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Focus on testing diminishes love of learning

One of the saddest moments of my life happened the other day when my wife and I overheard a conversation by our two young boys. My kindergartner-to-be was telling his third-grade older brother how excited he was to go to school for the first time.

His face was full of wonder and joy about experiencing school for the first time. He was so proud to tell his older brother what wondrous things he would do next year. All this enthusiasm and joy of learning was thwarted by his idol (older brother), who stopped listening and began to speak:

'You shouldn't get all excited because school isn't fun anymore. All you do is sit at your desk all day working on worksheets and getting ready to take tests.'

This broke our hearts to overhear this, so naturally we were compelled to try and sell our youngest on the glass half-full. Only time will tell if we succeeded, but perhaps it's time for the people of this country to get mortified by the reality that we are destroying our children's innate desire to learn in favor of babysitting, cost cutting and special interest groups.

The only agenda that a civil society should fight for, beyond all means, is that our children should be given an opportunity for a brighter future. This is the backbone for all cultures that wish to thrive or, at a minimum, sustain themselves.

As I write this, I understand all too well the underpinnings of capitalism and the competition model that drives our GDP. But perhaps I should suggest again (as Robert F. Kennedy did in his 1968 speech at the University of Kansas) that we are measuring the wrong things when it comes to our society and more specifically our school system:

'Yet the Gross National Product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.'

We must stop this Horace Mann 'easy road model' to measure children against each other before our youth despise all things learning and find school life to not be worth their time. Or has this already begun?

Stop the testing madness.

Darren Hudgins

Forest Grove

University's plans shouldn't force homeowners out

I have lived at 2402 Sunset Drive for the past 34 years with my wife and family. I am 72 years old and am not ready to relocate to a different city, which I would do if forced to leave.

Pacific University wants to take over the remaining three homes on the west side of Sunset Drive between the aquatic center and 2410 Sunset Drive so they can make even more parking space for even more students and an occasional visiting school bus.

They also want to move their maintenance center. The present facility is leased and I presume could be purchased from its present location owner instead of burning down my home.

They also want a different location for visiting school coaches to meet in instead of the stadium location they built just a few years ago.

This is called 'for the public interest.' I believe it is solely for Pacific University's interest - the homeowners and taxpayers be hanged!

In Forest Grove, what Pacific U. wants, Pacific U. gets.

Thank for any support on our behalf.

Robert Lamb

Forest Grove

Monitoring air quality is crucial at Hillsboro airport

The lead issue at the Hillsboro Airport ('Hillsboro's Lead Balloon,' News-Times, May 30, 2012) is of national concern, but can be resolved on a local level. This can be accomplished by monitoring the airport for lead emissions (and other pollutants) and curtailing the extensive flight training at the Hillsboro Airport.

The Hillsboro main library is across the street from the airport and a day care center is a few blocks away where children gather. Lead pollution is especially dangerous for children and the Centers for Disease Control just lowered the standard for what constitutes lead poisoning in children from the old standard of 10 micrograms for children younger than 6 years old to 5 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood.Miki Barnes (president of Oregon Aviation Watch) successfully won two appeals - unconstitutional airport overlay zone and improper environmental study for a third runway. Was Barnes wrong for appealing or was the Port of Portland and City of Hillsboro wrong for trying to do things that weren't legal?

To put in a third runway at a cost of millions of dollars of taxpayer money and to say it would have no environmental impact is unsubstantiated.The impact to the livability in Hillsboro for the monetary benefit of agencies and private companies is not worth the risk to the citizens' health.

R. Warren

Hillsboro



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