From Our Readers
State Senate Candidate Goofed!
In regard to Chip Harrington’s recent guest column about Common Core (“The Standardized Test Trap,” May 8): from my reading, this is not a federal government program. The federal government does provide funds for the program, however. A consortium of states has contracted with a private testing service (Pearson) to provide tests that are aligned with the Common Core which was initiated by the states and adopted by Mass. It’s a little embarrassing when a candidate for a state senate seat throws out statements like: “It’s the feds reaching into your students’ classrooms and literally dictating how the teacher teaches,” when that is apparently not the case. That’s politics, I suppose.
Senate Candidate Didn’t Goof!
You are living in a fantasy land if you think Common Core is not a federal program. In March 2009, the Department of Education revealed its backdoor method of gaining federal control of state educational policy when Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the Race to the Top (RTTT) program—an opportunity for states to compete for a share of $4.35 billion reserved for state education incentives by the American Recovery and Restoration Act. To even be eligible for funding, states had to promise that they would fully adopt a set of common college- and career-ready standards supplemented with only 15 percent of their own standards.
Better Wait, MGM!
There is a reason why MGM is willing to pay large sums in mitigation funds to host and bordering communities: because MGM knows full well gambling becomes addictive—counting on it, in fact. People will not only lose their paychecks, but savings, retirement funds, houses and cars. Once homeless, many people will lose their jobs. Some will eventually turn to crime as a way to survive.
Everyone wants a piece of the casino pie. The state wants taxes; neighboring towns want mitigation funds. But where will this pie comes from? One hundred percent of it will come from gamblers, mostly within a 50-mile radius of the casino.
Residents are wiser now than they were when MGM coddled them with free ice cream last July. Many have seen pictures of the slums around Atlantic City and are aware of Nevada’s dire financial shape. Enough signatures were gathered, so the “Repeal The Deal” question should appear on the November ballot and give all Massachusetts residents a say. MGM would be wise not to spend any more money until the ballot initiative is voted.
One Carnivore to Another
A new brochure being distributed on Cape Cod warning tourists about the possibility of shark activity fails to point out that the most dangerous predator in the water isn’t the one with five consecutive rows of pointy teeth. That (dis)honor belongs to Homo sapiens. While there are a handful of well-publicized shark attacks around the world every year, humans pose the much bigger threat. We kill more than 100 million sharks and billions of other sea animals each year. When fish are dragged out of their ocean homes, their gills collapse, their eyes bulge out of their heads, and their swim bladders burst because of the sudden pressure change. Most sharks grow and mature slowly, have long gestation periods, and produce few young—making these animals particularly vulnerable to overfishing. The humans lined up at an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet beat sharks’ killing record by a nautical mile.