Learning to read is the single most important part of an education because we learn most everything else by reading. Clearly, there is a transition when we are learning to read and then reading to learn. I am sure that the timing of the transition is different among students and having a single test after the third grade to determine passing to the fourth grade might be harmful to some students. There do seem to be allowances made for some students, which might adequately take care of this problem.
My disagreement with Barresi is related to her lack of adequate participation in this process. When she became superintendent, she stated she would not ask for increased education funding. During her term, Oklahoma has had a larger decrease in per-pupil funding over that of all other states. So during that time, the numbers of students increased and this mandate for individualized remediation was added, and both require more teachers that cannot be met with the current budget. I can comfortably conclude that there will be many students that will be held back simply because they did not receive the help they needed, and she is responsible.
Is there still hope for Stage Center?
The University of Central Oklahoma is making a presence in Oklahoma City, what with the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma facilities in Bricktown and the upcoming UCO Boathouse on the river. I am a proud graduate of UCO. I am proud of the universitys vision and accomplishments.
Might UCO save Stage Center as a state-of-the-art performance hall/ soundstage for theater, all genres of music and dance, complete with state-of-the-art audio/video capabilities? Would this not enhance the universitys reputation, as well as solidify the universitys presence in the cultural center of OKC?
Tim Parker, President, Native Arts of America, Inc.
Can a Muslim pledge allegiance?
Interesting commentary by Adam Soltani regarding current legislation for the requirement of the Pledge of Allegiance (Mandating the Pledge of Allegiance, March 5, Oklahoma Gazette). It is, however, important, I believe, to correct his historical view of why God was introduced into the pledge: It was to counteract socialism-communism, but not so much toward the Soviet Union in particular as it was toward the spread of such in this country.
The Christian origins were under attack by secularism that far back in our history and much more so. Our forefathers not only believed in individual freedoms but that their origins were God-given. God-given means that no individual, no group, nor entity nor government has the authority to take them away.
This is an important point that is imperative to its ultimate survival, something atheists just dont get. Once this is removed, then man is open to interpret individual freedom as he sees fit and it is subjected to the human flaws of the desire for power and control. This is exactly what has happened to this country as we get further away from the God-given concept.
As he seems to suggest a victimization of Islam, there are many questions that the Muslim community has either completely ignored or is unwilling to answer. Is Sharia law what we have been led to believe it is? Is it the supreme law over all others? If so, then how can any Muslim pledge their loyalty to this country? Then it is also completely incompatible with anything resembling a free society.
Hot air over fossil fuel Well, the Oklahoma chapter of the Fossil Fuel Fascism Forever Society (the Oklahoma Legislature) has struck again. After banning a potential multimilliondollar biofuel industry in the state based on castor beans being 70 percent biofuel, the Legislature has now turned to wind power generation of electricity with their recent decision to move forward with a ban on this technology east of I-35, citing environmental harm. Ironically, this area of the state is now replete with fracking operations and the resultant frack waste water injections that have been scientifically associated with earthquakes (Science, 2013, volume 341, page 164). The oil monopolist John D. Rockefeller said it best: Competition is a sin.
The Democrats and their media minions have months to divert blame. They will claim that Obamacare would be OK if the insurance companies were not so greedy and the economy would recover if the rich (Republicans) shared the wealth. Even if the Tea Party helped elect five establishment Senate candidates, the president will veto any attempt to change his policies, appointments and regulations and the Democrats will yet have two years to blame the do-nothing Republican Congress.
Increasing numbers of people will either become disillusioned and stay home or disgusted and vote for thirdparty candidates. These voters enabled the election of five Democrat senators in 2008, one in 2010 and three in 2012. They are not moderate; rather, they are Libertarian, constitutional, fiscal and/or social conservatives who blame establishment Republicans for being complicit in growing the size, cost and power of government. The issue in 2014 is government control. The solution is to elect large conservative majorities not merely to cut budgets, taxes and regulations but to divert control of healthcare and other domestic programs to state and local governments. Is there leadership for this?
Michael F. McCarthy
Open letter to Oklahoma City
My wife and I, from Canada, recently enjoyed the outstanding hospitality of Oklahoma City citizens during an exceptionally wonderful trip there during our visit.
With no friends or relatives in your beautiful city, we came down to watch our favorite NBA team, the great Oklahoma City Thunder, defeat the Houston Rockets. (OK, and to warm up a little too.)
The people of Oklahoma City expressed their welcome and their friendship to us from day one.
Beginning with a woman at the airport to the managers and servers at the Devon Tower, Colcord, Sheraton and Skirvin restaurants and bars, to three or four gentlemen in the Village district, to the ladies at the Chesapeake Arena, and to the horse-and-carriage driver in your delightful Bricktown, who, by the way, was born near Prince Albert and raised in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. There were many others. We were thrilled and honored to be treated with such warmth and kindness.
We found OKC to be a very inclusive and harmonizing city, a gathering place bringing together north, south, east and west; cold and warmth; ranchers and indigenous peoples; urban and rural; blacks, Latinos, and whites; conservatives and liberals; not to mention music from so many genres.
Oklahoma is perhaps the only place where someone like Will Rogers could be from, a nonpartisan cowboy philosopher who so often said, I never met a person I didnt like. Certainly true for us about OKC citizens during our vacation.
Lynn and Brian Johnson Regina,
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