Science-ed plan rejected for lack of rigor, distractions
As co-chairman of the Administrative Regulation Review Subcommittee, I had a front-row seat at our last meeting when the Next Generation Science Standards were brought up for review.
Our committee is tasked with looking at the regulations executive branch agencies develop to implement the laws the legislature passes to ensure the regulations fulfill legislative intent.
In a 5-1 bipartisan vote, the regulations codifying these science standards were not accepted because they were not rigorous enough and leaned toward trendy sidebars.
Last session, the General Assembly allowed school districts to raise the dropout age to 18 and now we want to shortchange kids? How can you teach future electricians without mentioning Ohm's Law? Or defining voltage?
If you want to be a biologist or doctor, can you function without knowing what "osmosis" means, without knowing human anatomy? Good luck being an astronaut if no one teaches you the order of planets.
There is also a disconnect between the elementary and secondary curricula. But who needs continuity when you can navel-gaze about how you are the sole cause of global warming?
This is why the committee declared these regulations deficient because they were not as rigorous as existing standards. We hoped that the Department of Education would revise the regulations. That would have given legislators more time to evaluate the regulations to ensure they provide a sound basic science education
Since the governor chose to ignore the wishes of a bipartisan committee, these new standards will go into effect against the wishes of citizens across the state.
State Sen. Ernie Harris
The storm in New Orleans is the greatest disaster of biblical magnitude in our times. Did it have an awakening ring?
America has stopped prayer in school, removed the Ten Commandments from the courthouses, sanctioned the removal of the baby from the womb and debates removing "In God We Trust" from our money.
Can we expect God to sit and watch even as we claim to be a Christian nation, to do nothing to correct us? To show his disapproval would he allow the forest to burn, waters to rise, winds to blow, battles to be lost?
Does it even seem odd that, on the heels of American influence forcing the Jewish nation to give up homes and land, that we in the U.S. are forced to give up lands and homes in the storm-struck South?
Would you mock God's choice of warnings. He will and does hold us accountable.
As a nation are we prepared for the coming events? How do you defend yourself against a God of creation other than know what he says? Learn what to do to avoid or endure, because the trials of this life are coming. Water was used in the days of Noah. Is it still one of God's tools today?
We just commemorated the Sept. 11 tragedies, but how quickly we forget how easily God can drop his protection, or have we pushed it aside for a more modern not believing? He is still in control, like it or not. Could this be strike two?
Thomas M. Hadden
Put surplus on debt
I wish to express my strong displeasure with the proposal to divvy up $2.25 million of the reported $7.6 million budget surplus to the 15 Lexington council members for capital projects over the coming year.
The article reported the city spent $300 million but only took in $283 million, so this money is not a surplus. Furthermore, the city's debt has nearly tripled to $312 million in 2012.
City officials should do the job they were elected to do and pay off the debt first. Mayor Jim Gray should protect taxpayers by vetoing this proposal, if passed.
Ellen Louise Jett Mills
Lessons in equality
When Dad was awaiting overseas assignment at the Naval Base near New Orleans when I was 10, Mom told me it was not right that black people had to sit in the back of buses and couldn't eat in all-white restaurants.
She said, "Bobby, what if because your skin was white you couldn't eat in restaurants and you had to ride in the back of buses?" I told her I wouldn't like it. The lessons my mom taught me didn't always totally change my attitude.
As a teenager, I felt schools should be segregated but when I attended the University of Louisville and had black classmates I realized they were the same as me and created by the same God. Mom was right.
President Harry Truman integrated the military in 1947, but in 1956 as a Marine my black Marine friends still couldn't eat in public restaurants in the South. They couldn't stay in many hotels. I felt embarrassed for the inequality they faced.
Eighty years after I was born there are people in many places who still disrespect people of other colors. As a Southern Baptist, I believe racism is a word many churches are uncomfortable to mention. As a child at Central Baptist my mother taught us the song, "Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black, brown and white, they are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world."
Do we really love all our neighbors as ourselves?
Army Pvt. Bradley (Chelsea) Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for espionage. He wants to live as a women while incarcerated. He also wants to receive hormone therapy as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, the Army doesn't provide gender reassignment surgery or hormone therapy.
Luckily, there are 435 Fort Leavenworth prisoners he can discuss his problem with.
Put a Kroger downtown
I endorse a recent letter-writer's suggestion that Kroger put a store in downtown Lexington. During the many years I taught at the University of Kentucky and Lexington Community College, not a semester passed without at least one student lamenting the lack of grocery shopping downtown.
A downtown Kroger would be beneficial for students and a selling point for the university. It could reduce traffic, because many around the university ride bikes, and also reduce pollution, as students who now shop for food far away could bike to the store.
Students would have the option of planning healthy meals as opposed to fast food which is fine, but not all the time. It's cheaper and more beneficial to buy fresh vegetables and fruits than living on fast food.
It is not that rare for a student to have no driver's license and depend on others for a ride to a grocery. This is a stress a student might have to deal with rather than studying. Some students are on limited budgets, making the use of taxis or friends an added burden.
Taking a bus is OK but it would be time-consuming, and it does get cold here in winter. We need to help out students as much as we can. It is not easy carrying a load of classes while trying to make one's life better or help one's family. I know. I did it the hard way, so I am empathetic towards students whose parents aren't helicopters.