Be cautious on reading reform
“Reason to be concerned about reading reform” (March 29 WE Blog excerpts) was a much-needed caution about the folly of a Kansas Senate-passed bill that would retain first-graders who lack reading proficiency.
Are these legislators readers themselves? Have they researched the volumes written about child growth and development that have long established that children grow at different paces and need physical and mental maturity for reading? It’s a mistaken notion that earlier is better.
Caution: Premature expectations lead to stigma as a slow learner, an image eternally remaining with the student. The result is loss of opportunity to become an avid learner.
Are we Americans so imbued with American exceptionalism that we shun looking to other countries for leadership? Legislators, put on your reading glasses. Research Finnish schools and discover why they are rated tops in reading, even while postponing reading instruction until age 7.
What their children receive early is free preschool with the emphasis not on academics but on play, self-reliance and social skills taught by highly paid and revered teachers.
The good news is that Gov. Sam Brownback is “unsure” about the proposed bill. He can be sure, however, that repeating grades is antithetical to loving reading and learning.
It seems to me, as a Wichita North High School graduate, that Southeast High School is loved by the folks who send students there.
Look – a classroom is a classroom, and if parents are happy with the location, take advantage of that fact. Enhance Southeast, instead of reinventing the wheel with a new campus that angers many who send students there.
Hoping for rain?
It is hard to believe that the Wichita City Council and the people of Wichita seem to be relying on hope when it comes to doing something about making the two years of water left in Cheney Reservoir last in this severe drought. A friend of mine in Norman, Okla., tells me they are already on water restrictions. Meanwhile, we do nothing except ask for input from citizens.
One citizen told a local TV station that she should be able to use all the water she needed because we had allowed population growth. Another suggested getting what we needed from El Dorado Lake.
Hello! El Dorado is just 30 miles away; there is a drought there, too.
I lived for 32 years in the Denver area, where water restrictions were practically a given every year. That is an area that receives about half of Wichita’s average rainfall and, obviously, is much larger. Lawns could be watered only on certain days and for a limited amount of time. Fines were levied and collected from those who disobeyed and had malfunctioning systems. Watering the street was not allowed.
It won’t work to do nothing but business as usual as we hope for rain.
I’d like to thank David P. Rundle for thinking of those with intellectual disabilities and sharing his experience with KanCare (“Don’t break promise to disabled Kansans,” March 31 Opinion).
I’m sorry that he and others already are struggling with being able to continue to have their needs met. Unfortunately, he is right – those with intellectual disabilities will struggle with this system greatly, and their advocates have been trying so hard to have their long-term services carved out of KanCare.
Senate Substitute for House Bill 2155 addresses a perceived conflict of interest that doesn’t exist. The community developmental disability organizations have a system in place for outside reviews from other districts to make sure this conflict doesn’t exist. And giving these responsibilities to the managed-care organizations will create an even bigger conflict of interest. They would be able to influence assessments and limit services without those reductions being called “cuts” in services.
The state administration made a promise to leave the Kansas Developmental Disabilities Reform Act, CDDOs and case management untouched. When promises already are being broken, how can we trust any of the information we are being given about KanCare?
It was good to see the U.S. Postal Service stop door-to-door delivery in a neighborhood because of a loose dog (March 29 Local & State). This should be a reminder and a lesson to people who own dogs that they need to put away their dogs and not let them run the streets freely. Dogs that roam neighborhoods pose a threat not only to postal workers but also to other businesses that have employees who work outside.
REGINALD S. NULAN
Economic analyst John Mauldin wrote recently about how the government is lying to us about inflation.
“The upshot of all their monkeying with the numbers is that the official rate of inflation may be two to four times lower than the actual rate (which is rather convenient if you’re a government bureaucrat trying to hold down interest costs and Social Security payments),” he wrote.
Kayak.com reported that overall domestic airfares increased 17 percent across the board from 2011 to 2012. Recently, my longtime Wichita tree service company said it was raising prices 15 percent in 2013 (as it did in 2012) just to “keep up” with continuing material cost increases. Almost daily we are confronted with evidence that our cost of living is rising (which means our standard of living is falling).
If you try to cut back on what you can no longer afford and save your money, you cannot earn any interest on the savings. Your wages and savings cannot “keep up” with inflation. As a result, you are getting poorer every day.
Rising inflation and the inability to earn interest are both results of the same extreme manipulation of money and credit markets by the U.S. Federal Reserve. We must demand that America return to sound money and free credit markets.
Kansas that was
The piece by piece dismantling of the Kansas that was by Gov. Sam Brownback and the Legislature is most disturbing.
The Kansas that was exercised leadership in public education, supporting local school boards in their work.
The Kansas that was trusted men and women in the state’s employment to labor for the state’s well-being.
The Kansas that was knew that Kansas women were responsible in their decisions and activities.
The Kansas that was recognized that every citizen and enterprise should share in the cost of good government and public education, that taxation was not theft of income but a proper share of maintaining the services that sustain and empower society.
With the efforts of the governor and the laws passed by the Legislature and the proposals by such state officers as Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the Kansas that was is being dismantled. The saddest part is that a majority of senators and representatives are saying nothing.
Kansans need to speak out and make sure that the Kansas that was is the Kansas of tomorrow.
ROBERT D. SIMISON
What happened to us baby boomers? The hope, love, inclusiveness, ability to see the good in others we had – where did it go? We changed so many injustices and led the world. What happen to our ability to compromise for the common good, for our country?
We need to get our act together before it’s too late. Stop the bickering and the fighting. Let’s come together for the people, by the people, with liberty and justice for all.
Let us continue to be the best generation we can be.