As a teacher candidate at the University of Missouri-Kansas City who recently took the Missouri Content Assessment for English Language Arts, I was surprised to read that the assessments have drawn criticism for being too difficult (4-27, A1, “Future teachers befuddled by licensing test”).
Based on my experience with the exam, I would have said the opposite is true: The assessments are not nearly rigorous enough.
I’m confident I could have passed the English language arts assessment straight out of high school because the bulk of the questions demanded only basic reading comprehension or common sense rather than specialized knowledge of literature or language arts.
Of course, the situation may be different for other subjects (I noticed the article commented only on math, science and social studies), but the answer to the problem of low pass rates should not be to reduce the rigor of the assessments.
We as a nation already hugely devalue the teaching profession, causing teacher candidates to devalue themselves as they go through university programs that don’t push them to become masters of their content areas.
If we want quality teachers in our schools, we must hold candidates to a high standard, and they must be encouraged to hold themselves to the same standard.
Money in politics
Some letter writers have attempted to show that the Koch brothers are not giving as much money to the Republican Party as the liberal media would have us believe.
It should be noted that when sources show a paltry $5 million or so attributed to one of the Koch brothers on an annual basis, those sums fall into the category of disclosed contributions only.
Where the brothers differ significantly from many other donors is that they also back-channel roughly $400 million of what is known as “dark money,” which is not taken into consideration by those who wish to slant the facts. As an example, the Kochs are linked to a 2012 infusion of $44 million in feeder funds for the nonprofit Americans for Prosperity group, which launched a barrage of anti-President Barack Obama attacks.
The Kochs give to roughly a dozen of these select nonprofit groups because these organizations do not have to name the donor. A Google search for “Koch brothers dark money” reveals a truer picture of how the brothers dispense substantially more of their wealth to sway public opinion than is claimed by some supporters.
Has Barnum & Bailey come to Topeka? No, it’s the Brownback Budget Circus. Three rings of deficit-defying action.
First the Republican brain trust turns the revenue cart upside down. When deficit reality settles in, they search for new revenue sources.
So whom will they fleece? How about a sin tax on smokers and drinkers? Oh, wait, their lobbies aren’t going to roll over for that.
How about health-maintenance organizations. They make crazy money, right?
No go. They own half the Legislature, so that won’t work either.
Gosh this is tough.
They need to find a constituency that has money but isn’t well protected. Now who could that be?
P.T. Barnum said there’s a sucker born every minute. The Brownback Budget Circus is counting on you to be that sucker.
And since many of you don’t read or vote, you may not even notice.
Except for one or two bean-size particles of fat, I wonder whether anyone has ever found any pork in a can of pork and beans?
Edward J. Smith
I have traveled extensively in Central America, and I must say driving there is quite adventurous. You’re always on guard, often from someone whizzing by at an excessive speed while you worry you might have to suddenly brake for a slow driver or perhaps a cart being pulled by a donkey.
The lanes are not clearly marked, so drivers create their own lanes, never quite sure where they’re supposed to be. And then there are the never-ending construction zones.
It reminds me of my morning commute on Interstate 435 in Johnson County. The only things missing are the donkeys.
Kansas City, North
Kansas job creator
How convenient it is that Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback vetoed the bipartisan ride-sharing bill and Uber hired Brownback’s former 2014 campaign manager as a lobbyist (4-28, A4, “Brownback aide now Uber lobbyist”). And Uber opens in every major city in Kansas.
It’s good to know our governor is creating jobs.
Focus on real issues
I, for one, have had enough of the progressive left’s relentless attacks upon Christians and conservatives. These people spend hours viewing social media, looking for the smallest slight for a reason to attack someone.
Many of these attacks center around conservative and Christian views opposing same-sex marriage, homosexuality and abortion. It is not enough that we tolerate the left’s celebration of these things, but they are not satisfied unless we celebrate these things with them.
Well, guess what folks? We are entitled to our views and have rights granted to us in the First Amendment as well. The left’s divide-and-conquer tactic out of the Obama administration playbook is not going to work.
It is time to just shut up. Enough is enough.
This country has many more important issues to deal with than a relentless fixation on social issues. Does economic growth, a free economy, reducing the national debt, dealing with terrorism and providing equal opportunity and jobs for all ring a bell?
Demonizing others who oppose the liberal left’s views and playing the race card will get us nowhere. United we stand, divided we fall.
Did you know that June is Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month? Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune, neuromuscular disease that causes fluctuating weakness in the voluntary muscles.
The symptoms include double vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty chewing and swallowing, difficulty breathing and weakness in arms and/or legs. Myasthenia gravis is often unrecognized at first and underdiagnosed.
Know the symptoms.
Judging from the letters that rant about the insane policies of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and his ilk, I wonder where the dissenters were last November. We had fair warning, but even the enlightened electorate of Johnson County returned Brownback to office.
Brownback has presidential aspirations about which we should all be worried. To paraphrase a much more intelligent president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, “I would like to be known not for what I could do for those who have much (e.g. the Brothers Koch) but for what I could do for those who have little (Medicaid recipients).”
Keith W. Ashcraft, M.D.
The Royals’ pennant run last season was a milestone in Kansas City baseball, and who is not harboring dreams of a repeat?
The team should again have an exciting season, but this talk in The Star and other venues so early in the season about a repeat performance is silly.
We have an outstanding, very competitive team, and summer will provide countless thrills. But this championship mania makes anything less a disappointment.
Let’s look forward to enjoying just really great baseball one game at a time. We have a team that will take us as far as talent, determination and competitiveness can.
Yes, hope springs eternal, but October is very far away. The intervening months will provide daily opportunities to cheer and dream.