Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | JUNE 27, 2012 6:30 AM

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Need TIF Iowa City petitioners

City Council designated $2.5 million tax increment financing for Marc Moen's proposed 14-story building at 114 S. Dubuque, the Wells Fargo building. TIF funding is for blighted areas, not for the top 1 percent upscale offices, football condos, and penthouses.

We request that the issuing general obligation bonds by Iowa City for tax increment financing for this project be submitted to Iowa City voters at a special election. We need 700 Iowa City voters to sign by July 2.

Those who signed the early petition on Moen's TIF "revenue bonds," please sign the correctly phrased June 15 "general obligation bonds" petition at the three convenient locations: Fired Up, 520 E. Washington St., Defunct Book Shop, Sycamore Mall, Tuesday to Saturdays noon-6, and downtown Farmers' Market Wednesday 5-6 p.m. and Saturday 7:30 a.m.-noon.

Lenora Peters
Iowa City resident

Schools in Iowa have high standards

I read a letter to the editor in USA Today recently in which the writer said he had never seen such claptrap as had been written in a previous USA Today editorial. Unfortunately, the same description applies to your incredibly inaccurate and badly written editorial "F+ for Iowa's Education System"(DI, June 18). Let's just try a few.

F+ is not passing, and students do not pass if they consistently only get 12.75 percent of questions correct.

Students are not taught that teachers are subpar if they do not accept late work; students are not only taught that they should hand assignments in on time but also that it is better to do assignments late than not do them at all. There are lots of examples in the world of work where occasional (even frequent) lateness does not get you fired (think doctors and airline flights).

With regard to your unfair criticism of the Council Bluffs School District — it is far better that students can submit a missed assignment than to say, "Take a zero. Now, you don't have to do it." It is absurd to suggest that students would be able to put off a presentation to the next year.

You are correct that deadlines are important, but in the world of work, there is everything from absolute deadlines to almost complete flexibility, and students need to learn the differences and react accordingly. There are also many examples in which retakes are available (think driver's licenses, both the written and driving test).

You suggest that to maintain a C average at the University of Iowa you must get "70 percent of classwork completed." I am fairly sure this is an incorrect statement, as grades should be about achievement demonstrated on assessments, not just completing classwork.

I agree that students are not defined by numbers and letters and that it is important to work hard. This is why many school districts now report student learning skills/behavior separate from achievement so that the necessary behaviors are highlighted and grades are accurate measures of achievement. 

I have worked with teachers and schools in 45 states, and I am confident that schools in Iowa have high standards and are not giving students an easy way out.

Ken O'Connor
grading and reporting consultant
Scarborough, Ontario, Canada

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