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Letters to the Editor - Lakeville Journal - 2-27-19

HVRHS student data is Not Yet Proficient

The recent student data that the Housatonic Valley Regional High School (HVRHS) administration is using to compare previous Ds and Fs to current NYPs is, I believe,  purposely deceiving and only suits their agenda. They were called out on this a year ago, yet just two weeks ago, presented the same data to both the Region One Board of Education and The Lakeville Journal.

Under the new grading system, any grade under 70 is now considered an NYP (Not Yet Proficient). These NYPs are equivalent to the old Ds and Fs. The data that was recently presented reflects Ds and Fs without considering that many students may have had both a D and an F, thus counting those students twice. Board member Jennifer Weigel asked for clarification at the Feb. 5, 2018, board meeting. When it was confirmed that some students were counted twice in the D and F numbers, Weigel stated that the data was not comparing “apples to apples”. Board chair Bob Whelan reiterated that the data was “difficult to assess because we cannot compare them.”

Yet, a year later, the administration is using those same numbers to compare old D and F data to new NYP data, as if we would simply forget that they were already proved to be misrepresented. And, apparently, the Board of Education forgot — there were no questions from across the table to the same numbers they questioned the year before. 

With all that said, even when/if the HVRHS administration presents fair numbers, these numbers do not measure actual learning, not to mention the tremendous price students and teachers have had to pay to navigate this new grading system.

Shari Marks

Sharon

 

Controlling life and death

The unspeakable is now being delivered to us live, online and worldwide. 

Gun-wielding wackos are coming out of the shadows ever more frequently and slaughtering the most vulnerable among us. Gestating their hate online, they are designing their pathological carnage events to be disseminated through the www. umbilical to the world.  Why is this?  

Are we imploding from societal and cultural degradation amidst rising income inequality mixed with a wildly successful “fear-for-profit” media entertainment industry — spiced with a hefty dash of click-bait? Have we  finally produced the requisite weapon for any individual to implement their own personal “final solution” to their hate-filled grievances — the personally rejigger-able and enhanceable firepower of the semi-automatic assault rifle? 

I believe there is a relevant biological dynamic to consider in this abhorrent behavior that has assumed such a refined repetitive signature in recent years.  In nature, top predators, for the most part, when hungry, do not hunt other animals as prey if the other animal is a physical threat to their own physical safety. Top predators hunt their prey, for the most part, by employing a dominating plan of attack (strategy), and overwhelming tactics (force and weaponry). 

An example: A hungry bald eagle spies a fish (food) in a river from a high perch. It starts by assessing the situation (height of perch, wind direction and speed, angle of the sun, obstacles to flight path, water current dynamics, depth of fish in the water, size and movements of fish). It formulates and implements a strategy to launch a precise and speedy descent that minimizes the possibility of  detection and maximizes its ability to capture the fish. It approaches with vastly overmatching force and weaponry (eyesight, airspeed, talons, gripping strength, wing lift strength). It employs both innate and practiced skill with its weapons to capture and kill its unaware prey.  Eagles employ this behavior because it gives them the best chance to kill their prey and survive. 

Translating this to the human condition we now see becoming ever more dominant in such horrifically repetitive events — the assaults on and mass killings of defenseless school, church and concert-goers, fellow human beings all — goes like this:  Humans are top predators. The hunger translates to the hate-filled grievance. The food translates to the sought-after desire to control life and death. The assessment of the situation translates to the studied identification and selection of a group of defenseless victims. The strategy translates to the preparation of: the surprise of the assault, the assault itself, the manifesto and the online coverage. The force and weaponry translate to the personally rejigger-able and enhanceable firepower of the semi-automatic assault rifle.   

We are biological creatures as much as, if not more than, societal and cultural ones. I suggest that we include some aspect of this perspective in our attempts to start to understand our ever-more-heartbreaking predicament.  

Michael Moschen

Cornwall Bridge

 

Community colleges should remain open

Recently several columns  in statewide media have shown how divided individuals are regarding the proposed consolidation plan to merge the state’s community colleges into one entity. This proposal appears to be the opening salvo in a war designed to dismantle the community college system as we know it.

Hiring three regional presidents suggests a move toward a regional community college system. This removes “community” from community college because the term “regional community” is an oxymoron.

Our community colleges provide access to individuals who may not consider going to college because of strict admission barriers.  They can earn associate degrees and then if they decide to further their education they can transfer seamlessly to other state colleges and universities.

When we think of our community colleges, we reflect on the distinct personalities of the communities served by Asnuntuck, Capital, Gateway, Housatonic, Manchester, Middlesex, Naugatuck Valley, Northwestern Connecticut, Norwalk, Quinebaug Valley, Three Rivers and Tunxis.

Some community members take courses for credit while others attend non-credit classes or courses that lead to certificates.  Lifelong learning programs with various names in Connecticut higher education are very important. For example, the popular LIR (Learning in Retirement) program available to residents of all ages offers community residents the opportunity to attend classes to learn about their specific communities. 

We need to find a way to keep the integrity of our two-year school system.

C. Kevin Synnott

Department of Business  Administration 

Eastern Connecticut  State University

Willimantic

 

Thanks for supporting Lloyd Fund

What another fun, amazingly magical night at The White Hart inn listening and dancing to the ever-so-talented Harlem Line Band! Thank you to all who attended and helped make the night a huge success, benefiting The Jane Lloyd Fund. 

Special thanks to each and every member of The Harlem Line Band and to the entire staff of The White Hart inn. We are all members of a very special part of the world and we are indebted to you and your continued generosity. 

We couldn’t help others in need without you. We are forever grateful!

The Lloyd Family

The Jane Lloyd Fund 

Advisory Board

Salisbury