More parental control no panacea for public schools
University of Kentucky professor John Garen's argument that more parental choice and less bureaucracy and teacher control would improve academic outcomes in public education is unfortunately without much historical perspective.
Parental and neighborhood control of public education was the norm for most of our history, but from the 1960s these practices were found wanting in providing equal educational opportunity.
Many parents and communities were less interested in academic proficiency than they were in vocational programs (and often school athletic success), and schools were often completely unequal in terms of finance and curricula.
School bureaucracy and teacher professionalism organizations grew as an effort to equalize and improve education by focusing upon academic standards and attracting workers willing to take on the problems of school inequality — usually at lower pay than their peers.
Most recently, national and state accountability measures have been introduced to better focus schools and teachers upon academics.
Little of this history seems noteworthy to advocates of public choice models of school reform. Charter schools and enhanced parental school choice may indeed facilitate pockets of public school excellence when the choosers are committed to high academic standards. But many will do a poor job and the system as a whole will return to being more unequal.
How do advocates of charters and vouchers address these issues? "Market forces" is typically the answer. Can we spare a generation or two of children to find out if "the market" will work, when it did not before? I suspect and hope not.
Don't blame movie
Since we've now learned that the attack on our consulate in Libya was a planned act of war and not a spontaneous event triggered by some two-bit movie about a 7th Century warlord, why are those responsible for our government foreign affairs still trying to blame the movie?
Do they think we're ignorant or are they depending on the media to parrot that line until the truth is lost? If we accept these blatant lies, they will be right on both possibilities. And our respect for the the government and press will be further diminished.
Board works well
Clicking through the channels on the TV after mowing the lawn one Saturday, I settled on GTV and watched the tail end of the Sept. 12 Board of Architectural Review hearing. I would like to thank the members of the board for their service.
I am constantly amazed at the number of property owners who seem not to understand the simple process of application for approvals and that if you live or own property in an historic district all exterior changes require BOAR approval.
I don't know how so many people can disrespect their neighbors, neighborhood and fellow citizens by refusing to follow the rules repeatedly, and commence construction without the appropriate approvals.
Thank you, BOAR, for being polite and respectful to all those who fail to treat you the same; you do a job I would be hard pressed to do half as well.
According to how I understand adherents to the Republican Party, what ails this country is the culture of entitlements. And yet, this is exactly how one of their own, Richie Farmer, operated as commissioner of agriculture.
Not only was his behavior condoned (wink, wink), he was rewarded with an offer to be lieutenant governor. Does this mean entitlement is only a problem if you're poor and not "one of them"?
For the sake of brevity, I wanted to use the term "GOP," but there is nothing "grand" about hate-filled obstructionism.
Coach Cal impressive
I visited a friend who had been rehabilitating at Cardinal Hill Hospital for several weeks. He has a wife and three young children, and it has been a rough couple of months. University of Kentucky Coach John Calipari had been contacted by my friend's sister, requesting a letter of encouragement.
During my visit, I was able to read the nice letter my friend received from Calipari.
The cynic could say, "Oh it was probably a form letter." Parts of it may very well be similar to other letters he has sent out. The fact is, the request very easily could have fallen on deaf ears. I get the impression Calipari stays pretty busy. I commend him for seeing the big picture of life and making sure that he and the people around him understand the value of a few kind words and a note of encouragement.
I am glad that Calipari can recruit and win games. I am more impressed with the letter.
I encourage homeowners in District 3 to vote for councilwoman Diane Lawless. There are very few people in my neighborhood who don't know her because she has worked tirelessly from the day she was elected to answer their concerns.
She is absolutely dedicated to preserving the neighborhoods that border the university and improving the relationships between students and homeowners.
Freedom, not fireworks
The writer of a recent letter about new fireworks restrictions complained of whiners taking away the fun from "the rest of us."
The rest of us? That must mean those patriotic people who choose to be totally inconsiderate and celebrate our Independence Day more like it was Independence Month, not caring what time of the night.
I love fireworks, but there's always the few who seem to think independence means the freedom to be inconsiderate whenever they want to because it's "a free country." We all have to live together.
"The rest of us" and "the whiners," like myself, need to take a look at what freedom really means. I think it goes a little deeper than fireworks. If people took a moment to look at the people who live around them, and tried to be a little bit more considerate, maybe we wouldn't have need of the fun police.
Maybe then our communities could share the fun and enjoyment of what those holidays really represent.
M. Kathleen White
Make coal from lemons
I've got a great idea. It will make the tree huggers happy, and it will solve any unemployment problems in Eastern Kentucky: We start growing pineapples, coconuts and oranges in the deep fertile top soil of Pike, Bell and Perry counties.
Because that will not happen for several reasons, maybe we have to work with what God gave these counties — coal. They don't mine coal in south Florida, nor do they drill for oil, because it's not there. But we do have coal in Eastern Kentucky. Something about making lemonaid from lemons.