To the Editor,

Regarding Tom Danehy's "Delightful Dee Dinota" (April 20): New Year's Eve parties were special events this past year because of the dawning of the new millennium. My memories are of going to a friend's home and meeting a whole group of new people. As fate would have it, I happened to end up sitting next to a perfect stranger. However, within two minutes I felt as if this person had been my lifelong friend. The person I am referring to is Dee Dinota. It is a pleasure to cross paths with such a positive and energetic person. She goes at life at 100 miles per hour. Your article was well done and gave readers a glimpse of someone special in Tucson. Dee Dinota will never take a "call third strike." In the game of life where many are content to sit on the sidelines, she's always out there swinging.

--Robert J. Oro, DMD

This Is Only A Test

To the Editor,

Regarding "Test Arrest" (The Skinny, May 11): Certainly cost and the prudent use of taxpayers' dollars were considerations in the Arizona Department of Education's decision to reuse six forms of the high school AIMS test, and the state Board's subsequent rulings to control public access to the test. But our primary consideration was the amount of testing we will have to subject our students to if we have to produce two new versions of the test (since it will be given twice a year) annually.

Test development is a science. All questions that appear on AIMS have been thoroughly field and/or pilot tested, and items that were vague, misleading or biased were eliminated. If we are forced to produce new tests every year, we will have to either test students four times a year, or double the length of each test to incorporate pilot questions that would then not be released until they had appeared on a future version of the test. Schools are already concerned about the amount of testing students must undergo. Doubling the amount of time they spend on AIMS would further cut into precious instructional time.

Once Judge Foreman ruled that the Department's limited viewing policy had compromised the trade secrets of our test development company, CTB/McGraw Hill, our attorney advised us we could be at risk for damages to CTB if we continued to allow controlled viewing of the test. We continue to believe the public should have the right to see the test in a way that does not compromise its future use. Unfortunately, Judge Foreman's ruling left us with only an "all or nothing" decision.

--Laura Penny
Chief of Policy and Communications
AZ Department of Education

To the Editor,

The hopeful and positive comments from Laura Penny on standardized tests ("Examining the Exam," April 27) are in direct opposite to reality.

No one, from the state on down, oversees the uniformity of syllabi being taught in different classrooms. Nor is there overseeing on uniformity of grading systems. In addition, no one alerts the public that standardized tests do not solve the problems mentioned above, and that it is no remedy to "social promotion" and non-renewals of contracts to teachers who in good conscience cannot pass the children who don't know the syllabus, with or without direct edict from the administration to do so.

--George Hung

Infernal Heat

To the Editor,

I enjoyed Dan Huff's article about Tucson's summers ("A Modest Fashion Proposal, May 18). In these parts (Washington, D.C.), where the humidity regularly hits 65 percent or better and stays there for most of the summer, everyone is convinced you're living in paradise. They have never seen plastic sunglasses, chapstick and flashlights left on the dashboard of a car in mid-August in Arizona. I'm reminded of a story Mo Udall used to tell about an exchange on the floor of Congress; there had been heated debate about the Gadsden Purchase, so a delegation traveled west to take a look at the real estate. Upon their return, a member took the floor and proclaimed:

"Let me tell my honorable colleagues that I have seen the property in question. All this place needs is water and a few good people."

Replied another member of Congress: "With all due respect, siräisn't that all they need in hell?"

--Ken Burton

Idol Chatter

To the Editor,

Regarding Dan Huff's "Enantidromia In Suburbia" (May 11): Let me start off by saying I have read your publication for some time and have used it as a voice of reason and logic. However, in this particular article I feel the arguments were brought about in a "child-like" manner, and were conveyed in a way that made it sound like two teenage siblings participating in ruthless banter to fill the air rather than well-thought-out views and arguments to oppose the Casas Adobes Baptist Church's plans for their property. I have come to expect the highest quality in journalism from your staff, but I'm sorry to say that this article was not anything to be desired.

--Sean Mackey

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