PARCC test complaints

The PARCC test has no clue. As an educator for over 40 years, I have seen many tests come down the pike. Most of the tests were challenging; however, they were giving the students a fair chance to succeed.

The PARCC test is not only unacceptable. If given to legislators and Gov. Christie, most of them could not pass the fifth grade language arts literacy test.

The state should get rid of part B in the multiple-choice questions, for they are so out of context that they are actually counterproductive, frustrating and unteachable. These children are 10 and 11 years old.

If the teachers are going to be held accountable for the children’s writing, then get rid of that tiny box they have to type in. Give them a normal-sized screen. Let’s make it fair.

John “Mike” Devono

Vineland

Democracy prerequisites

The U.S. is the only large industrialized western country without universal health care (worldwide, the U.S. ranks 36th in health care — one notch above Slovenia). Yet invariably, emphasis seems to be placed on killing people rather than saving lives (i.e. military budget trumps universal health care).

About 95 percent of the wealth in the U.S. is concentrated in 5 percent of the population. This asymmetry is greater than in the historical monarchies of the United Kingdom and France. Raising or cutting taxes is of meaning and consequence only to the economic elite and not the average citizen.

A true democracy is only possible with a sense of civic responsibility, economic equity and full employment (and free college education). Elimination of paradox and contradiction in favor of sense and reason would allow the U.S. to lead the world to a new status quo of quality of life in general and clean energy specifically.

John Raymond Stanks

Pomona

People need right media

Mike Barnicle described the atmosphere in the Trump White House as a “combustible concoction of chaos.” The head-scratching, mind-befuddling tweets, the grandiose self-promotion and the bizarre statements about Russia and authoritarian Vladimir Putin should caution even the most loyal Trumpster to reassess his latest tweet.

Meanwhile, another authoritarian, with pudgy cheeks and a bad hairdo, Kim Jong-un, is experimenting with nuclear weapons in North Korea. WikiLeaks disclosed a vault of national security secrets.

Finally, President Trump decried “the fake news media” as “the enemy of the people.”

In these difficult and insecure times, the people need a robust “fourth estate” more than ever. Sadly, the print media in this digital age are struggling to survive. Through social media and an increasingly balkanized array of electronic media, people can cherry pick their sources of information to comport with their established views.

The reality is that there are facts and there are opinions. There are also professional, responsible media and there are propagandists.

Democracy is dependent upon an informed citizenry who make every effort to become knowledgeable on public policy issues and then cast a discerning vote based on real facts, not alternative ones. National security and the future require everyone (regardless of their predisposed thoughts on these matters) to judiciously peruse the information landscape and separate the wheat from the chaff.

Jim Schroeder

Port Republic

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