Do you have a point you’d like to make or an issue you feel strongly about? Submit a letter to the editor.

F for standardized testing

The Bulletin’s “Why bother with gathering data in education?” editorial from March 15 succeeds as a piece of clickbait with a cranky, provocative headline. But is it also a thoughtful, persuasive writing informed by strong critical thinking? No. There, it fails.

The editorial implies that all data are equal. If we use one body of research to inform decisions about the school day schedule, the not-quite-logic goes, we’re beholden to use a totally different body of data, collected by utterly different means, to judge the success of our schools. Well, data doesn’t work that way. The scientific studies that prove adolescent kids do better if they sleep in later include multiple double-blind, peer-reviewed, repeatable, journal-published studies. Standardized testing, on the other hand, does not take place in a petri dish. It is plagued by hundreds of external variables and only measures a sliver of students’ development and learning. Conflating the two is a rhetorical trick, a way to complain that it’s too easy for Oregon parents to opt their kids out of testing, in an editorial that would’ve been better off just stating a position on the scheduling issue.

Additionally, the editorial names Kate Brown, conservatives and teachers unions in making it easy to opt out. In reality, Oregonians across the political spectrum — including nonconservative parents like me, who don’t belong to a teachers union — have come out against the monoculture of standardized testing.

Tiffany Lee Brown

Sisters

Support Sam Carpenter

I support Sam Carpenter for governor because I agree with his positions on three major issues:

Fiscal policy and government waste — I’ve watched our Oregon government continue to grow and cost more and more each year with less and less to show for it. To counteract this, Sam will balance the budget by reducing spending without new taxes and fees, instill a hiring freeze, end wasteful mismanagement and tackle the PERS problem.

Immigration — Oregon has defied the federal government for years with its sanctuary for illegals. Among them are the criminal illegal aliens who roam free, return after being deported and continue to commit brutal crimes. Sam will work with legislators to put an end to the current state policy, direct all state agencies to cooperate with federal law enforcement and eliminate loopholes that allow aliens access to public funds.

President Trump — Sam was the lone Republican candidate for statewide office to endorse Donald Trump in 2016. He did it before the primary and has continued to remain supportive of President Trump. Instead of governing our state, our current governor has been spending more time resisting President Trump. Sam stands for limited government based on our Constitution, will always put our state citizens first and has vowed to Make Oregon Great Again.

Richard Stanfield

Bend

Unions need a strong voice

The recent guest column on the Supreme Court’s Janus case was an attack on unions paying people to lobby, written by a lobbyist paid to destroy unions. Ironic.

Consider what is at stake.

What do you enjoy about your community? Safety? Good schools? Parks? They don’t just happen. Public-sector employees do that work. Invisible, until something goes wrong, then they fix it. They are expected to be courteous when berated, and courageous when their lives are threatened. They just do it.

I’m talking about our firefighters, teachers, police officers, bus drivers, school janitors and city planners: the people who care for our families. Public sector unions are the organizations that look out for them while they are busy looking out for us.

Unions are one of many voices elected officials hear when deciding how to allocate limited public resources. Without their union, the interests of public-sector employees would likely be overlooked. Those unions are a long-term investment in the things we love about our communities.

The Janus case is about whether employees should pay for the union advocacy from which they benefit. How many people would choose to pay for something they get for free?

If public-sector unions lose their voice, compensation and working conditions for those jobs will diminish over time.

Government employers will have greater difficulty recruiting and retaining the people who help our communities function. An anti-union Janus ruling will ultimately impact the well-being, and the investments we have made, in our communities.

Jamie McLeod-Skinner

Democratic candidate for Oregon’s 2nd Congressional District

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