incoming (2007-10)

In the choosing of a new Knox County Superintendent, I am quite concerned about several problems with the county educational system altogether. I have therefore concocted a rather brilliant scheme to secure the future of the students.

Let's completely do away with curriculum altogether. According to the evident operational philosophy of our president's well-meaning No Child Left Behind initiative, more rigorous testing more often will cure this educational deficit. It's like that prize hog you've got out back. Don't feed him; just weigh him. He'll grow even quicker! The people of this county need a superintendent who will embrace this most excellent diatribe against inefficiency. And furthermore, let's do away with all right-brained educational programs. Art, music, creative writing, they've got to go! For the complete transmutation of a child into an input/output machine (which will fit like a cog into our society), we must eliminate all neural activity along the corpus callosum. This can be easily achieved by avoiding activities that employ both sides of the brain, such as reading music, writing fixed-form poetry, still-life painting, and the like.

Furthermore, constant standardized testing will keep educators far too busy with meaningless scores to actually instruct the pupils on long division, long multiplication, and problem solving, and to teach around learning disabilities. Sooner or later, we'll root out all those pesky "artists" and "critical thinkers" and leave only the standardized pupil: well-schooled in the use of a TI-85, an iPod, a PC, and all other convenient technology that can supplant actually thinking skill. Soon they will be unable to understand the very instructions read by their teacher on taking the tests. They'll be unable to fill out tax forms or understand legal jargon. They'll quickly give up and turn to the professionals. What a wonderful way to support our under-worked local attorneys and accountants! All gifted and diligent teachers must look over their shoulders at the hungry maw of the standardization machine, so eager to swallow up funding and any who won't play the game. Studious pupils must be held back by classrooms full of the apathetic, for the apathetic must not be left behind! And we can't give them a reason to care either, beyond, of course, a three-day vacation from school.

I myself would have rather been subject to this method of tutelage, but alas! My ability to be ignorant was squandered and depleted by the music of Percy Grainger, the works of Shakespeare and Hemingway, and the appreciation of Renoir and Brueghel. Woe is me! All I have left is my hope for the coming generations of Knox County students.

My wife, family, and friends tell me I have a knack for exaggeration.

Perhaps...

Adam Whipple

Busy Month for Firemen

Today there was a minor fire in one of the upstairs apartments above the World Grotto on Market Square. What wasn't so minor was the fire sprinklers that were triggered.

The World Grotto plays host to tens of thousands of dollars worth of local art. The risk to the artwork from the hundreds of gallons of water being sprayed was potentially catastrophic. I arrived by coincidence right after the sprinklers went off and helped. I witnessed the Knoxville fire department go above and beyond the call of duty in their sensitivity and care for artwork in the Grotto.

They carefully assisted in carrying outside not only artwork, but valuable Turkish furniture and electronics as well. I expected to have to ask them to please take care, but it was completely unnecessary. In fact, afterward I saw local artists come to pick up their work and can say the Knoxville fire department took as much care with the artwork as the artists themselves. They stayed long after all risk of fire had ended to keep helping, and should be congratulated.

Additionally the outside of the Grotto for a short period became something of a maze with all the paintings and artwork that had to be quickly taken outside. The Knoxville firemen carefully threaded their way through the artwork. I didn't see a single piece of art dented, soaked or even scratched by any member of the department. They took care as if it was their own art, or their own home they were saving. Without their conscientious care, I have no doubt that the damage would have been far greater.

The Knoxville fire department impressed the hell out of me with how professionally they reacted to the fire today. Good job fellows, damn good job.

Chris Irwin

Super-Donna

My daughter was at West while she was principal there. She was excellent, as was the school under her leadership. The kids were fond of her because she could call each of them by their first name.

Donna took her job "downtown" the summer before my daughter's senior year. Next year prior to graduation, a rumor circulated that a "surprise guest" was going to be coming to hand the kids their diplomas. To everyone's delight it was Donna, and, yep, she still remembered them all by their first names. Draft Donna!  

Susan Watson

On Commission

Joe Acree

Sign Here, Please

While it is expected that sales from the center will draw in part from existing retail in Oak Ridge, the city hopes that increases in sales tax revenues will be sufficient to offset the city's substantial expenditure on the site.

This is the second city-backed project on the former city land. The first project was a warehouse complex envisioned for the ridge in 2001, following the non-competitive transfer of the city land to a private developer. The ridge was subsequently clearcut and lowered. Currently, there is one warehouse on the ridge.

Citizens Oak Ridge has organized a petition drive to require a referendum on the pending bond issue. A referendum will allow citizens time to evaluate the city's involvement, and the opportunity to vote on the expenditure. The group recently formed to encourage sound government decision-making practices, and to organize the current petition drive.

Citizens Oak Ridge is holding an open house this Friday, March 9 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Civic Center, Room A-B in Oak Ridge. Oak Ridge registered voters may sign the petition at the event. All petitions must be returned to Citizens Oak Ridge, 109 Darwin Lane, Oak Ridge by Monday, March 12 for submittal to the city the following day. Anyone seeking more information can contact us at 220-0829, or visit our website at www.citizensoakridge.com .

William Schramm

Guidelines for Incoming Mail

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