Don't be fooled by grad rate scam
Tennessee schools have seen a record high graduation rate (89.1 percent in 2016-17); Sevier County 89.2 (where I live); Memphis 53.2; Nashville 80.3; Knox County 89.6, for example.
Really, what does this uptick represent? Are we naive enough to believe that this statistic can somehow mean that our graduates know more? That some standardized test score is higher? Come on, guys and gals! So? There it is. We just have more education hot air.
I spent 42 years on college campuses in this country, Europe and Asia (senior Fulbright Scholar to India and Friendship Treaty lecturer to China) as a professor of psychology and psychiatry. The Bush/Obama/Gates model to reform education was, simply put, full of "it," and I don't mean the demon child killer Pennywise in "It."
We've just lowered academic and behavioral standards on the road to mediocrity and deviancy. It's the regression to a lower mean that we have been willing to settle for, and the pols are telling us that it's OK.
We Tennesseans should opt out of this "graduation rate game model" of trying to improve education because it's a scam.
B.J. Paschal, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Reserve statues for USA advancers
Emboldened by the Trump presidency, racists are crawling out from under their rocks, waving the Confederate flag and embracing Confederate statues. Their letters appear in this paper, giving derogatory advice to the NAACP and claiming that Confederate soldiers are patriots.
I had two ancestors who were officers in the Confederate army. They were traitors. This is a fact, not a derogatory statement. After the war, they avoided going to prison or a re-education camp because of the generosity of the United States of America.
I had another ancestor who avoided the Confederate conscription, joined and died in the United States Army. Following his example, I joined the United States Army and served for two years in ground combat in Vietnam. More than 58,000 real patriots died in that war; many of them were African-Americans.
Most of us with knowledge of history learned it through reading history books, not gazing at statues. Building statues is an act of reverence that should be reserved for those who have advanced the vitality of the USA, not for those insurrectionists who wanted to overthrow our duly elected government, destroy our nation and preserve the evil institution of slavery.
Terry Stulce, Ooltewah
Congress acting rashly on health plan overhaul
I know I am getting old but I am having real difficulty in understanding my Republican friends.
The new attempt at doing away with the Affordable Care Act defies imagination. The proposed Graham-Cassidy legislation is a disaster. The rush to passage without an assessment of cost and impact does not pass the smell test.
Sen. Lamar Alexander seemed to be doing what makes infinite sense to me, and we hear he has given up the search for a bipartisan solution to addressing the shortcomings of the ACA. Could collective greed of the few override the needs of the many?
We need to aggressively respond in a way that the politicians will listen to our concerns.
I want to urge everyone to contact your congressman and senators and tell them to slow down and let us review all proposals in the light of day. We cannot be playing a game of roulette with the lives of so many citizens.
Sens. Alexander and Corker and Rep. Fleischman, you must hear our call of legitimate concern. Remember, you were elected to represent all us.