respect for the privacy of this young person I will omit her (hyphenated)
"I am a 13-year-old student at Sheldon Elementary School and frankly, I am
appalled at how the government has handled some of the situations of which it's
Today I'm going to expose the use of oil. We should not try to drill our way out
of this situation. Instead, we should come up with alternate sources of energy
like solar power, windmills and electric cars. We can use solar energy on so
much more than just cars, like in factories and in houses. I am not willing to
watch the government do things to the Earth that will affect my generation. The
gas prices will soon hit $5 a gallon! The oil companies are emptying our pockets
with these outrageous prices for gas. Some things need to be changed, for the
better of the American people.
All of the choices made today will affect me, and others, whether you want them
to or not. So please help save the environment, let's not try and drill our way
out of the problem, or take the money from the American people with gas prices.
There are other ways of solving our problems, let's use them.
(First Name Last Name-Last Name)
It may look
like I'm coming down on this young person but actually I'm going for the
teachers. Grammatically and logically, this is pretty sad writing. At age 13
any student ought to be able to write better than this and ought to have
enough grasp of science to present better logic. First the mechanical stuff:
- "I am appalled at how the government has handled some
of the situations of which it's presented."
- So am I
- for example they do a lousy job of educating kids in basic skills, as
evidenced by this sample 'of which we have just been presented' you might say.
"So please help save the environment, let's not try and
drill our way out of the problem...."
- "There are other ways of solving our problems, let's
- Here we
have two examples of separate sentences combined into one by hitching them
together with a comma. Any second grader ought to know better than that,
especially when the writing is not informal but is being submitted for print
in the newspaper.
- Has this
kid been left with too many others to 'discover' her own learning, with a
'facilitator' instead of a teacher? I suspect she's had her head pumped full
of 'you are special' crap but I see almost nothing of worth in the letter even
if it had been written with better structure.
going to expose the use of oil..." What? We've been using OIL?
- Then the
idea that we can use solar power "on so much more than just cars." I wasn't
aware we even actually could use solar energy on cars, other than things built
like giant egg cartons which run on flat surfaces in sunny deserts as college
experiments. Hey, let's slog up that snowy hill in our four wheel drive Solar
SUV! The other suggestion of 'electric cars' also mystifies - from where would
we get the power to charge their batteries?
this kid has also been fed the wind-turbine nonsense as well. When it's ten
below zero and a dead calm, I hope she doesn't have 'wind power' and electric
heat. One final note - gas prices will soon hit $5 a gallon, she says. Based
on what? If you are going to submit letters to the paper, it's good to have
them grounded in some sort of factuality. This letter was nothing more than a
waste of time by some basically nice kid who I'm sure means very well, but
fails miserably to present anything other than how poorly kids are being
taught in the public schools.
- On to
the next letter, which is excerpted to the parts that need my response...
"I hope national politicians will not be able to ignore poverty after New
Orleans. It is distressing and embarrassing to see third world poverty in our
richest nation on earth. ....." One bright spot from the Vermont Legislature was
a real health care plan for all Vermonters. Unfortunately, Gov. Jim Douglas
vetoed it in the interest of his friends at insurance corporations. Universal
health care could be resurrected now in the Vermont Senate. We must make it
difficult for them to run and hide from these issues.
is just typical blithering nonsense. First, about New Orleans: anyplace
that chooses to call itself "The Big Easy" doesn't strike me as a place where
people are devoted to hard work.
Truth to tell I have never been
much impressed with the place nor have I ever wanted to visit it, especially
when their chief claim to fame is an uncivilized, drunken public
spectacle known as Mardi Gras. Their poverty level exists not because
for 40+ years we've been 'ignoring poverty.' What we've spent on the war in
Iraq wouldn't buy a saltine cracker at the buffet table of social programs
Back to the letter, what is this second part about "Jim Douglas vetoed
(universal Vermont health care) in the interest of his friends at insurance
corporations"? Who are these friends and at which corporations? The ones who
don't do business in Vermont anymore anyhow? As it is, Vermont chased the
private insurers away by ordering them to do business in certain ways that
made it unprofitable to even continue. Meanwhile, people in other states can
take advantage of those evil private insurance corporations and pay a small
fraction as much for their health insurance as people are forced to pay in
Vermont for the socially-engineered system.
back to The Burlington Free Press - Some Questions I Have....