Let’s raise expectations for all students

To the editor:

Thomas Rodriguez’s Sunday commentary about the effects on minorities when UNLV raises admission standards was very disappointing. Having worked for many years with minority students and staff in education, I have always found that raising expectations and standards benefits all. In fact, maintaining low expectations and standards is a very effective means for “keeping down” those who most need to improve.

Raising the minimum high school GPA requirement to 3.0 means we are demanding only a “B” grade average. This is not “elite,” but rather a fair and practical target for all students who aspire to higher education, which requires higher-level thinking skills and challenges learners.

I must also come to the defense of community colleges, which the writer seems to impugn. In my experience teaching and tutoring community college students, these colleges have many more available resources to assist those who have low grades and other academic problems than do four-year institutions.

By successfully completing general education programs in community colleges, one is prepared to transfer to a four-year college.

Another bonus of community colleges: They are much more affordable than four-year institutions.

Rather than complain and castigate higher standards for all students, I believe Mr. Rodriguez would have greater impact if he would work toward stemming the high rate of high school dropouts among minorities. The fact is that despite the millions of dollars spent yearly to assist minorities in education, there still exists a dismal, high rate of high school dropouts among minorities. The goal of increasing the high school graduation rate among minorities is a very practical and critical one.

Paula Stone

HENDERSON

Disposal tomb

To the editor:

I concur with Review-Journal columnist Vin Suprynowicz on nuclear energy as the way to go (Sunday column). The nuclear rods should be reprocessed, similar to what France is doing.

As the technology gets better, it will help maximize the juice out of each atomic candlestick. Then, when it’s lifeless or harmless, it could be buried in Yucca Mountain.

If there remains some voltage in the rods, pack them in those original bullet-proof caskets and ship ’em into outer space behind Capt. Kirk’s Enterprise, to go where no man has gone before — the ultimate disposal tomb.

George Le May

LAS VEGAS

Toy safety

To the editor:

In the early 1970s, as a spokesman for the California Public Interest Research Group from San Diego, I led a group of fellow students in protesting dangerous toys at the toy manufacturer convention in Los Angeles. Along with other groups, we were trying to remove baby rattles from store shelves that had been imported from Asia and contained broken glass that several babies had swallowed, causing them horrible internal injuries.

During what was rapidly becoming a confrontational encounter, I won over the group of manufacturers’ representatives by explaining that we were on their side. I reminded them that American toy manufacturers were being undercut in the marketplace by substandard quality products coming from outside the country.

Since that time, our nation has instituted some of the best safety standards in the world for children’s toys.

It is very disheartening to learn some 30 years later that the producers of the nation’s toys have once again put our children in danger by circumventing our safety standards through the exportation of the manufacturing process to countries that have virtually no safety standards for their own citizens, and over which we have no knowledge of, nor control over, their manufacturing processes and materials.

STEVE NOVAK

HENDERSON

Car talk

To the editor:

Thank you for your Sunday editorial, “More traffic fatalities.”

As has been proved over the course of history, big government really does not care about the little guy. Smaller, fuel-efficient, low-emissions vehicles mandated by Washington are expensive, are technologically complicated, and are enormously expensive to fix.

The car-buying public knows these vehicles are unsafe — thus the switch to SUVs, vans and pickups. The public, however, has been hoodwinked, as larger vehicles are also downsized and lightened. Body panels are increasingly made of plastics and fiberglass. Bumpers look massive and strong, but are shoddy, light imitations of the heavy steel bumpers of old.

As usual, the little guy who pays the bills will die in increasing numbers in these Tinker-Toy cars. As usual, the politicians and the elite class will use heavy, expensive vehicles while shoving these other vehicles down our throats.

William Mulholland

LAS VEGAS

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