Schools aren't failing, but culture is

To the editor:

Contrary to popular perception, schools aren’t failing. Critics eagerly look at test scores and graduation rates so they can point fingers at teachers and schools, calling them failures. Many enthusiastically claim that reducing funding will punish educators and motivate them to work harder. Such harmful claims are making the situation worse, one step at a time.

But schools are not failing. Our culture is.

Students have begun to realize they can put forth minimum or no effort with little consequence. It used to be that students would bring home low grades, and the parents would ask, “What’s your problem? Why aren’t you working? We’ll allow you to play baseball when you bring your grades up.” Too many students today can bring home low grades, and the parents start cursing the schools and the teachers. Students conjure up tears and claim, “I’m trying my hardest, but the teacher won’t tell me what I’m supposed to do.” It’s much easier to make this claim than to sit down and do homework. Such claims also generate a lot of drama and action.

Our culture is also failing our young people by placing massive glory on celebrities and athletes. The quickest way to reach mind-blowing riches is to be extremely good at throwing and catching balls or to be extremely good at producing crystal clear sounds with one’s voice. Our society throws increasingly huge mounds of money at these people, simply because they’re entertaining to watch. Even kindergartners notice who their parents identify as important people. Celebrities and wealth are highly valued in our society, not hard work and education.

The more we blame schools and teachers, the more harm we’re doing to our children. Think about what children see every day. Too many of them hear adults admonishing schools while casting their highest praises on those who entertain us. How is this daily dose of misplaced blame and celebrity worship going to motivate our children to work for academic success?

Who still cares about academic success? Other cultures do. Our teachers and schools do. I see it every day.



Sense the sarcasm

To the editor:

It amazes me that corporations such as Apple and MGM Resorts International would so foolishly turn to an energy source the Review-Journal editorial board has so decisively shown to be a mistake.

According to the Review-Journal, solar energy reliance will cost millions of jobs and can’t be relied upon. What if it’s a cloudy day? What if the sun’s intensity suddenly dims? Who’s to predict those things? We know that oil and gas are always in ample supply, are safe and eco-friendly and are extremely affordable. Who knows what the sun’s owners might decide to charge?



No need to stew

To the editor:

The Paula Deen situation is much ado about nothing. I really can’t see what all the fuss is about.

If someone works hard to produce a good product that makes a lot of money for the big-name stores, or cooks food that millions of people enjoy, what difference does it make what she “may have said” years ago, or even last week?

Why can’t the public be allowed to decide her fate? If they no longer want anything to do with Paula Deen, then the stores and publishers and TV networks can cancel her products. In the meantime, all her good works should speak for themselves. Remember Martha Stewart?



Language lesson

To the editor:

Regarding the fall of Paula Deen: People who become household names need to remember that their language is always on display.

Years ago, many classrooms displayed the following quotation: “Do unto others as you would wish others to do unto you.” The basic problem is that many people grow up, become famous and think absolutely no one will know what they said in their earlier life.



New tax not needed

To the editor:

I’m going to stick my neck out and make a bold prediction. I see that the Clark County Commission is considering a tax hike to enrich another union (“Sheriff pushes tax hike,” July 3 Review-Journal). I predict the measure will pass, though two commissioners might oppose the measure, trying to fool the voters into thinking those commissioners really care about them. We certainly need another tax hike so we can keep the economy growing at its rapid rate.

Good job, commissioners.



More cops, more taxes

To the editor:

Two years have gone by, and Sheriff Doug Gillespie wants another tax increase, like he does every two years (Wednesday Review-Journal).

He wants 100 more officers. Doesn’t this mean 100 more cars, 200 more uniforms, 100 more guns and more eventual pensions? He wants two cops per 1,000 residents. Why?

We’re nearing 10 percent in sales tax, and there will be other groups campaigning for more taxes, too. You know what comes after 10 percent? Twenty percent. You now what comes after 20 percent? We all move to Canada.