Last week's Skinny ("Less Government, More Swimming," Sept. 4) quoted Libertarian mayoral candidate Kimberly Swanson as saying that Libertarians support "essential services, and I see swimming as essential." Libertarians could not possibly disagree more.
Swimming may be essential to Swanson's lifestyle, but it is not an essential government service. The only legitimate purpose of government is to protect the rights of individuals. Swanson has the right to swim, but she may not coerce others to pay for her exercise.
There is nothing in the Libertarian Party platform about swimming pools--primarily because this is obvious to Libertarians. I like Kimberly a lot, but if she cannot understand the fundamental principles of the Libertarian philosophy, then she cannot adequately represent the "Party of Principle."
Chairman, Pima County Libertarian Party
Regarding "Who's Playing Nurse?" (Currents, Aug. 28): There should be no question that every school needs to have a full-time registered nurse, for the health and safety of our children. But D.A. Barber did not mention the contributions that school nurses make to a successful learning environment.
During my three decades as a teacher in the Tucson Unified School District, the school nurse was a highly valued and trusted member of the faculty who shared insight and advice that countless times helped me understand and work with my students more effectively.
--Randall S. Smith
Thank you for a very thought-out article, "No Child Left Behind" (Aug. 28).
As a parent who raised six successful children, I understand the value of a good education. I applaud the NCLB law. I expect people to disagree on what's wrong with NCLB. However, I look at the positive.
NCLB has forced accountability on an educational system full of flaws. I believe this to be a direct result of what was happening in our public schools prior to NCLB. Our public schools had failed our children for far too many years.
The article does not mention the role of parents. Parents should be held more accountable. In every school that sees high parent involvement, student success has also been high.
Our public schools are a mirror image of our society. A great deal of effort should be placed on encouraging parents/guardians to become involved in their children's education. The combination of an effective teacher and an involved parent will always be a winning combination.
We should also hold our legislators accountable for school funding. The Arizona Learns program should have the funding to back the political talk. In addition, a major effort should be made to encourage our senior citizens to be school tutors. Perhaps we can give a special tax credit to those senior folks who volunteer in our schools.
Our children are our future. Let's begin treating their education like an individual retirement account, investing in their future.
Look closely at Sammy's crumpled failed test on your Aug. 28 cover to see where Sammy's answers went wrong. There is a pattern: She often mistook a times sign for an addition sign; she often mistook nines and sixes for eights; and she mistook sevens for nines. In short, Sammy or the journalist who phonied the sheet may be dyslexic and not necessarily arithmetic challenged. This is an example of why teachers need to be educated in far more than just in their majors.
Math is perhaps the worst case of wrong teaching in contemporary public schools. In fact, Sammy was not learning mathematics at all. He was learning "calculation," or more precisely, he was learning how to use medieval algorithms, i.e. manual tricks, to calculate numbers. Calculation is no more learning mathematics than driving a car is learning geography, or checking books out of the library is learning history.
Is anyone checking the copy turned in by your contributors for spelling errors?
"No Child Left Behind" writers Dave Devine and Molly McKasson refer to the Flowing Wells superintendent as John "Petticone." Last time I looked, the correct spelling was "Pedicone."
Misspelling can undermine your credibility in a real quick hurry!
We apologize for the spelling gaffe.