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Police conduct at UC Davis; the fluoridation debate; Meghan Daum on 'drinking the Kool-Aid'

November 22, 2011
  • In this image from a video that went viral on the Web, a UC Davis officer uses pepper spray as he walks down a line of Occupy protesters. (Thomas K. Fowler / Associated Press)
In this image from a video that went viral on the Web, a UC Davis officer uses… (Thomas K. Fowler, AP )

A slap on the wrist

Re "Two Davis officers put on leave; UC president 'appalled' by tactics," Nov. 21

UC President Mark G. Yudof was appalled by the tactics of two UC Davis campus police officers who used pepper spray on students. The powers that be promptly responded by placing the officers on paid leave.

So let me get this straight: These two officers who appalled Yudof are being punished with paid time off? I hope that when I make mistakes at work, my superiors will give me a paid vacation, and a long one at that.

Please, someone suspend me with paid leave!

Moe H. Lee

Fullerton

The use of pepper spray against nonviolent protesters who posed no threat is a violation of the rule of law. The officers involved in the attack should be arrested, as any of us doing the same thing would have been.

The officials who failed to protect students from these bullies should be fired.

When police attack protesters overseas, our government calls on those governments to respect the rights of their citizens to protest. What about the right to protest in our own country?

David Bendall

Aliso Viejo

Just another super failure

Re "Deficit deal eludes 'super' panel," Nov. 21

So the "super committee" is poised to become yet another super failure. Too bad that failure seems to be an option.

Next time, perhaps, the members of any super committee should be locked in a room with no media, no lobbyists and no constituents allowed. They'll get food through a slot.

One of the worst things about this super committee becoming a super failure is the fact that cynicism, already a poison in the public mind-set, will deepen.

Rich Linder

Laguna Beach

This political stalemate exists because of the Grover Norquist anti-tax pledge.

To deal with our debt crisis, deficit and revenue compromises are essential. Congressional leaders who honor their pledge to the American people can be trusted in these matters; the spineless who pledge instead to the agenda of an unelected Norquist and his special-interest backers cannot be.

Ed Winslow

Lake Forest, Calif.

This is just a microcosm of government. Do we expect a newfound bipartisanship now?

The Republicans will prevail by insisting on fewer or no defense cuts and set the stage for deeper cuts to social programs. Both sides knew this from the outset, and so did the president.

So what was the point?

Dennis Grossman

Woodland Hills

Teaching to the tests

Re "Teachers and test scores," Editorial, Nov. 17

Rather than ask whether teacher evaluations should be linked to student test scores, you should be asking what test they be linked to.

The language arts standardized test measures things like spelling and recognizing words out of context, not the complex thinking and writing needed for today's world. The information-age citizen must be equipped to read difficult texts and draw from them to formulate an appropriate response.

If we want these skills to be taught, then they are the skills that must be tested. This will require writing.

Until we find an assessment tool that addresses this, be careful what you ask for or you will only continue to reinforce lower-level recall instead of higher-level thinking.

What you test is what you get.

Jim Evans

Torrance

Throughout my 36 years of teaching, I was held accountable via the 40-year-old Stull Act. Theoretically, the school principal reviewed the objectives laid out by the bill, a timetable was established for assessment and a follow-up meeting was held to review the outcomes.

Most of my principals seemed to view this process as an inconvenience and didn't visit my classroom. These administrators did little to support struggling teachers or attempt to dismiss those who did not measure up.

Of the nine principals I worked for, one stood out. He took his job seriously, saw the Stull Act as a valuable tool and visited my classroom. He added to lessons, connected with the students and encouraged his teaching force.

Stephen S. Anderson

Hacienda Heights

Flip side of fluoridation

Re "Science fights fluoride," Opinion, Nov. 17

As a dentist, I am happy that the fluoridation debate has moved beyond the "communist plot" argument of the past. But I don't share Jonathan Zimmerman's view that fluoride opponents are relying on sound science to attack this public health practice.

Fluoridation is safe, effective and the least-expensive way to prevent tooth decay. The so-called science used by its opponents is weak and not accepted by those in the established scientific community.

Opponents take poorly designed studies done in China or developing countries and attempt to apply them to the United States, where more than 60 years of experience and research support fluoridation.

People are entitled to their own opinions but not their own facts.

Tom Curran

Elmira, N.Y.

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