Letters to the Editor

February 19, 2014

Letters to the editor on Common Core, Curtis Middle School, anti-gay bill, Daniel Flores

Here is a brief overview of the Common Core standards for history, government and social studies – my field of expertise:

Endorse Common Core initiative

Here is a brief overview of the Common Core standards for history, government and social studies – my field of expertise:

•  The authors of the standards include carefully chosen scholars from Kansas state council boards for these disciplines, including classroom teachers and school administrators.
•  The standards committee membership includes 27 Kansas educators, facilitated by an educational program consultant from the Kansas State Department of Education.
•  The mission statement highlights the preparation of each student to be an informed citizen (knowledge base), a thoughtful citizen (thinking skills emphasis) and an engaged citizen (participation competencies, including contributing, compromising and collaborating).
•  The instruction focus features accessing and reading primary and secondary sources, writing clearly and coherently, and communicating effectively, also calling for gaining multiple perspectives, explaining causes and consequences, exercising higher order thinking, doing research, and utilizing multiple means of communication.
•  The standards are not intended to be a state-mandated curriculum. How and when the content is taught are decisions left to local districts.
•  The standards provide expectations intended to provide direction and guidance for staff development, teacher preparation and recertification.

As a professor emeritus of education at Wichita State University, I unapologetically endorse this important initiative.



Job well done

Kudos to Curtis Middle School students and teachers for earning the title of National Distinguished Title I School (Feb. 14 Local & State). That represents many months of hard work and determination by students and teachers. A job well done.



Bill an outrage

It’s hard to imagine anything more ironic than the passage of House Bill 2453 the same week as Valentine’s Day (“House passes bill to allow service refusal,” Feb. 12 Eagle). And to top it off, the bill cloaks this license to discriminate in one’s religious beliefs.

Anyone with just a casual understanding of Christianity knows that Jesus never demeaned, excluded or otherwise disrespected those who were different or marginalized. People of faith should be outraged that the House would use faith and religion as an excuse for being small-minded, fearful, homophobic and ungracious.

In 2005, the General Synod of the United Church of Christ overwhelmingly passed a resolution supporting marriage equality. But whether or not you support same-gender marriage, it is clear that passing a law that allows a business to discriminate is stepping back to a time that I hope no one wants.

Even if HB 2453 is not likely to pass, as the pundits say now, we still need to speak out. Join me in speaking out against HB 2453 (and revisions that may surface) in your churches, your offices, at the dinner table, on Facebook and Twitter, and in letters and calls to your legislators.


Conference minister

Kansas-Oklahoma Conference

United Church of Christ


Not a parody

After finally assuring myself that House Bill 2453 was not a parody from the Onion, I was amazed. Rep. Charles Macheers, R-Shawnee, has just issued an invitation to all gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender citizens to move to a tax-free Kansas. After all, citizens denied services cannot be expected to pay sales, property or income taxes.

Think what this might do to the numbers of liberals and generous, loving, Christ-centered Christians in the state; the numbers will skyrocket. And when you add in all the families and friends of this newly defined group, this red state will be a beautiful blue before we know it. If Macheers turns Kansas into a beautiful, free-thinking state again, how can we thank him?

In a state where the Legislature debates evolution, the governor refuses federal funding to help the uninsured get access to health care, the Phelps clan from Topeka makes headlines, and Secretary of State Kris Kobach plans multilevel voting access and excludes citizens from voting, I couldn’t imagine Kansas could become newsworthy for something worse. I hope the Kansas senators will make tidy work of HB 2453.



Caring friend

Many who have heard of the brutal murder of Daniel Flores will know him only from the news reports or from his picture (Feb. 12 Eagle). I had the privilege of knowing Daniel well, as he was my son’s best friend. Because my son is also a Dan, we called Daniel “D Flo.”

Daniel was very thoughtful, hardworking and passionate about what he did. He was a polite young man with a great smile. He was not only a friend to my son but an encourager when my son faced difficulties.

If the person who killed Daniel had been someone whose car had broken down on Kellogg by the radio station, Daniel would have given him a ride to where he needed to go. If the person had been hungry and if Daniel had a few bucks, he would have gotten him something to eat – that was the type of person Daniel was.

There is no rhyme or reason as to why this happened. Evil exists in our world, and all too often the innocent fall victim. We will remember Daniel’s great smile and the way he loved to joke and kid.



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