Teachers must be competent

I'm a public schoolteacher, and I don't share the Times' enthusiasm for the shift to Common Core State Standards or for the adoption of new standardized tests. I believe the $1 billion claimed necessary to make the transition will be more wasted money.

The current standards and standardized tests are not the problem.

Teaching students to move perceptions through short-term memory to long-term memory, while organizing that information so that it's accessible for evaluation, is not an easy job. Too few educators even attempt it.

Colleges complain that the public school system sends them "A" students who can't read a complex text with deep comprehension.

We don't need better standards or tests, we need better standard-bearers as teachers and more tests of competence for people hired for 183 days a year and paid $70,000, with benefits and a retirement that will put them in a house in the mountains, sipping white wine, while the poor children who were taught nothing struggle to make a living in this competitive world.

Michael New

Crockett

Comic strips should moved to opinion page

I object to the placement of Doonesbury and Non Sequiter on the comics page. They are political cartoons that belong on the editorial or opinion page -- if you publish them at all.


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In the Jan. 16 Times, they essentially parroted leftist claims that the Republican Party is in tatters (Doonesbury) and St. Peter is chiding the gun advocates (Non Sequiter). They were biased and offensive, no matter where they appeared.

But my real objection is that unsophisticated readers, of all ages, are subject to this propaganda on the comics page, where they may be unduly influenced by the messages of these left-wing political cartoons by reading them and thinking they are attempting to be humorous and entertaining, like all of the other comics.

Patrick Nourot

Pleasant Hill

Paper should eliminate Mallard Fillmore strip

I wrote to the editor last year, citing Mallard Fillmore's obvious bias as belonging on the editorial page. I have followed the recent discussion concerning its appropriateness for the comics page, with several others agreeing that it belongs on the editorial page.

However, I have changed my mind about placing it on the editorial page. I believe it should be eliminated from your paper.

I really don't care what the political leanings are. His egregious fault is that he is simply not funny or witty. Further, what does a duck have to do with politics? I don't get the frame of reference, or are you telling me Bruce Tinsley sees his alter ego as a duck?

Don't misunderstand, I get the insults. He lays no claim on subtlety. I just don't understand why Mallard gets published over any of the other insipid bombastic ducks out there.

Stephanie Asbell

Martinez

Offense is in the eye of the beholder

It's funny how offense is in the eye of the beholder.

In his Jan. 16 letter, Stephen Whitney writes he wants Mallard Fillmore relegated to the editorial page because of his view of its "tea party" leanings.

Immediately above Mallard is Doonesbury -- which I love -- that is at least as politically tainted yet unmentioned by Whitney, apparently because it's left wing.

"First cast the mote out of thine own eye."

Ralph Hueston Kratz

Richmond

Gun triggers need fingerprint readers

Some ask why America can't regulate guns. The bigger question is: How can we keep guns from firing from people who should not have a gun?

The ideas of more stringent background checks for buyers, serial numbers more difficult to erase and microstamps on each shell, while good ideas, ultimately are a waste of time. They are good laws for law-abiding people, but most who commit heinous crimes with guns have no sense of right and wrong.

What is needed is a gun with a fingerprint reader on the trigger that only fires when the fingerprint of the legal owner is recognized. Gun sellers don't want this because black market sales of guns would drop significantly. Millions, if not billions, of dollars would be lost in gun manufacturing sales.

I feel this is the answer to diminish tragic killings and massacres. But who will step up to gun manufacturers and the NRA? It depends on how much we care.

David O'Brien

Fremont