"Mandatory food-scrap recycling? Oh, come on."
A sampling of readers' letters, faxes and e-mail.
CorrectionThe letter from Bill Wippel ("On the air: No static at all," July 13) erroneously ascribed to columnist Floyd McKay a suggestion that the Fairness Doctrine be reinstated.
Military headhunters deserve no advantage over civilian corps
Editor, The Times:
The Times (intentionally?) misses the point entirely regarding protests of Seattle School Board inaction on military recruiting in the Seattle Public Schools ["Level recruiting field for all," editorial, July 15].
What the "activists" are proposing is precisely what The Times recommends: that military recruiters be restricted so they receive no special treatment, but instead are treated like any other career option or recruiting — instead of receiving virtually unrestricted access to students at any time of day or school day, as they currently do.
While there is no question that students, activists, YAWR (Youth Against War and Racism) would like the recruiters out entirely, what they have proposed is eminently reasonable: recruiting fairs two times a year, just like all the corporate recruiters.
In your haste to push your apparent agenda ("This page would like to see an end to the war. But this is a separate issue and should not be confused with allowing student access to a full array of career options, including the armed forces"), you are apparently (intentionally?) missing the whole point of the protests, and that is not to eliminate armed forces recruiting, but to put them on a level basis with everyone else instead of enjoying special access.
— Don Schlosser, Seattle
Signs of poor potential
The Times calls for "a level playing field" permitting military recruiters access to high schools. Are you serious? Well-off children go to college and graduate school. Some work for Microsoft, or hang out in South America for a while, finding themselves. How much time do recruiters spend at Mercer Island High School?
No, they recruit the poor kids. Is that a level playing field?
— Richard Rapport, Seattle
Your mother wears Army down
"The Mommy Factor," it is called by the army recruiters who are not making their quotas. They are blaming the parents of recent high-school grads for talking them out of enlisting. Good for the parents. And even better for the high-school grads.
Remember that poster from the '60s? "Suppose they gave a war and nobody came."
— Eric Kowalczyk, Seattle
Gold star for effort
Congratulations for editorially supporting the moral and legal right of military recruiters to have access to high-school students equal to other recruiters.
The military services perform a vital function for this nation. They are on all oceans, continents and more than 60 countries besides Iraq. They will still be required when the war in Iraq has faded into history.
As a somewhat aimless but patriotic high-school graduate, I enlisted in the U.S. Army to begin a 22-year career, including two wars in the infantry that I challenge any protester to match for service to humanity and this country.
Now comfortably retired, I consider my military career the most rewarding and fulfilling in my 78 years. The odds of achieving the same education, great responsibility while still young and a chance to directly influence history in any other career was incredibly unlikely.
Activists opposing military recruiting in high school as a way of protesting the war in Iraq are beneath contempt. It is a disservice to the country, the school and most of all to the student with the necessary qualifications and interest in military service.
— Ed Davis, Issaquah
This is a test of greed
How low will Seattle go? Bribing students into the "WASL prep" classes? ["iPods a lure for WASL test prep," Local News, July 11.] You are kidding me!
The Washington Assessment of Student Learning in itself is a fraud and, considering the questions and the way it is scored, it's a wonder more people have not figured out that it is the WASL that is the failure, not our kids!
The WASL is scored by people who will decide whether or not an answer is "appropriate." Unfortunately, while an answer may be considered right one day, the same answer the next day or even a few days later may be considered wrong! There is no consistency when it comes to scoring the WASL!
The WASL was originally supposed to examine our teachers and our schools, to ensure our students were receiving a high-quality education. Now, it is the students being constantly tested! Our students are being taught to pass this inane "assessment" and are not receiving the education they need to help them succeed in life!
You know what's going to happen as a result of this little ploy? Next year, kids will not sign up for WASL prep again until another bribe is put into play and then, is it going to be iPods again or will it be something else but a little more pricey? And then, what is being "taught"? That education can be "bought" with electronics!
I am soooo glad my children do not attend Seattle schools!
— Julie Messerer, Hoquiam
Order of the transfixed
The latest "Harry Potter" film has several messages for educators:
Education needs to be grounded in the real world whenever possible, to challenges students are facing (or will face) in their lives. Make learning interesting. (For example, I teach computer programming using game design as a focus.) Research has shown that while young children are eager to learn, the opposite is true by the time they reach high school. Every teacher knows that bored students become behavior problems; dropouts cite boredom as one of the primary reasons they left school.
Learning to do something (this implies the use of multiple senses) increases learning. Along the same lines, assessment (testing) should be to what is learned. If the goal is to drive a car, don't give a multiple-choice test about the parts of a car or the history of cars. Evaluate how the student drives a car.
Students are capable of teaching each other. (They can teach themselves as soon as they are able to read.) Teaching someone else to do something is one of the best ways to learn how to do something yourself. Peer-tutoring works.
— Richard Dillon, Seattle
Throw out some ideas
Mandatory food-scrap recycling? Oh, come on. ["Food-trash recycling at homes to be required by Seattle in '09," News, July 17.]
At my house, we recycle or compost most everything. So where am I supposed to put a steak bone?
The plan is also discriminatory: Apartments and businesses are exempt.
Guess I'll move to an apartment, or start a business. Hey, how about a recycling business!
— Dave Felthous, Seattle
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company