Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - February 17, 2012

Letters

Don't require Algebra II

Editor,

The proposal to make high school graduation contingent on passing Algebra II is disgraceful. You can't get a job — any job — without a high school diploma; you can't even go into the infantry, not because the employer wants erudition, but because he needs workers who will come to work every day, read the directions, do the whole job and not cause trouble.

The pretense that math reform will enable more high school students to enter the state college system is even more disgraceful. Most, if not all of the economic class that can't pass Algebra II has already been shut out of state colleges and universities by extremely high fees — another disgraceful injustice, which should inspire universal protest.

In the last century, Europe learned the American lesson — that strength and prosperity come from using the contribution of all the people, not just some of the people. It's a lesson that we have been unlearning, and Palo Alto Unified School District is now proposing we waste our investment in the elite students as well.

Instead of adding more useful curriculum and more help with the hard subjects for the average kids, we're proposing to deny the best students the math course that is already in place, forcing them to waste their time on math that is below their ability, and pushing them to the back of the international employment bus.

When I expressed concern about outsourcing to someone who works for one of the biggest companies in Silicon Valley, he responded that outsourcing was necessary because over in India, they're superior in math.

Stephanie Munoz

Alma Street

Switch focus from autos

Editor,

The challenging issue for coming decades is climate change. Evidence for global warming is ubiquitous. In Palo Alto, unusually early spring and drought-like conditions flagrantly shift known weather patterns.

Automobiles are contributors to the warming world. Fossil-fuel-based transportation means further diminishment of scarce oil supplies and tie us to a volatile Middle East.

Applause is due for visionary actions of Judge Lucas, Palo Alto Director of Planning and

Community Environment, Curtis Williams, and City Council for encouraging the California Avenue streetscape plans.

Silicon Valley is the cradle of innovation. Alternate ways of moving are conceived and growing. The Future Med conference at NASA's Singularity University featured a company that produced boots that enable ground movement with wheels on one's feet!

New California Avenue will create a draw. In combination with the new composting facility, a more conscious society is making a model for environmental awareness. Limiting automobiles is a boon on multiple levels: For businesses, fostering California Avenue as "go to" place — like University Avenue — will flourish their venues. In some European cites, cars are prohibited in shopping areas. On summer evenings the streets are packed with shoppers and diners.

As we cease contributing to a threatened planet with cars, the tree-lined avenue will offer the special comfort of an ecologically protected space.

We need to "move" from known ways with changing climate. Switching focus away from automobiles creates a nurturing environment and sets the stage for alternative means of transportation to evolve, thereby creating essential adaptation to a newer world.

Bette. Kiernan

Sherman Avenue

Thanks for safe removal

Editor,

Now that "George" is no longer with us (except for the "rounds" being saved for our historical purposes), it is time to thank all those involved in taking down the tree and the effort to preserve some pieces for posterity.

The thanks begin at the top. City Manager Jim Keene deserves our gratitude for making it all happen. Kudos also to Paul Dornell and all those in Public Works who participated. In particular, I want to thank the tree crew. All deserving special thanks for a job well done — and the respect they showed during George's safe removal: Gina Segna, Derick Sproat, Joe Rapanut, Fernando Gama, Norberto Bugarin, Francisco Castenada, Ramiro Ramirez, Bill Croft and Glenn Berry.

Urban Cummings & "The Friends of George"

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