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Not meeting needs
(Re: “Expand your sources,” Letters, Jan. 29.) When I opened the Boulder Weekly and read the letters from last week, I could not help but be amused by the letter sent in by an Anglo parent regarding Columbine Elementary.
They stated that my opinion, as well as only a couple others, has been featured in the media in defense and promotion of Columbine Elementary at the exclusion of Anglo parents such as themselves. I wondered why this would bother anyone. Had they not put themselves out there and made it known they had something to say? Had they not taken up a cause regarding Columbine? Or had they expected people would want to know their experience as they sat back as a spectator to the mess surrounding this subject?
Then I thought, no, they want credit. Credit for being one of the few brave Anglo souls who would dare enter their child into a school of poor minority children while their neighbors indulge in white privileged schools that have organic snacks as a priority. Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe they want to perpetuate the negative stereotype that Columbine has been fighting all these years. Their message is, like so many others: “See, I’m an open-minded white person who took the chance, and possibly a psychologically damaging choice, to put my child into this school and what happened? I had to leave because it fell so far short of my ‘expectations.’ Honestly, you shouldn’t even waste your time trying it.”
I don’t mean to attack anyone personally, but all I hear is just another voice like so many who have come before. They love to give this very vague excuse of “the school was not meeting my child’s needs academically or socially.” It’s always the very same sentence as if they all read it out of the How to Appear Liberal Handbook. Recent studies at Columbine have shown that Anglo students there are at or above district level. I would love to see some actual proof that some of these kids being pulled actually were testing at a lower level. Let’s get real and admit people love throwing out the phrase “not meeting my kid’s needs academically.” The problem is most of the time it is not true, and, worst of all, it makes it look like the teachers at that school are not doing their jobs. The last thing these teachers need is more thankless parents and poor publicity.
Finally, there is the social excuse that actually does hold some water. Of course, the white kids there don’t have the social network they need, because there are not enough white kids attending the school. Sure, the Mexican culture might not be into play dates and things that would allow a child such as my own to truly bond outside of school, and there is even some self-segregation within the school, but when I walk the halls and I’m in class, I do see kids laughing and learning together. I don’t see them with uncomfortable body language while they sit on the floor next to each other. I do, however, see it in the adults, both the Anglo and Latino parents.
We’re the ones who feel uncomfortable and pass that on to our children. When it comes to “meeting social needs,” I wonder who we are really talking about in this scenario, the students or the parents? My money is on the latter.
We need solutions here — not people leaving the school and perpetuating groundless fears without providing a single concrete example or suggestion for improvement.
In 2008, we elected our first African-American president who talks of unity and races working and living together for the greater good of this country and the children who inhabit it. At the very same time, here we sit in “progressive” Boulder while a segregated school is in our backyard — embarrassing and shameful.
Change your mind
(Re: “Making the grade,” news, Jan. 22.) Hi. My name is Edgar, and, well, I’m a Columbine student, a fifth grader. I made a card to Dr. King:
Dec. 14, 2008: Dear Chris King: All this year I have heard my parents talk about my school, Columbine Elementary, that I have attended since preschool. I love the idea of a brand new school and all of the technology, even though I won’t be able to enjoy the new school because I am in fifth grade this year. However, I am happy for my sisters who are younger than me. The last two to three days I have heard my parents talk, very worried, about the changes that are happening in my school. All of this time I’ve been wondering what got in your head to make that decision. Do you realize what a bilingual person, like me, can do only because I attend a bilingual school? What’s wrong with speaking both languages? Mr. King, this is what a bilingual student can do, and you are taking that opportunity away from the children that will stay in this school, the one that I love the most, the same way that I love my teachers, because without their help, none of this could be possible. Please, I would like you to change your mind.
The solution is possible
(Re: “Global warming is a done deal, so learn to live with it,” Danish Plan, Jan. 29.) I believe global warming is possibly the most serious issue facing the human race, but Mr. Danish needs to do a better job presenting his facts. For example, he states that the CO2 level is increasing by 2ppm, is currently at 385ppm, but is on track to reach 550ppm by 2035. That equates to an average increase of 6.35ppm every year between now and then. Although a huge increase from today, it does seem possible because of the increase in energy use in India and China. More easy to dispute is another statement of his that CO2 from 2035 is “rising after that point by 4.5 percent a year,” which would result in a level of 600 ppm by 2050. Excuse me, but the actual CO2 level in 2050 would be 1064 if it increased 4.5 percent each year from 2035. It is very hard to take an article seriously if the author can’t even get his math right.
In addition, I have a problem with his main premise that we should “learn to live with it.” Danish’s “pathetic” plan? Build dikes and move cities inland because “such conditions will persist for 1,000 years.” Scientists already have ideas for sequestering CO2. James Lovelock says the following: “The biosphere pumps out 550 gigatonnes of carbon yearly; we put in only 30 gigatonnes. Ninety-nine per cent of the carbon that is fixed by plants is released back into the atmosphere within a year or so by consumers like bacteria, nematodes and worms. What we can do is cheat those consumers by getting farmers to burn their crop waste at very low oxygen levels to turn it into charcoal, which the farmer then ploughs into the field. A little CO2 is released but the bulk of it gets converted to carbon.”
