Standardized tests will yield results
I am not a teacher and therefore cannot directly comment on the opinions of Professor Kohn who argues against standardized testing. But I do know that the Oakland public schools rank near the bottom in a state that ranks near the bottom in the country in public school performance.
I do know that a dear friend of mine who tried being a substitute teacher in an Oakland High School was shocked when out of a class of 25 high school math students only one could correctly subtract 11 from 7 and come up with the correct answer.
And I do know that in Europe where there have been standardized tests for years, the students consistently graduate with better skills and more knowledge than American students.
Therefore as a grandparent of a child in a California public school and a person who was only licensed in her profession after a standardized test I say to the Professor Kohns of this world – you are just wrong. Look at the facts. Your way of doing things does not work. More money thrown into your already crumbling system will just not solve the problem. Maybe standardized testing will.
Thanks for youth court story
I really liked the article on March 30 about the Youth Court. It sounds like a wonderful institution which can help kids stay out of trouble, and that’s the kind of thing I like to know about.
Please write more long articles about what’s going on in Berkeley – they’re very interesting to read.
Council not staff should make
medical pot decision
I echo the frustration expressed by Robin M. Donald (Letters to the Editor March 30.)
The recent action on medical marijuana by the City Council represents continuing dysfunctional governance where marijuana policy is involved. Decisions are made by the unelected city employees – not the Council. In this most recent round the police and the city manager prevailed with a 10-plant limit that originates in their fantasies – not the federal empirical program upon which Oakland’s are based.
While professing caution about plant amounts the city manager, city attorney, public health officer, and the police are reckless about enforcement of the law. General Orders and Training & Information bulletins that are normal police administrative products are lacking for both medical marijuana and marijuana in general.
Excessive initiative in police officers’ hands invariably leads to failure to enforce the law. The fiefdom of the police subculture continues to make its own laws as it arbitrarily selects which laws it will enforce. Efforts of oversight continue to fail to control this coven of criminality behind badge and office. Review of the enforcement of marijuana laws that on the books specify lowest priority discloses a sorry record that stains retiring Chief Butler’s record. He has presided over the largest increase of marijuana cases ever.
The only solution is the use of Planning and Management Systems and Outcomes Management Overview that would better implement and comply with ordinances and resolutions. But don’t hold your breath because of the dedication by the unelected factions in city government to maintaining status quo and hegemony. (PAMS/OMO may be read on my web site mikuriya.com/althealth.)
A charter revision initiative is the only medicine to remedy the gridlock that continues to frustrate all who participate in Berkeley’s flawed governance and continues to thwart the will of the voters.
I am changing my letter of recommendation and approval to specify possession and cultivation limits per the Oakland guidelines.
Tod H. Mikuriya, M.D.
Response to Palestinians should not be Israel boycott
While the “Jews for Divestment” may have noble intentions, their actions don’t make much sense in light of the events of the past nine months.
Last July, Ehud Barak attempted to bring an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by offering Yasser Arafat an extraordinary peace deal. Arafat responded with violence. Why reward him for this by boycotting Israeli matzoh?
Anxious for UC Theater return
What makes “the largest screen in Berkeley” a dinosaur? The Jewish Film Festival and other attractions regularly sold out at the UC. The Pacific Film Archives, the other great treasure of Berkeley, also home of sell-outs, should be on campus. Why mix it with a commercial venture - if one fails, the entire undertaking is threatened. We all understand the concept of monoculture.
What normally occurs in a situation like this is the city gains control of the property, and an RFQ is issued so that qualified professionals (architects, planners) may evaluate prospects for re-use and revitalization. I’m sure this process is underway already. What we read from your report is one developer speculating how city funds may be used to finance a private enterprise, without considering the opinions of other local arts directors. If you went to the trouble of contacting representatives of PFA and Berkeley Symphony, what else did they say? Why so much airtime for Kennedy again?
Please report all the facts - we are all anxious for the return of the UC as a first-run art and foreign film house. There is no stronger and more sophisticated film audience as in Berkeley - and don’t think for a minute that we will tolerate “funky couches” and pizza-eating kids chattering during the film either.
Tracey Bornstein, Architect
Recuse, recuse, recuse
I read in Tuesday’s Daily Planet that the City Attorney has advised Miriam Hawley to recuse herself from voting on the proposed mixed use development at 2700 San Pablo Avenue. According to the article, the City Attorney determined that Hawley has a conflict of interest because Hawley once publicly stated that transit corridors should have development that supports transit.
Unfortunately, this is not Hawley’s only conflict. She has now publicly stated that “we have a good and conscientious City Attorney.” Hawley should recuse herself from any discussion about whether to follow the City Attorney’s advice.
Following a similar line of reason, Council members who have commented on Berkeley’s fine views of the Bay should recuse themselves from all decisions relating to building height.