Questions for secretary of education
Thank you for your coverage on the visit of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
Yet so many questions were not addressed. Not having attended a public school, it is no wonder she doesn’t seem to understand the cultural value of having to relate to others their own age but who have different ways of being, thinking and behaving. Socio-cultural exchange and interaction is necessary if strong social relations with neighbors and workmates are sought.
When one is making new friends who have different ways of thinking, believing, speaking and being, early learning is useful. Mutual growth is a desired outcome from such schooling for long-term societal growth, economic advancement and community stability.
She might have been asked to share what she knew about life and controls in the deep dark ages where neighbors were executed merely because of different beliefs. Think about what happened to poor Galileo who had to lie to save his life.
She also could have been asked about their primary learning process: deductive, even when its opposite — inductive processes — has produced most of the intellectual and cultural progress in the last four or more centuries!
Nor was DeVos asked which of the Latin American or South American countries she would like us to live in, or create here for our children? These are countries whose peoples are schooled with deductive “learning” processes.
In so many ways, the secretary was not pressed to explain the long-term consequences of miseducating children in systems that neglect known ways of learning in favor of disciplines of mere conformation. Parents be careful. Your grandchildren’s well-being might be at stake.
Dean E. Tollefson
Move PFAS legislation forward
Throughout the country, people have been asking for help from the federal government in expunging and halting PFAS chemical contamination in our water. However, we need strong legislation to go to the president’s desk to become law before the August recess, and legislation is moving too slow for this to happen.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances are a group of man-made chemicals found in firefighting foam, nonstick cookware, stain-resistant carpets, and food packaging.
Due to the use of firefighting foam, families and communities in and around military bases are disproportionately affected — such as Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, being extremely contaminated beyond the safe limit. Exposure to PFAS could result in a host of health risks, including various cancers and reproductive and immune system problems.
Despite all of this, PFAS are virtually unregulated, and the Environmental Protection Agency has not set enforceable and binding drinking water regulations for PFAS.
The EPA, nevertheless, has not adequately acted to protect us from these chemicals. Furthermore, a few Trump administration officials have tried to block federal government studies, rather showing PFAS chemicals as toxic to people at much lower levels than previously thought.
I wish for legislation to continue to move legislation forward, talk with their colleagues in the House and Senate in encouragement to support legislation, and bring home unfeigned solutions on PFAS for their constituents. I hope the information I shared could become knowledge and urgency for others as well.
Already living in a social democracy
Most people don’t really have a clear understanding of what socialism is. There is democratic socialism and there is social democracy. Bernie Sanders and several other Democratic politicians are democratic socialists; they believe in a complete change in how wealth is distributed in our country with collective ownership of production rather than big business ownership.
A social democracy, on the other hand, believes in capitalism augmented by certain social programs. That is really what we have now. No one would deny that Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid are socialist programs. But please realize that public schools, police forces, fire departments, public libraries, and unions are also socialist in nature. As would be Medicare for all or some form of universal health care.
Socialism provides services for all members of a unit: a city or county or state or country or other entity. This is accomplished by the members of the unit financing these services through taxes or dues. So for anyone to say that socialism is going to destroy our way of life, just shows how little that person understands our way of life. We are living in a world of social democracy, and I think we should realize that.
And now for the rest of the story
Dennis Mercadal’s letter (July 16) complaining about the women’s soccer team’s foul mouths tells only half of the story. Yes, an expletive was used in an interview when a player was asked about her personal feeling concerning an invitation to the White House. Yes, there is video of the team members using expletives during the New York parade and at a poolside celebration. And yes, that is worthy of a complaint in my eyes as well. But it should be noted that in all of these cases the players were speaking for themselves and not representing the entire team or the entire country.
And now for the rest of the story. Where is Mercadal’s complaint about President Donald Trump’s frequent use of expletives when speaking publicly while representing all of us as president?
There are at least half a dozen videos of Trump using the F-word, and President Trump has called Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and NFL players S.O.B.s. Additionally, the president is cheered at his rallies when using numerous four-letter words.
I am against anyone using expletives in public much less using them on national TV. Calling out only congressional Democrats for inviting a World Cup winning team (or in Mercadal’s words a sewer-mouthed trash team) to visit Congress while ignoring the sewer mouth of our president doesn’t tell the whole story.