The seedy side

"Command performance" (cover story, Feb. 19-25) is a revealing and important expos about Steve Schuck's voucher assault on public education. It shows that even children's education isn't safe from the seedy side of politics

Mr. Schuck (Willie Breazell, too) and I have corresponded about vouchers with little consequence, but I did appreciate his funding a voucher program for less-fortunate kids. From that though, Schuck went to his real goal of having taxpayers foot the bill for private education and no disagreeable school boards, obstinate legislators or disapproving voters best get in his way.

Schuck's and other voucher advocate's main battle cry is "school choice," which is tantalizing but bogus. Parents already have school choice -- public or private. However, they will find that unless their income or stature is similar to Mr. Schuck's, the private school makes the choice. And, if you have to push your child up to that private school's door in a wheelchair, of if you try to enroll your chronic, misbehaving kid, you'll likely see no admittance on the door. This accentuates the point: Private schools do not have to conform to the same rules that public schools do, but if it's taxpayer's money, shouldn't they?

There are a host of other reasons why vouchers are a bad idea, which is why voters have rejected them twice, but Mr. Schuck, in an in-your-face Republican attitude, disregarded their will in favor of his own. Sadly, in Republican Colorado, it's a fait accompli ...

-- Phil Kenny

Colorado Springs

Name change

After reading the article on Steve Schuck and his puppets on the D-11 school board, coupled with the hatchet job on Eric Christen, I looked at the cover again to see if you had changed your name to the Colorado Springs Enquirer. It's amazing how much antipathy your paper has toward school choice and those who support it.

Perhaps before your next article, you should talk to the parents of one of the 94.2 percent of black D-11 10th-graders who scored unsatisfactory on last year's math CSAPs. Ask them whether they want their child trapped in a school that is failing them or whether they'd like to have a choice of where to send them for a good education. Then, decide whether it's really such a great idea to protect the status quo.

-- Carla Albers

Colorado Springs

Welcome wagon

Thank you for last week's article about Eric Christen. After I lost my bid to be on the District 11 School Board I had written a letter to the Gazette about the new board members (it wasn't a very flattering letter) and how they were puppets for Steve Schuck. Shortly after, I received a call from Mr. Christen, who immediately attempted to belittle me and stated, "You don't have the temperament for politics." However, based on your article it seems that Mr. Christen not only has a temper, he's also a hypocrite.

When running for the state house in Oregon, Christen issued the following: "Unfortunately this sacred trust, this goal of a brighter future for all Oregonians has been broken; an educational system that often fails to teach our children even the basics. It is time for a CHANGE. "

It's time for a change all right -- when the voters of Oregon couldn't be fooled, he brought that change to Colorado Springs, when he conned the voters with special-interest money into voting for him.

This hired gun for special interest, who'll be living here long enough to help ruin our school system and our way of life by putting his ego before our children -- when he's gone and our schools are destroyed, who will we have to blame but ourselves?

-- Randy J. Rickards

Colorado Springs

Blame teachers' unions!

The editorial about Steve Shuck and the new school board is hogwash. I dare you to go to the schools that are not teaching children and talk to the parents that are unsatisfied. Everyone freaks out about the low CSAP scores, but what is really being done? The schools that have good leadership are busting their butts. The schools that have poor leadership are free to continue ruining children's lives and they blame it on poverty or the lack of care from the parents.

The bottom line is the teachers' union! They protect each other, condemn those non-caring, poor, dumb parents who do not go in the schools to volunteer, and they hide bad leaders behind ethnic percentages in order to keep the quota.

If you have a kid in school and you have not voiced your views, then you accept in silence someone else's. Has everyone lost their minds here, it is the children who need guidance. It is the adults who act juvenile.

This is really the teachers' union stamping their feet because they lost the control of the board. Having a temper tantrum doesn't benefit the children, it hurts the children, as the voters are given one-sided stories and then they don't support the 30,000 kids that need an education. We don't have to worry about the kids in failing schools getting wind of this; they can't read!

-- Pamela Staley

Colorado Springs

Editor's note: If you missed the first part of Terje Langeland's series on the shake-up of School District 11, you can read it online at

www.csindy.com . Part two of the series begins on page 13.