How much has humanity advanced in 100 years? Does anyone really doubt that we can solve this problem in the next 100 years? To act like it is impossible may be more stupid than not being able to perform simple math.
(Re: “Newspaper of the Future: Part III,” Stew’s Views, Jan. 15.) Stewart Sallo says, “The failure of our economy is linked to a fundamental flaw in capitalism.” Let’s see: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Community Reinvestment Act, The Fed’s artificially low interest rates, arm-twisting banks to lend money to people who can’t afford to pay it back, corporate welfare and bailouts... What capitalism? Capitalism punishes failure. Government rewards it.
Safer access needed
Next fall, Valmont City Park North’s bike park (on Airport Road) will become the greatest attraction for Boulder’s bicycling kids. However, the safety of kids from north Boulder (Valmont/Balsam north to the convergence of Broadway and 28th) will be less than that planned for kids from other parts of the city. Dangerously less.
That’s because City Council might vote against pursuing the reopening of the Boulder Bike Path access through Vista Village Mobile Park. Said access, as had been planned originally, would have lined up north Boulder kids’ path directly with a crosswalk at Airport Road and the main entrance to the bike park, well away from Valmont.
But to avoid litigation to force the owner to reopen the 20-plus-years-old access (closed only this past spring), council may instead accept city staff’s recommendation to upgrade an existing dirt pathway. But that will dump kids onto Airport Road, a mere five car lengths back from the dangerous Valmont-Airport roads intersection. Then to defy common sense even more, choosing this upgrading option will cost the city more than litigating to reopen the Butte Street access.
That’s right. According to staff’s own estimate, eminent domain litigation would cost $50,000 to $100,000, whereas upgrading the existing pathway will cost the city $125,000. If the city instead litigates, it will stand to save anywhere from $50,000 to $75,000 over the upgrading option — and kids from north Boulder will be safer.
Before it’s too late, tell the City Council to choose the safer, more fiscally responsible Butte Street access option. Tell them that even though the Bel Air, Calif., owner of Vista Village doesn’t lose sleep over our kids, we do. If the city doesn’t litigate now, it will inevitably have to when a child is struck trying to cross Airport Road at Valmont.
W. Jerry Allen/Boulder
Opportunity to grow
There is an important opportunity that we might grasp in this time of economic downturn. If I may suggest, in losing a job, approach it fearlessly. See it as an opportunity to discover our life’s work.
Krishnamurti advised, “Our life’s work is to discover our life’s work and then to work at it.”
A life’s work is that endeavor that inspires us and gives us joy. It is a thing we’d prefer to do for free instead of getting paid for a job. Often we can excel financially in our life’s work but certainly it is our highest giving to society and ourselves, to follow our love.
To let go of the concept of “job” it helps to realize that one’s birthright on the planet is, like any other being born to earth, a livelihood. Food and shelter is there for us as we share our talents and joy with life. It has been my experience that life will always provide enough.
The Course in Miracles says, “If we bring forth what is within us, what we bring forth will save us. If we do not bring forth what is within us, what we do not bring forth will destroy us.”
So tighten that belt, share the house, park the car and oil up the bike to bus through the lean times. Take classes and explore what really makes that smile grow. Then grab the reins and live with inspiration.
John Hoffmann/Carbondale, Colo.
Pull the Piñon plug
Two recent reports by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which were ordered by Sen. Mark Udall, reveal that Fort Carson botched its Piñon Canyon scheme.
The reports point out that Fort Carson disregarded the most basic tenant of democracy: “the consent of the governed.” Instead of seeking the consent of the citizens of southeastern Colorado, Fort Carson went over our heads to the Department of Defense in Washington. Their planned land grab became known to the public only when Army maps were leaked. Colorado legislators expressed their indignation by passing HB1069, formally withdrawing Colorado’s consent.
Fort Carson also botched their application to the Pentagon. They pulled a bait and switch, initially asking for a permit to acquire 418,000 acres, then without explanation, switching to 100,000 acres at twice the price per acre.
And finally, according to the GAO, they failed to justify their proposal to Congress. They couldn’t, or wouldn’t, provide an acceptable accounting of their use of the current site, and they failed to explain how additional lands would be used.
So, Sen. Udall should tell Fort Carson, “Forget it. Since you’ve failed to gain the support of the people and elected representatives in southeastern Colorado, and since you’ve substantially changed the terms of your proposal, and since you’ve botched your report to us, we’re pulling the plug.”
Doug Holdread/Trinidad, Colo.
I really don’t see what the problem is with where to put the “detainees” from Gitmo. President Bush has about 1,700 acres in the middle of Texas.
He created the situation. He can take “personal responsibility” for the decisions he made — and with his record of executions while he was governor of Texas, I’m sure he can deal with any “terrorists” that may try to escape.
And with all the good ol’ boys down in Texas way armed to the teeth, I believe that the “detainee” would have second thoughts about being an escapee.
Those good ol’ boys would be more than happy to assist in “rehabilitation and re-incarceration” of those “detainees.”
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