TO THE EDITOR: There are good people in the North Country.
On Thursday, Jan. 2, at about 1:30 p.m., I was riding my bicycle on Point au Fer.
A maroon pickup truck went by, stopped, then backed up next to me. Two gentlemen, neither of whom I recognized, asked if I needed a ride (because of an emergency).
It was cold and breezy, but I was OK, so I thanked them, and they continued on their way.
Their kindness and consideration is very much appreciated.
HENRY VAN ACKER
TO THE EDITOR: Prompted by the contents of letters distributed Oct. 24 and Dec. 30 to “colleagues” by Education Commissioner King, I feel compelled to take issue by trying to explain some of what all this stuff is based on.
Ever since the turn of the 20th century, when Edward Thorndike became known for his experiments with the automatic associative learning capabilities of animals, a like-minded behaviorist theory of learning has been applied to humans, and the concept has permeated the educational landscape.
Given the present obsession with standardized tests (the aftermath of Thorndike’s work), you might think there are no effective alternatives to measure what has been learned — a clearly misguided premise. This mind set, however, has been so embedded in the psyches of the public, they seldom see the fallacies of this.
To standardize means to set a standard. The issue with the current Common Core standards is not that standardizing is wrong; it’s about standards being based on assumptions about individual human beings that are known to be incorrect or incomplete.
Behaviorism is the prime example because it essentially ignores our unique higher-thought processes, namely, synthesizing and critical/creative evaluation. Since outcomes from these cognitive processes are unique to each of us, they cannot be measured by a one-size-fits-all standardized test.
These cognitive processes are therefore missing from statements of standards and standardized tests; yet it is ingenuously claimed “assessments emphasize critical thinking.”
King’s two letters contain misstatements, illogical assertions, outright fabrications and downright immoral claims for success.
As a professional educator, had these papers been submitted to me in graduate school, I would have sent them packing. Substance would have been given precedence over symbolism. Where do other educators stand?
Elaboration can be found at www.robertlarnold.com.
ROBERT L. ARNOLD
Professor emeritus of education
TO THE EDITOR: I just read an interesting article in my daily “AOPA Aviation e-brief” newsletter: Pilot shortage is imminent, Air Force official says.
This seems to be a common problem today, both with our elected officials and society, in general. Pilots, even the common private pilots, are necessary to keep this nation moving. But, the aforementioned groups can’t seem to realize that.
Our local officials have not expressed any desire to deal with general aviation at all, quite the reverse, in fact. They seem to not understand the pilots of the big birds come from a basic flying introduction in general aviation, starting out with their initial flying lessons at small flight schools and private flying lessons with qualified instructors before they even get to practice with those big planes.
Our local airport and commission seem to not want anything to do with general aviation and completely ignore private pilots as a potential source of income for that airport.
There is no flight training available or even aircraft rentals, not even a good $100 airport hamburger meal, unless one wants to travel out of Clinton County. This is just compounding the problem mentioned initially, if one wants to just deal with that problem.
Some communities and their airports are actually trying to do something about this problem, by introducing local school kids to the airports and even getting pilots and the general community involved in “Airport/Community Appreciation Days.”
Not so our little community. They just seem to think their secretive meetings and discussions have nothing to do with general aviation, and that is a serious oversight.
TO THE EDITOR: Entitlement is a vague term that covers at least a dozen federal aid programs, including Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, food stamps, child nutrition and veterans compensation.
Entitlements cost more than Americans are willing to be taxed. Hypocritically, voters hate excessive spending and deficits but scream bloody murder if any political party even suggests a cut to their entitlements.
But draconian cuts are not needed. Modest shifts in eligibility requirements and benefit levels for Social Security and Medicare alone would produce billions of dollars of savings each year. These changes could be phased in over years to make them more palatable.
These programs should not be shielded from constructive criticism and change just because they hide behind an obsolete label.
TO THE EDITOR: We were appalled recently to learn that area pharmacists do not appear to practice according to the same professional standards as other health providers.
On Dec. 24, following my husband’s Dec. 23 surgery at Fletcher Allen Health Care, we arrived in Plattsburgh shortly after 5 p.m. with written prescriptions. Surprisingly, we learned that every pharmacy in the area closed at 5 p.m. and would remain closed Dec. 25. No pharmacist was on call.
Even more distressing was that the CVPH pharmacy would not fill the prescription for pain medication through the ER either. Our only recourse was to return to Fletcher Allen (on terrible roads that night) or wait until Dec. 26.
An antibiotic was prescribed at the followup appointment Dec. 31, and the order was sent electronically to a pharmacy in Plattsburgh. Arriving at 3:30, my husband found the pharmacy had closed at 1 and would reopen Jan. 2. Since he did not have a prescription in hand to take to another pharmacy, all closing at 5, he waited a day and a half once again to get the drug he needed.
We are appalled that emergency pharmacist care is not available after hours and on holidays in Plattsburgh, considering the large number of pharmacies in the area: at least eight stores with several locations.
It is especially galling that most of the stores in which pharmacies are located are open those evenings and holidays. Shoppers clearly have higher priority than patients.
We’re further appalled that CVPH ER and pharmacy refused assistance.
With so many area pharmacies, it seems quite reasonable that pharmacists staffing them would at least rotate holiday hours among themselves to cover the needs of area patients they are supposed to serve.