September 16, 2013

Letters to the editor: Common Core promotes Western writings

I have to wonder where Ralph K. Ginorio ("Common Core standards give away too much power," Sept. 7) gets his information about the standards. One thing is sure: He hasn't actually read them.

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The writer of a letter criticizing the Common Core standards for their “global” focus presented misinformation, a reader says.

Ginorio says the Common Core seeks "to produce 'global citizens' ... with little reference to their American citizenship or Western heritage."

Had he actually read the standards, he would know that they cite as exemplary instructional material works by the following figures: Thomas Paine, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Martin Luther King Jr. and Ronald Reagan.

What's more, the standards recommend the U.S. Constitution as a text deserving close study by all American high school students.

I can't believe this needs to be said, but I guess it does: People who want to write letters to the editor to vilify educational standards should first take a few minutes to read what they're about to criticize.

Michael Trombley

South Portland

Green space could resolve Congress Square conflict

The sale price of the Congress Square Plaza parcel is incredibly low. The City Council is divided, and the people are against the sale.

A middle ground can be carved. A rooftop public green space with upper-floor access from the hotel would be a gem in the heart of the city.

The hotel would get green space that guests could easily access and a place where functions could be held, thus extending the capacity of the hotel.

The public could have much-improved green space. It could have access from the street with stairs or ramps and would be a place where one could sit at a bench or on a lawn and enjoy a lunch or play with the kids away from the street.

For the city, it gets something it can be very proud of: a best and highest use that will result in both economic expansion and an embrace of common spaces for its citizens, all in the very heart of the city. Given the environmental benefits of such spaces, our environmental portfolio gets a notable and visible boost.

There would need to be modifications to the contract, such as oversight and maintenance, no buildup, etc., but those are details that can be worked out.

This could be a huge win on all sides. I would even suggest that the city put the money for the sale toward the project itself.

A rooftop park that is a respite from the city streets shared by both the public and a hotel overlooking the heart of Portland. This is where we as a city should be going.

Michael Shaughnessy


Why didn't Assad's killings spur earlier action on Syria?

According to CNN, more than 100,000 people have been killed in the conflict raging in Syria, and 1,300 may have died as a result of the use of chemical or biological weapons. 

Would somebody please explain to me what the big deal is about chemical and biological weapons?

Bashar Assad had murdered more than 100,000 people, no big deal, but now he uses weapons we don't like, so we must do something. It makes absolutely no sense.

Paul Anderson


Cutler silent as LePage dismantles government

Where is Eliot Cutler?

Hardly a word over the last three years about what's been going on in Maine under our cockamamie governor. Notice how silent and disengaged he's been in the Category 5 hurricane of Maine politics?

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