News From Terre Haute, Indiana

May 14, 2013

READERS' FORUM: May 14, 2013

The Tribune-Star

---- — ISTEP failure exposes flaws

Two weeks ago students in Indiana schools suffered from the poor performance of a private testing company. Computers broke down in the middle of the ISTEP because McGraw/Hill hadn’t bothered to test what its own servers do under actual testing conditions.

According to a great column about the matter, the company admits it, but claims that since the tests should have been saved when interrupted, the company’s failure could not lower student scores or hurt school ratings. McGraw/Hill has failed to make adequate progress and should be reorganized, with its funding cut. That is, the company should not be paid, and the state should use the money on teaching our children instead.

The ISTEP takes many hours away from actual education even when it works right. This breakdown stole even more time from our kids’ schooling.

Let the teachers teach. They do a good job. McGraw/Hill and the testing industry, on the other hand, are just playing on our worries about our kids to line their own pockets. Shame on them, and on ex-superintendent Tony Bennett, ex-Gov. Mitch Daniels, House Speaker Brian Bosma, and the other politicians who gave this company so much money and power to fail.

— Samuel J. Martland

Terre Haute

Community hasn’t changed its spirit

A lot has changed in the more than 25 years since I left Terre Haute for the sunshine, heat, humidity, love bugs and hurricanes of Florida.

But while the physical appearances of neighborhoods, downtown and other areas have been altered — some for the better, others for the worse — one thing has not wavered.

That’s the true giving spirit of the people of Terre Haute.

Never was that more on display than the evening of April 26, when people of all ages gathered at South  Vigo High School for a benefit for former coach Mike Saylor.

They turned out to eat chili, bid on items at a silent auction and watch some old guys — and some not so old — play basketball.

The people were there to support Mike and people just like him — Jim Bogle, for one — who are battling cancer.

Cancer is an insidious disease that likely has touched someone in all of our lives. My mother died from it a few years ago when it sprang up out of the blue and took her life a few months later.

At South that night, the people of Terre Haute did what they do best. They came together for a friend, a coach, a teacher, a mentor, a genuinely good person.

You can change what the town looks like, what the neighborhoods look like and what the business district looks like.

But you cannot change the best part of The Haute — the heart, soul and giving nature of the people who live there.

— Rob Shaw

Palm Harbor, Fla.

Egregious threat to nation’s defense

The United States military’s mission is to defend the United States, its national security and vital economic interests. It is a fighting force. Its mandate is not nation building.

Nor is it a laboratory to experiment with social issues such as integrating gays or women with men into this institution of national defense.

The military depends on good order and discipline. When order is lost, unit cohesiveness and overall battle effectiveness are likewise compromised.

This sexual assault contagion among our already exhausted troops is an egregious threat to the national defense of the United States.

This stationing men with women in such close proximity and quarters must stop as such practice is beginning to tear asunder the viability this nation’s armed forces.

Common sense dictates the military must be segregated on the basis of sex in order to maintain good order and military efficiency.

Why this nation’s political and military leadership cannot grasp this basic fact of life is beyond me.

— Earl Beal

Terre Haute