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Editorial Policy: Letters to the Editor may be up to 250 words in length. A handwritten signature (unless emailed), address and telephone number must be included. Letters must be received by no later than Monday at noon. Letters should pertain to a local issue and not be libelous or distasteful. Letters may be edited for content and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Clearwater Progress.



Letters to the Editor Print E-mail

Congressional Republicans stand up for average Americans?  Sure, right!

     Before last November’s congressional elections a local writer wrote about the depravity of big “D” people who, if elected, would abandon America’s veterans, take away Social Security and Medicare, and implied that eventually they would even take away your guns.

     Idaho Country Republicans even ran an ad supporting the same hogwash, reminding us that this is Idaho—the land of unbiased, clear thinking Fox News babble.

     Now that Congress has passed a federal budget keeping the federal government open (and keeping Social Security and Medicare checks flowing) it turns out the big “R” representatives in the House took the opportunity to slip in a few special interest amendments at the end of the budget bill!

     One amendment will gut the remaining restriction on Wall Street’s ability to use depositors’ money to gamble on derivatives and other risky default swap options, exactly like what led up to the 2008 economic collapse. Other amendments would reduce working Americans’ federally insured pensions by as much as 50% and raise the limits for individual political donations from $5,400 to over $360,000.

     So, once again the Republicans are setting the stage for another recession, even before we’ve recovered from the last huge 2008 recession caused by “Too Big to Fail Banks.” You remember, the near economic collapse that resulted in the American taxpayers paying these same banks nearly a trillion dollars to keep the system functioning!

     So the American worker gets screwed again, Wall Street is set to make billions more, and the political elite get to rake in even more donations in a system that is already thoroughly corrupted by money from special interests.

     Please tell me again how terrible and dangerous big “D” people are for America!

Jim May

Kooskia

Baxter misrepresents wolves

     The wolf is no gladiator. According to Mr. Black, you, should you be a rural resident of Idaho, think it is. If you see the wolf as a slave or as some poor ‘citizen’ out to pay his debts to society, the label of ‘gladiator,’ might loosely apply. On the other hand let us stay firmly rooted in reality.

     The wolf is an apex predator. He is not idle. He does not wait for handouts. His activities, his innate behaviors, were forged over eons. A superb hunter...not of trophies, but of failing prey. He hunts to live. In his wake the prey are left leaner and stronger, the mountains healthier.

     Wolves are viewed by rural folk as the mafia? Drug dealers? Muggers? Serial killers?  I give rural folk far more credit than that. Oh yes...Mr. Black thinks, and he attributes this belief to you rural folk as well, that the wolf considers anything that moves as prey. If this were true there would be far fewer deer hunters returning home from a day’s hunt.

     A quote from Mr. Baxter Black....”It took us years to get rid of them.” A job well done? Reason enough it would seem by some to kill these re-introduced vermin. After all...why can’t they just eat grass?

     Government, on the federal level these days, is far too invasive. Far too large. Yet, concerning wolf reintroduction to Idaho, is it actually showing common sense? Perhaps.

     We now have ‘Rural land owners vs.  urbanites.’ According to Baxter Black, “man has been playing his part in nature” since Columbus and Coronado laid the groundwork for man’s becoming the apex predator over wolves, bears, mountain lions, rattlesnakes and alligators. I suggest we include crocodiles as well. After all, as Mr. Black so eloquently says, ‘this is man playing his part in nature.’

     Getting rid of wolves is Nature’s way? Now that is hypocrisy.

     If Mr. Black is building a ‘bridge of understanding,’ he’d better revise his blueprints. Currently, he is building a toll bridge. It will be convenient, save time, and most importantly, the fees garnered will go toward what Baxter Black wants...the eradication of the Mafia from Idaho soil. Not to mention the drug dealers, muggers, serial killers and...oh yes, perhaps crocodiles should the need arise.

Chris Cooper

Kamiah

Help stop college and university rip offs

     If you have ever taken college or university courses and could not transfer your credits, or paid for a degree that was no good you need to contact your legislator and tell them to help pass a bill that will come before the Idaho Legislature in January 2015. It will amend Title 33-2400 of the Idaho Code concerning Post Secondary Educational Institutions.

     This legislation will require every college or university offering a degree in Idaho to have accreditation equal to the major universities and by doing so all course or coursework credits will be transferable and all degrees issued will be valid and accepted by business, industry and government.

     Help us to stop students from being ripped off when they are trying to better themselves. Contact your legislator through the following link: http://legislature.idaho.gov/who’smylegislator.htm and please tweet this to your friends. Stand up for your rights and Idaho’s. This is your chance to correct something through the legislature.

Ronald Harriman, chairman,

The Tax Accountability Committee of Idaho

Nampa, Idaho

 
Guest Editorial Print E-mail

Why educational reform cannot work

By Charles M. Reigeluth, Ph.D.

