City a pigsty 

City a pigsty

In case you haven't noticed, our city is a pigsty. Drive down Cantrell Hill, past Austin Brothers, past Junior Deputy to LaHarpe Blvd. and all one will see is litter. It's a disgrace and it was a disgrace last spring during the Little Rock Marathon.

Mayor Mark Stodola, instead of exercising his right to file for re-election, could exercise his gluteus in a maximum way by picking up this trash.

Think of the calorie burn that will ensue once our mayor just does it.

David McCreery
Little Rock

Will endure Boozman

Max Brantley wants us to vote for Sen. Blanche Lincoln to a third term as a U.S. senator, solely because she is, in his opinion, more palatable than the alternative, John Boozman. Well, that is the logic I've used in the previous two elections. Sorry, but that argument just won't work the third time.

Senator Lincoln has proven to be one of the most Republican-leaning Democrats in Washington, perhaps surpassed in that category only by Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska. Her voting record has consistently been anti-union, as shown by her refusal to support the Employee Free Choice Act and her vote against confirming Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board. These anti-union votes, along with her long-time advocacy for repealing the estate tax, have convinced me that she would be more comfortable at a chamber of commerce luncheon than at an AFL-CIO meeting.

There's only so much that can be asked of voters who want a real Democrat representing Arkansas in the U.S. Senate. Senator Lincoln has gotten my vote twice, but I have reached a point that I will not give it to her a third time. I will be one of those voters who, much to Mr. Brantley's chagrin, will vote for a third party candidate rather than Senator Lincoln, and I am ready to suffer the consequence of six dreadful years with John Boozman as our junior U.S. senator.

Thomas G. May
North Little Rock

Teachers and test scores

Well aytch e double hockey sticks John Brummett, let's just let any old boy off the streets come on in and try their hand at teaching school. They might could do better. This whole moronic argument makes me so angry. We (well, not me) have bought into the concept of the standardized test as God so completely that many ignoramuses automatically accept as fact that something so ephemeral as teaching/learning can be totally judged by the resulting scores. Doesn't anybody understand that there is so much more to judging the success of a teacher than standardized tests scores?

Who are the students in a class; what home environment do they come from; what is their diet; how much sleep do they get; do they have one parent or two, good parents or bad; where do they live, projects or gated community; what medical conditions do they have, what medications are they on (or need to be on); what kind of administration does the school have, great or poor; what kind of finances does the district have; rural, urban or suburban; how many English language learners; some kids are good at tests, some are not; what type teachers did the child have in the past; where did they go to school last year or last week; immigrants? migrant families? I could go on.

Standardized test scores are only one piece of the overall picture of the results of a teacher's work. A great teacher can work like a dog and get minimal results, and an average teacher, with the right situation, can get better results. Let's lay some of the blame for educational failures where it properly belongs — parents who don't care; incompetent administrators; incompetent politicians; a glut of immigrant children from other cultures with little English skills; rotten celebrity role models that teach kids music and sports are the paths to success; a consumer/advertising driven society that presses endless electronic playthings on our youth and draws them away from academic pursuits; generations of wealth and consumerism that have made us and our children lazy; no discipline at home or anywhere else; education colleges that are not worth a plugged nickel, and on and on and on again. Teachers are given a near impossible task and expected to perform miracles, then blamed when they can't. Tomorrow I am going into the classroom with 13-year-olds stoked on Mountain Dew and video games, half on Ritalin and the other half needing to be, and try to teach them something they could care less about. If we are so darn bad, you give it a shot. You wouldn't last a week. Neither would any of the other pompous idiots constantly crying for teachers' heads. If you want to make education better, go home and turn the TV off, read a book with your kid, say no to the next sugar blast, take the cell phone away. That would be much more helpful than the constant drum of criticism against teachers.



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