Letters to the Editor, May 15
School board commended for selection process
To The Editor:
As one who has been critical of the school system administration and board, I want to thank the Bedford County School Board for their recent selection of Dr. Ray Butrum as their choice for Director of Schools. I truly believe that at the beginning of the process of selection that several board members had their mind made up and were not intending to follow the selection process. I applaud those who saw the process through and based their decision on the interview and not politics.
I have been critical of the school system for several years because I truly believe our students deserve better than what is being offered. Bedford County has great students, but many seem to lose direction as they enter middle school and high school. Our system is shortchanging students when it does not offer to discipline, motivate, encourage, and demand a passion for success.
Many politicians believe that one test in a student's life determines their academic competence for life. This is not true. The TCAP, End of Course, and ACT are no indicator of success. Our government says it wants all students to graduate and attend college.
However, it is now extremely difficult for an average student to attend college without remedial classes which cost extra money and time in college. However, if a student had Bs and Cs in high school should they not have Bs and Cs in college. This type student will have the same degree and someone with all As and many times prove to be better employees. Just because a student can't score well on TCAP, End of Course, or ACT does not mean they cannot be a successful student!
In addition, all students are not alike! It is absurd for our state to require every student to have chemistry, biology, geometry, etc. It does not take a rocket scientist to know education was successful when students wanted to attend school rather than being forced to attend school.
These issues cannot be solved by any one person or entity but parents can make the necessary changes in time. As long as politicians make the decisions concerning education things will only get worse.
Let me make a suggestion to the politicians. Why not, instead of blaming teachers, listen to teachers? After all, they are in the trenches every day. If teachers are asked, most will tell you that No Child Left Behind, inclusion classes, the new state graduation requirements, TCAP, End of Course, ISS, etc has done nothing but damage education.
Please, let's work together as parents to improve our children's education.
John L. Houston
From bugs to verse
To the Editor:
I'm new to the state of Tennessee.
Things taken for granted are all new to me.
The word, "cicada" sounds so... "Genteel South",
When y'all drawl it around inside your mouth.
"ci-caaaa-dah ci-caaaa-dah", what a beautiful word!
A new word for me that I'd not yet heard.
So when I saw the first emerge on a tree,
I was giddy with joy. It delighted me.
"To the garden, Children, there's a wondrous surprise,
For an insect is morphing before our eyes!
See his wings, they have grown and dry in the air.
His bulging out eyes...what a cute bug-eye stare!
O celebration! O fortune's delight,
To witness miraculous, marvelous sight!
Never such a creature, have ever I seen
In all of the Northern states where I've been.
And listen, my children, what do you hear?
He is making a noise. It's quite raucous and clear."
Then, in answer from everywhere, all around,
The air was filled up with Kazoo-like sound.
Like a thousand chain saws: a cacophony...
Cicadas were covering EVERY tree!
Like vuvuzelas buzzing, this beating of wings,
A swarm of insects, Hitchcockian things!
We covered our ears at the terrible sound...
And MORE were emerging from holes in the ground.
I grabbed the children and began to run.
A plague like in Biblical curses had come!
They'd devour the Earth and purge our land,
As they punished Pharaoh, they punish man!
We ran inside and we slammed the door,
Turned on the tv, and sank to the floor.
Gasping, and wheezing and catching our breath,
Afraid of the insects, these banshees of Death.
But the newscaster calmly allied our fears,
"These cicadas emerge every thirteen years.
They damage no flora, they're harmless it seems,
Though if they land on you, you're likely to scream.
Their noise is deafening. They annoy when they fly,
But if you child catches one, he surely won't die.
When you mow the lawn, they will buzz at your head,
But a month from now, they'll all be quite dead.
They aerate the soil, and are good as fish bait,
Festivals are planned just to celebrate.
And the exoskeletons that litter your lawn,
Enrich it, you know, It's a Good Thing they spawn."
"Ci-caaa-dahs Ci-caaa-dahs", like ... "Kud-zoooo," and "Seed-tic",
are old Southern words for the concept of "ICK"!
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