Standardized tests, potholes, cattle and water, and more 


Editor, 235 S. Nevada Ave., CS, CO 80903 • email: letters@csindy.com

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What tests don't tell us

Concerning standardized testing — the debate will go on, but like many debates the focus may be on the wrong questions ("This is not a test," cover story, May 6). As a 32-year career educator I have watched various testing methods come and go. Most were touted as the definitive answer to solving our educational "problems."

Testing is only as good as why and how it is used, and in balance with many other forms of assessment. The kind of high stakes testing that has been the recent trend creates fear and dread in students, teachers, parents and building administrators. It also fails to tell us how students are progressing in critical skills like creative thinking, problem solving, effective communication, personal responsibility and applying their knowledge to real-life situations. Tests don't tell us if our students are engaged, motivated, and developing the practices of life-long learning.

I support accountability for everyone in the realm of education! I am not opposed to testing when it is used as one of many measures and when it is used to foster growth and confidence rather than fear and insecurity. Not all students are good test takers, but all children have gifts and capabilities. Great teachers teach in ways that engage every one of their students, and great teachers are assessing student growth all the time and in multiple ways. The millions of dollars spent on testing has benefitted the publishers of those tests far more than our students!

How many of you credit your success in life to a standardized test?

— Molly Merry

1995 Colorado Teacher of the Year

Colorado Springs

Pothole proposal

City Council members: Use your own words, but do this.

1. Propose a pothole sales tax (not a fee, donation, contest entry, etc.) of, say, one-half percent.

2. It will last for, say, five years. It starts Jan. 1, 2016, and ends Dec. 31, 2020.

3. It will use existing (and new hires if needed) personnel, facilities and departments. There will be no new bureaucracy.

4. All money raised shall be used to fix potholes only. No exceptions. Any extra money will carry over and be used the following year to fix potholes.

5. Existing funding remains at the same level. This is not to replace funds, but to augment them.

Put a pothole tax which has a sunset date like this on the next ballot, and I am willing to bet the opposition leader a local cup of coffee that it will pass.

— Roger Weed

Colorado Springs

It's the pits

Since I volunteered at the Colorado Springs Visitors Bureau for 12 years, I am qualified to attest that this is an outstanding organization.

Every year they mailed out thousands of beautiful travel magazines touting the wonders of Colorado Springs and surroundings. The front office where visitors came for information was manned by volunteers with extensive training. In the winter months we toured or were invited to every motel, hotel, museum and attraction even as far away as Woodland Park, Cripple Creek, Cañon City and beyond, and were careful to give impartial information about them. Local people came to see what events were scheduled.

The professionals in the back were very experienced in all modes of tourism, with each one a specialist in certain groups or activities or in methods of attracting visitors with contacts all over who attended many conventions. And we all got along beautifully!

This is where I learned that car rental places required you to be 25, so when young people flew into our airport they had to hire a taxi to get downtown since there was no public transportation — very expensive. Also, I had stayed in youth hostels in California, Ohio and Canada where young, foreign visitors came with plenty of money to spend who did not want to waste money on lodging to spend a short night. But they did eat all their meals out at expensive restaurants. We don't have any hostels, nor does our YMCA have rooms to rent, as in other cities.

But let's get our potholes fixed first. I can't imagine that any tourist would want to waste time or money to have their car realigned, nor buy a new tire, because they fell into one of these humongous pits.

— Colleene Johnson

Colorado Springs

Plea from PETA

Water restrictions, dead crops, lost jobs — these could be in Colorado's future. The historic drought crippling California is creeping its way east, and parts of the Centennial State are already struggling.

To help avoid California's fate, Coloradans must face facts: Beef and dairy are sucking up water at an alarming rate.

From watering crops grown to feed cattle to providing animals with drinking water and more, the beef and dairy industries place a serious strain on Colorado's water supply. It can take up to 2,000 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef, and nearly 900 gallons to produce a single gallon of milk. (By contrast, it takes less than 50 gallons of water to produce a gallon of soy milk.) But far from reducing the impact of beef and dairy, Colorado increased its cattle population in 2015.

Coloradans can help save substantial amounts of water just by eating vegan foods instead of beef, dairy and other animal products. For information on how to go vegan, please visit peta.org.

— Jennifer Bates

Norfolk, Virginia

To the Easter thief ...

To the person who stole our Easter present from the Woodland Park post office on April 4: Shame on you!

You know who you are, and God knows who you are. If your name isn't on a package, you shouldn't accept it. Since you did accept it, you're a thief.

No one likes a thief.

— Mike and Toni Werner

Woodland Park

Plug 'n play

This year, the top time in the moto class at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb will be turned in by one of the seven electric motorcycle entrants. Make sure you get out and support electric racing!

We can see that electric vehicles will eventually take over. Mercedes-Benz is in final production of a gull-wing model with four electric motors (attached to each wheel) that will provide a dream-like driving experience, with back pinning acceleration and regenerative braking!

Get out to the Pikes Peak Hill Climb this year to witness the evolution of racing in real time! Be an obvious and vocal supporter of a cleaner, faster, approach! Be a Zappy!

— Kenton Lloyd

Colorado Springs

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