Letters to the editor

12/24/2013 4:19 PM

12/24/2013 4:19 PM

Herbert column

Danerdri Herbert in her Dec. 4 column, “Voucher advocates’ bitter pill: More funding, less choice,” uses illogical arguments and evidence to condemn the Common Core Standards and public schools in general.

She claims that more money for schools, which will provide a lower student to teacher ratio and more resources to help kids learn, will somehow lead to an increase in the number of students who are home-schooled.

She then accuses the Common Core standards of having a liberal bias. Then she uses as her example of this bias a worksheet that she doesn’t provide a source for, but readily admits that is in no way connected with the Common Core standards and, in fact, predates them.

Based on these faulty premises she then advocates for a voucher system that she admits doesn’t have a chance of passing in the Kansas Legislature. My experience with the Common Core standards is that they do indeed integrate the curriculum, which for some reason she opposes.

But life isn’t divided into blocks labeled reading, math, social studies, etc., but is indeed integrated, and an integrated curriculum makes sense.

Greg Schell

Shawnee

As a parent in the Gardner/Edgerton School District, I could not disagree more with Danedri Herbert’s Dec. 4 piece, “Voucher advocates’ bitter pill: More funding, less choice.”

My district is a member of Schools for Fair Funding, one of several Kansas school districts that filed the litigation asking the state to restore school funding. Note I said restore funding, which is required by the Kansas Constitution. We are not asking for more funding.

We’re asking the state to restore funding to keep class sizes from increasing, prevent parents’ fees from rising, keep important staff like nurses and so we won’t be forced to raise property taxes to support our schools.

Schools aren’t seeing an exodus of students. Actually, Kansas public schools are educating more students than ever.

Compared with other states, our students rank in or near the top 10 in academic assessments. A recent drop in some test scores coincides with the millions of dollars of state funding cutbacks in classroom dollars. Unfortunately, some legislators and the governor chose to cut income taxes instead of funding education.

As for vouchers, I’m not interested in privatizing education. I choose our public schools because they do a good job.

They just need the funding to do it.

Brett Limer

Gardner Common Core

I find it interesting that recent articles or opinion columns within The Kansas City Star regarding Common Core never include facts behind the core or comments regarding what parents are seeing (12-4, 913 Editorial, “Move ahead on Common Core”). These “state-led standards” are not state-led.

They were put together by a couple of trade organizations that had direct ties to companies that would financially and ideologically profit the most if new standards were implemented. These “standards” were accepted by states before being seen or validated.

Rolling such an expensive program out without any validation/testing would never occur in a corporation. Why would we do this to our kids?

Math problems are being thrown out because no one understands them. Cartoon characters through videos are teaching our kids their math lessons while teachers are told to just let the video play and not stop it for additional clarification for the class.

Kids are only allowed to go to one website given to the teacher for the child to do a research paper. Any stakeholder can access a child’s information without parental consent.

This is just a very small portion of the problems with Common Core. Research and decide for yourself.

Kara Thomason

Overland Park No vote on tax

The Dec. 11 headline on the cover of 913, “Roeland Park sales tax rejected; by 41 votes, residents say no to increase to cover Wal-Mart loss,” buys in to the excuse that the Roeland Park Council has used to raise our property taxes 58 percent in three years — that Wal-Mart is leaving. No, the council wants to increase taxes just to have more money in the treasury for unknown needs.

Late in the campaign for the tax, the specter of sinkholes was raised as a scare tactic. A year ago, when the city floated a sales tax increase, The Star recommended a “No” vote because the city was not “sharing the pain.” Still, budgeted expenditures are increased, including salary increases and $40,000 for “visioning” (whatever that is,)

They just don’t get it. It is encouraging that the voters turned down the regressive tax increase.

But, given this council’s propensity to increase taxes, we are all saving our “Vote No” signs. (Threats of a Mission-style driveway tax have been intimated.)

Scott Gregory

Roeland Park Tax reluctance

When the 16th Amendment (income taxes) was ratified in 1913, it was hailed by populists, progressives and Western conservatives as a way to “reel in” the plutocratic industrialists to “soak the rich.”

Since then the mega-wealthy have struggled mightily to control the taxes they are to pay, and to convince the rest of us as to the benefits derived from their keeping their money. This thinking hit its stride the presidency of Ronald Reagan, with the “trickle down” economy.

John Nelles

Shawnee

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