struggled at the start, but now I have my groove on. I love working on teaching skills and love evaluation interactions. But other teachers, like me when I was starting, need to be evaluated more than I do. It’s just common sense. So why doesn’t our education law reflect that? It’s time for a change.

Ivan Mayerhofer

Colorado Springs

Adults call that real life

The Masterpiece Cakeshop case is so frequently misrepresented that it might be futile to try to counter that, but I’ll try.

The Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s decision was specious: The baker did nothing to restrict rights. Indeed, the couple was offered any of the bakery’s ready-made goods. Thus, no law was violated.

The U.S. Supreme Court holding was based on freedom of religion, but the case also involves the rights of craftsmen and artists to express their values and visions. Thus it is a freedom of conscience and artistic freedom case. Imagine yourself an LGBT cake decorator, or photographer like me, and a neo-Nazi wants a cake or photo for a march, his constitutionally protected right. The Masterpiece decision protects us all.

The only person whose rights were violated and who was hurt in this case was Masterpiece’s owner. Denver has plenty of bakeries, and anyone can bake a cake. Why get one there to fly home for a celebration in Massachusetts? And why try to get similar cakes from him once his reputation is well-known?

Obvious implication: Masterpiece’s owner was the victim of people who could not tolerate that someone disagreed with them or disapproved of their behavior. Adults call that real life. Both sides are entitled to their opinions, values, and beliefs, and the freedom to exercise them — but only one side has tried to get the law to suppress such rights and to force the other side do what they want.

Eldon Dickens

Colorado Springs

Girls and boys wrestling

Should girls be able to compete against boys in wrestling? Not many know that a U.S. women’s world champion once defeated a U.S. men’s world champion, at the same weight class. However, it was when they were 8 years old. Young girls are equal, and often superior, to boys in coordination and strength until puberty is reached. When the male hormone testosterone kicks in, the big advantage goes to the males. Testosterone generates muscle mass and aggression/anger, which are great advantages in wrestling. A few more mature girls may be successful over lesser mature guys at the lighter weight classes in high school, but those will be rare exceptions.

If there is not a girls sports program available at their school, should girls be allowed to compete in boys sports? If the answer is yes, then boys should be allowed to compete in girls sports if there is not a male program in that sport. Many schools have women’s volleyball but not boys. If boys were allowed to compete, it would greatly reduce the number of girls who would make the team. Opportunity and fairness must work both ways.

The Air Force Academy was the first, and possibly the only, school that had wrestling as a mandatory class for women, and this was before women’s wrestling. I was an instructor for these classes. I also worked wrestling clinics/camps that pioneering girls attended. I did explain that some techniques/holds were more “comprising” than others. A “high crotch,” “crotch lift” and “half-nelson and crotch” were up close and personal but part of the training. After the initial novelty wore off and serious instruction and competition started, it was all serious wrestling — trying to defeat and not be defeated. No problems!

R. Wayne Baughman

Colorado Springs

Today we are at a crossroads

The topic of “what a customer is willing to pay for clean air” was brought up during public meeting by Rex Adams twice. Although an interesting topic, it should not be considered a reason to continue burning coal to generate power. It is a safety issue much the same as wearing a seat belt and using a car seats for kids.

You aren’t even offered an option on new cars. There was resistance at first, but today, people don’t let their loved ones ride without a seat belt or car seat.

Today we are at that same crossroads with fossil fuel power. There are the holdouts, but we should not be good with allowing our loved ones to breathe dirty air.

Jeff Rachwitz

Colorado Springs

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