Letters to the Editor

Letters: Readers discuss success at William Jewell, texting while driving and KC literary arts

Critical thought

The Wall Street Journal recently reported on the results of a standardized assessment applied to college seniors. Per the Journal, “At more than half of schools, college seniors were unable to make a cohesive argument, (or) assess the quality of evidence in a document” — this despite the fact that “50 percent of employers complain that college graduates aren’t ready for the workplace. Their No. 1 complaint? Poor critical thinking skills.”

Throughout my first year as president of William Jewell College, I spent time with industry leaders in Kansas City. To a person, these employers extolled the Jewell graduates whom they’ve hired specifically because of their critical thinking skills.

I’ve even been asked to produce even more graduates to address workforce needs.

Our graduates’ success is due to Jewell’s Critical Thought and Inquiry curriculum, which is unique and positions students not simply to solve problems, but to be resilient and engaged employees.

Although it is tempting to nurture skepticism of higher education, my optimism about our impact as the Critical Thinking College in Kansas City grows each time I see our remarkable alumni at work in the community.

Elizabeth MacLeod

Walls, Ph.D.


Eyes on the road

Thank you for the June 10 editorial discouraging texting while driving. (12A, “Resisting the urge to text and drive”) I wish it had appeared weeks earlier and been read by the texting teenager who rear-ended my wife and daughter May 7 on Bannister Road at more than 30 mph.

Fortunately — and most importantly — no one was injured. However, our well-cared-for and long-since paid-for vehicle was a total loss.

The teen’s insurer has been accommodating but will not nearly compensate for the cost of a comparably equipped vehicle, and our recent $1,500 investment in new tires and brakes is reimbursable at barely $100.

Adding insult to non-injury, the offending driver fled through two intersections post-impact before stopping.

The driver was ticketed for following too close, but the police report excluded mention of the drive-off. When asked, the officer stated, “Since the driver eventually pulled over, no (fleeing) offense occurred.”

To drivers of any age: If you believe the events on your phone while driving can ever outweigh the risks you pose to yourself, others or their property, think again. You might just save a life, including your own.

Byron Ginsburg

Overland Park

Art of words

One would expect Steve McDowell, president of an architectural firm, to celebrate “the arts” in Kansas City in terms of new buildings. (June 16, 13A, “A decade of Kansas City arts milestone”)

We see the Bloch Building at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Kemper Museum and the Kauffman Center. I drive my out-of-town guests to see them, too.

Alongside those monuments of glass and steel, Kansas City also houses a significant heritage of literary art, which takes little space (although I do dream of a domed poetry stadium) and should not be overlooked. I can mention Kansas City’s 82-year-old international literary and art journal, New Letters, which I edit at UMKC, and its affiliate international radio series, “New Letters on the Air,” celebrating 40 years, and UMKC’s literary press, BkMk.

The Writers Place, in its stone, castle-like home in midtown, is celebrating 25 years. Rockhurst University’s 35-year-old Midwest Poets Series holds events in the glitzy new Arrupe Hall. But literary artists mostly “perform” for one solitary reader at a time.

Hamlet says this week in Southmoreland Park, “Words, words, words,” which won’t be forgotten.

Robert Stewart

Prairie Village

The real plan?

A June 15 letter to The Star (14A) about the writer’s long and inefficient trip attempting to get his driver’s license at the downtown Kansas City DMV office provides dramatic evidence of how the Missouri Republican Party plans to disenfranchise Missouri residents whom it doesn’t want to vote.

First, you require a driver’s license to vote, and then you grossly understaff DMV offices where poor and minority voters go to get their drivers licenses. Clever.

Gordon Risk

Kansas City

Light bulb moment

The recent shooting in Alexandria, Va. may finally wake Congress up to realize that there might be a relationship between weak gun-control laws and the increase in mass shootings across the nation.

George Carson