Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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Archives: Nov. 2006

Nov.
30th

Got what it takes to be a citizen?

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is trying out a new naturalization exam that it hopes will promote less rote memorization and more conceptual understanding

of U.S. history and government. The new questions also cover some more current material. Example: Who is the Attorney General? (Answer: Alberto Gonzales).

oath


Beginning early next year, the test will be piloted in 10 cities — Yakima

is the closest to us — to volunteer applicants, who can switch back to the old exam if they don’t score well on the experimental test.

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Nov.
30th

What to do about math woes

The governor and the state schools chief want the Legislature hold off another three years before making passing the math part of the WASL a high school graduation requirement. (Here’s our news story and our editorial.)


What they propose to do in the meantime was outlined in testimony before the House Education Committee today. The highlights:


–Clarifying and prioritizing academic standards, and adjusting the WASL where appropriate.

–Identifying a limited menu of math curricula aligned with state standards and assessments.

–Increasing the math requirements in teacher preparation programs and improving math professional development for

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Nov.
30th

More beating on baby boomers

A column I wrote a week ago (“Pass it on: The baby boomers blew it”) continues to get sharp reactions from readers. The subject: my generation’s failure (in my view) to provide younger Americans with the same college opportunity we were given. I’ll post some of the more interesting ones here:

State Sen. Debbie Regala was somewhat skeptical, though it turned out she and I may have been focusing on somewhat different issues:

Patrick,

I read your commentary in today’s paper with great interest. I have always been interested in ensuring that young people have access to higher education.

I am sensitive to this issue because, I was extremely fortunate to have a neighbor who believed in me so much that he helped pay for my college education. My parents simply could not afford it; and although I worked to earn as much as possible – that did not cover the cost either. Without the generosity of that neighbor – I doubt I would have gotten a college education.

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Nov.
30th

Strobel family saga

I had no idea that a prominent Tacoma family was involved when I set up a pro-con oped smackdown over eminent domain in the Nov. 22 Insight section. Only when I received the City of Burien’s side of the story did I learn that Robin Oldfelt (pictured), who wrote the opposing view, was a University Place resident and a member of Tacoma’s Strobel family.
oldfeltmug.jpg

Robert and Elsie Strobel, who both died in 1998, were well known for both business and civic activities in Tacoma. Robert Strobel was a successful Realtor and was a trustee at the University of Puget Sound for three years. The couple raised seven daughters in their South Tacoma home. Six of them attended UPS. The Strobels and all their daughters attended Lincoln High School, where Julie and Janet Strobel and I were members of the class of 1967.

This week I sent a follow-up email to Robin (Strobel) Oldfelt, who is the managing partner of the family company, asking whether the dispute with Burien was a matter of terms or whether the family simply wanted the Meal Makers restaurant to continue at
its present location. Click on Read More to find her response.

Following that is Robin’s report on the whereabouts of the Strobel sisters these days. I imagine they need the Tacoma Dome for family reunions.

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Nov.
29th

According to Plato

My spam filter failed to block a message from one Gary A. Butts promoting a website called Moderatevoters.org. Says the group was founded three years ago but has new life as moderates surged to the fore in this year’s elections.


It looks like a glorified clipping service, but the idea is that the posted articles will include links to related blogs so that readers can see a variety of comments. I liked the quote from Plato on the site’s banner:


One of the penalties of refusing to participate in politics is being governed by your inferiors.


Read more »

Nov.
29th

Ask the senator

Washington’s U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, a third-termer newly enhanced with clout, will visit The News Tribune’s editorial board on Monday.

murray


Thanks to the Democratic takeover of Congress, Murray will become chairman of a transportation appropriations subcommittee, one of the Senate’s most desirable posts. She has also been named secretary of the Senate Democratic caucus, making her one of the top four Democratic leaders in the Senate.


We invite readers to submit questions for the senator. We’ll select the best and publish both the questions and Murray’s responses. Send

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Nov.
29th

Thursday editorials

The new federal mandate for restoring Puget Sound’s endangered orca population provides yet more incentive to clean up the Sound in general


At the very deepest roots of 9/11 and the struggles in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine are the ancient grievances between the Christian and Islamic worlds, including the crusades. Much of the most bitter conflict was between Catholic and Orthodox Europe and the Turks. Pope Benedict’s conciliatory gestures in Turkey won’t undo the old enmities, but they could help clear up some deep cultural misunderstandings.


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If you have comments or questions about these

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Nov.
29th

What the TNT can do for you

A reader in Puyallup attended one of the public presentations last month by Washington Learns, the governor’s 18-month study of the state’s K12-to-college education system. She recalled seeing a slide that showed how poorly U.S. students perform compared to their international counterparts. Despite many phone calls, she couldn’t find anyone who knew the source of that data.


I’m on the case, I e-mailed her. A message to Ann Daley, the director of Washington Learns, quickly turned up the PowerPoint slides Daley used in the local presentation. Even better, Daley sent along a more detailed, footnoted report WL

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