Letters for April 1, 2010

Career days

Re “The RN&R Teen Issue comes of age” (Editor’s note, March 25):

It’s refreshing to hear teens speak and write with grace and honesty. Hope Kelsey Bauder stays at the magazine for a while. RN&R is one of those things where it’s hard to see yourself taking over (e.g., I can do a better job than our mayor).

Joe Salcedo

All American schools

The record of the educational establishment in this country, including schools of education and federal and state departments of education, is abysmally clear. They are forces of anti-education. Future teachers should be majoring in a subject they plan to teach, not in “education.” We should do what New Zealand did years ago: Shut down all federal and state “education” agencies—eliminating huge amounts of redundant and mostly pointless administrative overhead in the process—and return schools entirely to local parental control. The parents are the ones with the vested interest. Only they get to decide what happens in schools, not education professionals. Students can go to any local school their parents want, and schools are funded accordingly. The student/teacher ratio is fixed, and schools that lose students lose teaching positions. And, no, this did not cause an exodus from schools in “bad” neighborhoods. Rather, it fosters competition and educational and cultural variety. The parents and students win. We need to realize that, for the most part, the educational establishment in this country is the problem, not part of the solution. Go back and read what the founders of state education in this country actually said about their motives. Unlike the current generation of education professionals, they were quite open about their agenda. They weren’t talking about increasing literacy. Literacy rates had been going up quite nicely without them, and history has shown that their intervention actually didn’t help. Rather, they were talking about indoctrination, and molding immigrant children into their concept of “good Americans.” If we really want to improve education in this country, and turn out students who can find a cure for cancer or Alzheimer’s or discover new ways to generate clean energy, we need to strip away the power of the educational establishment and get back to real education.

Susan Lloyd

Similarly different

Re “Schools of broken dreams?” (Upfront, March 25):

I fail to see the relation between the University of Phoenix and ITT Technical Institute other than the amount of Pell grants used at both locations. In the article, they were both called “technical schools” and yet they both have different accreditation. The University of Phoenix is regionally accredited and ITT is not. There is a vast difference between the two schools and what agencies accredit them. This information can be found at www.collegesource.org. Could you please tell me how you see the two schools so closely related, besides the amount of Pell grants utilized and both being for-profit? At this point, I see it as a misrepresentation and incorrect statement.

Austin Weiland
Georgetown, Texas

Invest in peace bonds

Re “We’ve spent over $711,343,548,694 on the Iraq War” (Feature story, March 18):

These are all great ideas, but what I’d do with the money is spend it to make sure we never get into a debacle like Iraq again. That means spending on rail, transit, bicycle and pedestrian facilities and operation so that we are not dependent on oil from the Middle East. Wind, solar and geothermal are useful, but they would largely replace coal. To get off oil, we need to revise our transportation system, and that will cost a lot of money. Though one can argue about how much our addiction to oil was responsible for our invasion of Iraq, it was clearly a major factor. Once we are no longer dependent on oil from those countries, we might be able to start developing a relationship based on mutual respect, and certainly an appreciation for the people of the countries whose governments we may not like, rather than a co-dependent relationship that always leads to trauma. That is the way to make sure that we don’t continue to get into Iraq quagmires.

Dan Allison
Carson City

Power exchange

Re “Power to the people: NV Energy gets money from the government to help NV Energy” (Greenspace, March 18):

C’mon guys, I’m sure you couldn’t resist the snide header, but a smart grid, including smart meters for all customers, raises all boats! Pardon the mixed metaphor. And thanks for the tight submittal policy on your website! I despise anonymous responders hiding behind on line IDs. More copies of RN&R in Carson!

Steve Waclo
Carson City

The lies we’re told

In 1974, as an undergrad, I once took a class from a long-time respected anthropology professor. He was a scholar of African societies and spoke a number of African languages. In class, while discussing the difference in stability between the political institutions in the United States and those of the states of Africa, he alluded that one reason that African politics was so fractious, volatile, and unstable was due in part to the language used to refer to the political opposition. He told us that the “mildest” reference he had come across in speaking about an opposing political party was the “Chief Enemy.” The discussion went on to the historical and cultural factors that influenced this thinking such as, tribal societies, etc.

As I think on his comments, I believe that the instability of “Chief Enemy” politics in the United States has now completely pushed aside all reason. We have replaced compromise, which was once fairly broadly accepted as the unavoidable part of the rough and tumble of life in a heterogeneous democratic society, with the desire to dominate and destroy the opposition in vicious circle politics. And those that express legitimate differences within democratic dialogue are drowned out by the spitters, true believers, and spouters of undefined slogans seeking to give the illusion of broad consensus of opinion while intending to destroy communication and make democracy impossible. They want reason to be subordinated to their ultimate view of the truth by rejecting any tentative and tolerant discussion of truth and values and replacing it with their patriotically holy non-negotiable demands which they believe should trump compromise, tolerance and civility.

Dan Porath

Home means Reno

Re “Letters from the Real World” (Feature story, March 25):

I just thumbed through your latest issue, featuring teens who had left Reno either to realize that there is no place like home, or there is a greater world out there besides this unique little hole in the wall that they once called home. When I had just turned 17 years old, I foolishly ran away to Europe, with less than $1,000 in my pocket and a small notebook to journal my adventure. I had no idea how much this event would impact my life. Long story short, I grew up in the month that I was gone, and my world completely changed. Never had I realized that Reno meant more to me than anywhere else I had been before. I came back changed and now am more involved with the Reno art and music scene, trying to promote what Reno has to offer. That would have never happened if it wasn’t for Europe, and I have a newfound respect and appreciation for the people who live here, the local music and art created, and Reno itself.

Chelsea Showalter