     Think of our schools as a horse and buggy—it worked well in a different time, but times have changed. Educational needs have changed as much as transportation needs. Retrofitting a horse and buggy will not give us an airplane, and yet we seem to expect that reforms to our schools will meet our new educational needs. And why shouldn’t we?

     We’ve never experienced a paradigm change in American education. All we know is piecemeal reforms. But there has been a paradigm change. In the mid-1800s, as our communities transformed from agrarian to industrial societies, the one-room schoolhouse no longer met our educational needs and was gradually replaced by the current, factory model of schools. This was a paradigm change because the fundamental structure of the one-room schoolhouse was different—it had no grade levels, no courses, no standardized norm-referenced tests.

     Could it be that once again our educational needs have changed so dramatically that only paradigm change will be effective? To answer this question, we should first determine whether our current educational systems are meeting our needs. Consider the following:

     •More than half of America’s high school seniors are not proficient in reading, and 75 percent can’t do math, according to the recently released National Assessment of Educational Progress.

     •The PISA test administered by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in 2012 found that the United States ranked 17th in reading, 27th in math, and 20th in science among the 34 OECD countries (http://www.oecd.org/pisa/keyfindings/PISA-2012-results-US.pdf).

     •The hidden curriculum–compliance and tolerance for boring, repetitive tasks–was very important for manual labor during the Industrial Age but is counterproductive for the initiative and problem-solving skills needed for knowledge work in the Information Age.

     •Our communities are increasingly segregated by socio-economic status, resulting in greater disadvantages for many students.

     Clearly, our schools are not performing as well as we would like and need them to in an increasingly competitive global economy.

     This poor performance is not due to lack of effort. Since “A Nation at Risk” was published in 1987, billions of dollars have been spent on educational reforms. So why have they failed, and why are they destined to continue to fail no matter how much money we spend on them?

     The primary reasons have to do with fundamental changes in society–its educational needs and tools. To understand this, it is helpful to consider a truth about learning: Students learn at different rates. Yet our current paradigm of education tries to teach a fixed amount of content in a fixed amount of time. So the current structure, by basing student progress on time rather than learning,

     •forces slower students to move on before they have mastered the material (thus accumulating gaps in knowledge that make future learning of related material more difficult and virtually condemn those students to flunking out), and

     •holds back faster learners, demotivating them and squandering their sorely needed talents.

     A system designed to not leave children behind would have each student move on only when s/he has learned the current material, and as soon as s/he has learned the current material. Until schools make this fundamental structural change, they will continue to leave children behind, no matter what educational reforms we make–be it more high-stakes testing, more teacher professional development, smaller class sizes, more focus on basic skills, longer school day or year, or whatever the latest fad.

     So what does this have to do with changes in society? Alvin Toffler has convincingly described how societies undergo massive waves of change, from the Hunting-and-Gathering Age, to the Agrarian Age, the Industrial Age, and the Information Age. Each wave has brought about paradigm change in all of society’s systems:

     •the family (extended family in the Agrarian Age, followed by the nuclear family, and now the working-parent family – dual-income and single-parent);

     •transportation (horse and sailboat in the Agrarian Age, followed by a combination of the railroad and steamboat, and now the automobile and airplane);

     •lighting systems (flame, incandescent bulb, LED);

     • health-care systems;

     •legal systems;

     •communication systems;

     •and, of course, education systems.

     The one-room schoolhouse was the predominant paradigm of education in the Agrarian Age, the current factory model of schools in the Industrial Age, and the learner-centered paradigm (which exists only in about one percent of U.S. schools so far) in the Information Age.

     The reason for these paradigm changes is that each wave of change creates different ends and means—different purposes for education and different tools for education. Regarding purposes, during the Industrial Age, manual labor was the predominant form of work. We did not need to educate many people to high levels; rather we needed to separate the future laborers from the future managers and professionals by flunking them out. We needed a system that could sort the students—that would leave the slower students behind. So we invented time-based student progress, norm-referenced testing, and letter (or number) grades.

     But in the Information Age, knowledge work is becoming predominant. We need a system that is focused on maximizing every student’s learning, which is evidenced by our talk about “no child left behind.” This requires a system in which student progress is based on learning, not time. Furthermore, the hidden curriculum in the Industrial Age paradigm was training students to be compliant and tolerant of boring tasks, important preparation for the assembly line. That curriculum is counter-productive for knowledge work. Now we need a hidden curriculum of initiative, problem-solving, collaboration, and lifelong learning, which can perhaps best be achieved through self-directed, project-based learning.

     As for education tools, information technologies make it much easier and less expensive to customize student progress and other aspects of instruction, enhance intrinsic motivation, integrate criterion-referenced testing with teaching (as is done in the Khan Academy–www.khanacademy.org/about), and keep track of what each individual student has learned.