Teach a rock to swim

Last week's IQ [people on the street interviews, titled "Targeting teachers"] was quite a one-sided article. Why are teachers being targeted, or why are you labeling them as targets? What point are you trying to make to us? Is public education broken?

It wouldn't matter if you paid the 16-year teacher with a master's degree $100,000 a year. But I hope you do; my brother is one. If this state was second in funding and had only 15 students per class, would it change anything at all? I really don't think it would. Oh, you can throw a rock into the lake but you'll never teach it to swim will you? "You teachers suck, my little rock got an 'F' in swimming."

Why don't you do an article on "Targeting parents" tomorrow instead of pointing fingers at teachers?

Now I've got to get my lazy butt back on the couch and watch MTV while I kick the crap out of Zelda on my brand-new Play Station that my parents got me.

P.S. My English teacher sucked, didn't he?

-- Timothy Bainer

Via the Internet

Out for Merrifield

Thanks for last week's informative article about the way in which the local Republican delegation is sabotaging Merrifield's bills without careful consideration. It is tiresome to see them publicly acknowledge that they are "out to get Merrifield" by blocking his re-election. Those strategies can backfire when the voters feel they are being denied the opportunity to vote their preferences.

-- Jim Alice Scott

Colorado Springs

So much for democracy

They said he would never pass a bill this year, and they've kept their promise. So much for a free and democratic exchange of ideas. Colorado's GOP is determined to make House District 18 Rep. Michael Merrifield look ineffective, and they are unapologetic about killing every one of his bills. Never mind the fact that each bill was a darn good idea.

It just galls the Republicans to have a Democrat in El Paso County, and they apparently don't care how much egg they have on their GOP faces if they succeed in unseating Merrifield. In their orchestrated campaign, state Sen. Doug Lamborn bemoaned on Jan. 25 that "(Merrifield) is not doing a very good job." Yeah, right.

Merrifield is the only El Paso County legislator that is trying to represent us. If they do unseat him, we will lose the best friend we have in the Legislature.

-- Lois A. Fornander

Colorado Springs

It stings a little

This is in regards to your recent guest column "The funeral of reason" [Your Turn, Feb. 12-18, by Jeff Wright].

Thank you so much for printing what desperately needs to be put out there, namely some truth. It may sting a little, as does hydrogen peroxide on an open wound, but it is the path to healing.

Some of us have become outraged over some insignificant Super Bowl halftime show, yet oddly enough, seem eerily detached while viewing an exploding Iraqi tank. Slap some cold water on your face, America -- there were actual human beings inside there.

-- Joe Fromme

Colorado Springs

Easter Bunny lays an egg

Your on-the-street IQ intervals are a continuing source of amazement. Who would have guessed that Saddam's capture would emerge as the most important event of the past year?

One can only conclude that people are so desperate to believe in something that they'll snatch up any egg and swear it was a gift from the Easter Bunny, even thought the previous eggs (Jessica Lynch, WMDs) were frauds. For all we know back here, Saddam might have been captured secretly earlier this year and kept on ice until his discovery could be properly stage-managed at a time when the Emperor Bunny needed a boost in his ratings.

To my way of thinking, the most significant news item is that so many of our people have spent so many decades sucking down cooked-up information from TV and other media that the overall IQ of the nation is down to around minus 10.

But my big chance is coming up. For a cool $50 million I'll be a stand-in for bin Laden. Send the cameras and capture me at my stone roundhouse; it could almost pass for Pakistani rural-chic. Then 'copter me into the Springs 'cause I want to see for myself all those good-looking models who appear in the ads in the Independent.

I've tried to find them on my own but all I ever manage to see are the clerks at Home Depot and the filling stations, and I'd sure like to see some of those bunny eggs left by those advertising folks.

-- Slim Wolfe

Villa Grove

Time machine

Politicians always scare me -- including their perspective on spending my and others' tax money -- even if most are millionaires.

Think of a billion dollars -- then think a billion seconds ago it was 1959. A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive. A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.

But 2 billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes ago at the rate Washington spends it.

-- Bob Steiner



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