Friday, Oct. 12, 2012: Charlie Summers, standardized testing and political discourse

Posted Oct. 11, 2012, at 3:08 p.m.

Charlie Summers for US Senate

We are supporting Charlie Summers for Maine’s United States Senate. We have seen Summers speak at rallies and smaller venues. There was no hesitation, no political posturing, just the truth, plain and simple. He is a man with conviction who doesn’t dodge the difficult questions.

Summers does not engage in pandering for votes; there is no political-speak. Perhaps you do not agree 100 percent with him, but you will always know that he is true to his principles and will dedicate his life to faithfully serving the people of Maine as he has demonstrated time and time again.

We have been lulled into thinking of the “independent” candidate as nonpartisan, one who will reach across the aisle, the reasonable one who can stand above the fray. Nothing could be further from the truth. Candidates lean either liberal or conservative. Acknowledging that fact doesn’t mean you cannot compromise.

The independent candidate doesn’t know which party he will caucus with in Washington. Really? We’d rather vote for a candidate with the courage of his convictions who knows where he stands, who listens to the people — someone who will represent all the voices in our state to the best of his ability. That candidate is Summers.

Tom and Jinny Comiciotto

Castine

Testing is about data

Maine’s former deputy education commissioner said, “Field trips are a local matter.” They are also effective experiential learning. Data collecting, not teaching, was one local principal’s concern. Testing teaches nothing except beating bureaucrats “house odds.”

Test takers and those who test them have wasted time since the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to protect revenue and jobs.

Mid-20th century principals, before gender-bending middle school childhood captivity, knew that testing is about data. Compulsive testing is “much ado about nothing,” while wasting children’s valuable, limited time.

That’s why some 20th century principals tested all students to guarantee standardized testing as well as standardized tests in their 24/7 service to children and taxpayers. Today’s public school “leaders” must have missed literature and history in college. They didn’t learn that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” or that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

The only ones learning anything from testing children are pedagogues learning to “go along to get along” to keep their jobs. Careers may be messed up by messing with data details. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time, however, includes being in the wrong profession for the wrong reasons.

Leonard C. Harlow, Ed.D.

Carmel

Pease for District 44

The citizens in House District 44 have a great candidate running for the Legislature. I know that because I ran against Republican Jethro Pease in a primary in 2000 for Waldo County commissioner. I knew of Pease’s dedication to fire departments throughout Waldo County before he became commissioner, but I did not realize his capabilities as an administrator for our county.

In 2002 he asked me to run for county treasurer as a write-in candidate. Working beside Pease for two years, I admired his organizational skills and professional demeanor firsthand. One example was his organization of our reserve accounts into a coherent system which helped in our audits and added transparency. These funds totaled over a million dollars.

Another example was the work on a new jail, sheriff and commissioners building in 2003. The bond was presented to the voters of Waldo County. That effort failed, but the many hours of meetings and planning was lead by County Commissioner Chairman Pease.

On Nov. 6, the best man for District 44 is Pease.

David A. Parkman

Waldo County Treasurer

Palermo

Understanding light-years

At 4.3 light-years Proxima Centauri is, after the sun, the nearest star to the Earth. Light travels at 186,280 miles per second, and this equals 670,608,000 miles per hour. So a light-year is about 5.9 trillion miles. Therefore, Proxima Centauri’s distance is about 25 trillion miles.

If a spaceship could travel at a million mph it would be 670.6 times slower than the speed of light, and this value times 4.3 light-years equals 2,883 years, the time it would take for the high-speed spaceship to travel a distance of 4.3 light-years. To further complicate matters is the theory that the faster an object moves through space, the more massive that object becomes and the more massive, the greater the energy required to change that object’s velocity.

If space aliens are to be taken seriously, it is doubtful that they could have originated from a stellar system outside our solar system, considering the great distances involved. If the Earth is the only planet in our solar system supporting intelligent life, then in one possible scenario aliens are supernatural beings from another universe, a universe that is invisible and spiritual. According to the Bible, these supernatural beings do exist, and they are called angels.

Movies that depict aliens traveling from one stellar system to another are based on science fiction and not on facts.

Irwin Dube

Madawaska

All the people

I am increasingly concerned about the degeneration of our democratic system in the last few years. Something polarizing, extremist and destructive seems to be taking over our political discourse, leaving the uninvolved average citizen at the mercy of those with big power, big wealth and even fundamentalist fanaticism.

It is for this reason that I am speaking out to strongly encourage all of us who care about our beautiful state of Maine to speak out for those candidates who are struggling against these increasingly malignant forces to maintain a healthy voice for all of us.

In my opinion, Democrat Chuck Kruger, our current state representative from Thomaston, is a good example of a highly dedicated, intelligent, passionate, ordinary politician who works diligently on behalf of all of us. He is well informed, fair and cares deeply about Maine, but he is experiencing an increasingly uphill battle against the powerful few whose focus is wealth and control.

In the name of the preservation of the democratic process for “all the people” of Maine, I encourage concerned Mainers to get informed about what is really happening. And make sure you vote.

Polly Armstrong

South Thomaston

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/10/11/opinion/friday-oct-12-2012-charlie-summers-standardized-testing-and-political-discourse/ printed on September 23, 2014