     There are many schools in which paradigm change has already been happening—more than 140 are listed in Reinventing Schools. But in contrast to piecemeal reforms, paradigm change entails fundamental changes throughout the entire system:

     •the instructional subsystem (from teacher-centered to learner-centered and self-directed, from standardized to customized, from extrinsic to intrinsic motivation),

     •the assessment subsystem (from norm-referenced to criterion-referenced, from separate from instruction to integrated with instruction, from artificial to performance-based),

     •the record-keeping subsystem (from comparative grades to an inventory of attainments),

     •the roles of teachers (from “sage on the stage” to “guide on the side”),

     •the roles of students (from passive, teacher-directed to active, self-directed),

     •the roles of parents (from cookie bakers to partners in their children’s learning),

     •the roles of technology (from tool for the teacher to tool for the learner).

      Where piecemeal educational reforms are destined to fail, paradigm change will eventually succeed. This is a point that policymakers fatally overlook, with devastating consequences for our children and consequently our communities and economy.

     The recognition that students learn at different rates also requires rethinking the definition of “achievement gap.” It is traditionally defined as the gap in achievement between groups of students of the same age—typically by racial or socioeconomic groups. This definition arose out of Industrial Age thinking, expecting all students to be the same, and results in a misplaced emphasis for improving education.

     The achievement gap that we should be most concerned about is the gap between what an individual student has learned and what that student could have learned. The goal should be for all children to reach their potential, not for all to have learned the same things by the same age. The only way for all to learn the same things by the same age would be to hold back the faster learners.

     The United States espouses the goal of leaving no child behind, but it is clear that our Industrial Age system with time-based student progress is designed to leave children behind, and no educational reforms within that paradigm can change that dismal fact.

     Toffler’s insights show us why paradigm change is needed at this point in history—indeed, why it is inevitable, just as the transformation from the one-room schoolhouse to the factory model was inevitable. The major concern is how long this paradigm change will take, and how much damage will be done to our children, their communities, and our economy before it happens.

     Toffler’s insights also help us to see what the new paradigm should be like and how it will greatly improve student learning, equity and cost-effectiveness while simultaneously professionalizing the teaching occupation. The book Reinventing Schools elaborates on that vision, describes three school systems that fit the new paradigm, along with evidence of their effectiveness, and offers guidance for what school systems and policymakers can do to engage in this transformation.

     Until educators, policymakers, and the public understand that the paradigm must change from one in which student progress is based on time to one in which it is based on learning, we will continue to leave children behind, regardless of what piecemeal reforms we make.

Charles M. Reigeluth has a B.A. in Economics from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Instructional Psychology from Brigham Young University. He taught high school science for three years, was a professor at Indiana University for 25 years, including department chairman for three years. He is the author of Reinventing Schools: It’s Time to Break the Mold (www.reinventingschools.net).


 
What's new Print E-mail
Written by Angela Broncheau   

Ee-too-tum-tine    

     Prayers for all the families suffering from the loss of a loved one these past couple of weeks. Prayers of comfort for the families of Maynard Ellenwood Jr. as they prepare for his final services.  Prayers for safe travels for those traveling to be with his family.

     Kamiah and Lapwai Nimiipuu Health Clinics will be closed from 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 19, so staff may attend the Nez Perce Tribe Employees Christmas Dinner at Clearwater River Casino. NMPH clinics will also be closed Dec. 25-26 for the Christmas holiday and will resume regular business hours Monday, Dec. 29.

     James Lawyer was proud to share that enough money has been raised over in Wallowa for their Longhouse; building will begin soon with plans to be completed in 2015. Congratulations to James Lawyer and committee for their commitment to raise the funds!

     Okay Kamiah Kubs, Lady Kubs, let’s regroup, refocus and play ball!  You can do this, the season is still young! Get it done! Gotta love our KUBS!

     Anniversary blessings to Al and Julia Wheeler!

     Birthday blessings to Harvey Walker, Farley Eaglespeaker, Isabelle Cruz, Loretta Higheagle, Ron McKinney, Carolyn Amerman, Belle Walker, Susie Ellenwood, Macqoy Walker, and Darryle Dow Broncheau!

     Friendly reminder, “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk!” Always have a designated sober (licensed) driver! Enjoy the holiday season!

Yox Kalo^ (That’s all!)

 

 
Wolf Problems? Print E-mail

The following list of numbers is offered for anyone who experiences problems with wolves. 

 

Suspected Livestock Predation

Call USDA Wildlife Services, 1-866-487-3297 or contact Justin Mann, local Wildlife Specialist at 208-869-3297. Personnel will be dispatched to investigate.

 

Frequent Wolf Sightings

Contact the Nez Perce Tribe, Curt Mack at 208-634-1060. They will gather and record information, then provide advice.

 

Report Sighting of a Wolf

Go to Idaho Dept. of Fish & Game website to fill out a wolf report form: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/wildlife/wolves/

 

Health and Human Safety Concerns

A wolf may be killed if life and human safety is at risk. Contact Idaho Fish & Game at 208-799-5010 or call Nez Perce Tribe at 208-634-1061 or 911 Sheriff dispatch. All wolf kills will be investigated.

 


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