Test scores a poor way to measure schools
Re: April 10 story "TUSD board won't renew 23 administrators' contracts."
When I read about the firing of principals on the grounds of low test scores, a burst of frustration and sadness overwhelms me. Test scores do not reflect progress throughout the year, do not consider special learning situations, socioeconomic hardships or the enrichment of language heritage.
They do not reflect parental involvement or real learning through meaningful school and community projects, such as the case of Ochoa Magnet School with its Reggio Emilia approach. Heidi Aranda has guided those students into real learning experiences pertaining to self expression through writing, deep understandings of math, art, science and much more.
This is learning that transcends the insipid demands of tests. Firing principals on these shallow parameters shows district administrators have sold their integrity to the anti-education beast of test scores, which is already threatening to destroy all chances of meaningful education in our schools.
Cecilia Valenzuela Gee
Retired teacher, Tucson
Ebert a generous, treasured friend
I sat desk-to-desk with my former colleague Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun-Times for five years back in the '70s, and he remained my friend, mentor and biggest "fan" to the very end of his life.
When I faced a life-threatening illness two years ago, it was Roger's insight, gleaned from his battle with cancer, I valued most. He reached out almost daily, checking in with words of encouragement and concern - and valuable practical advice. I knew how busy he was, but the messages kept coming. And they didn't stop until a couple of weeks ago.
I intended to give him a couple more, as I always did when I suspected he might be having a relapse of some kind, before checking back in. I fully expected him to write back to tell me about some new treatment that had slowed him down for a few days, picking up the conversation where we left off two weeks before.
I'll miss seeing his name in my list of email messages. His was always the first message I read, to see what new treasure he'd found or how he felt about something I'd written. What an honor it was to be part of his world.
Cynthia M. Dagnal-Myron
Marriage designed to protect children
Regarding the two same-sex marriage cases currently before the U.S. Supreme Court: I hope the justices will do the right thing and recognize that children are endowed by their creator with the unalienable right to have a mother and a father.
Legalizing same-sex marriage will inevitably lead to denying thousands of children that fundamental right. The main reason governments got into the business of registering marriages in the first place was to give some legal protection to children, who cannot defend themselves - not to pass out goodies to two adults who happen to live at the same address.
In the current debate climate, however, about all we hear is self-centered adults demanding, "Give me this benefit, give me that benefit …" and the rights of children are mostly ignored and swept under the rug.
Trolley follies are just beginning
Re: the April 5 article "Hurt cyclist, 1 of dozens, files $3M claim over trolley tracks."
I see in the Star that the lawsuits have begun rolling in as people begin to fall over the new trolley tracks. Too bad that we can't take the money from the salaries that the Tucson mayor and City Council are paid.
For much less there could be electric buses; if they need to go another way all you have to move the wires. With trolley tracks, moving is a big job and riders have to dodge vehicles while they get to the trolley stop.
With this kind of stupidity is it any wonder that Pima County residents don't want to be part of the City of Fools.
Stuart A. Hoenig
Professor emeritus, University of Arizona, Tucson
Time for moratorium on Arizona executions
It's time Arizona declare a moratorium on executions and spend a few years taking a good long look at the death penalty.
With seven Arizona death-row inmates being exonerated since 1989 I wonder how many more should be? And worse, how many have been executed who were innocent?
With currently 124 men and women on death row and seven who have been exonerated, the odds are about 1 to 20 that there are innocent men and women awaiting execution.