Saturday’s Letters to the Editor
A relic of the past
EDITOR: I disagree with your support for keeping standardized tests in university admissions decisions (“UC should stick with standardized tests for admission,” May 16). In a world where individuals have a computer in their possession at nearly all times, why would we put so much, if any, emphasis on a test that measures recall ability and a narrow set of knowledge? When has your boss said, “I have this incredibly important project I need you to tackle; just make sure you don’t turn on your computer, open a book or ask anyone for assistance or advice when you try to complete it”?
These tests were created to meet the needs of a different era. The workplace of the last century is a distant memory, and the skills to thrive in today’s world bear little resemblance to those of the past. If one wants to argue that academic institutions are still a place where high-stakes testing is valued, that’s more of an indictment of higher education than a reason for supporting antiquated assessments. And if standardized tests are such a valuable tool in determining readiness, why does the U.S. have a 40% college dropout rate?
Universities have better options for evaluating prospective students, and many have begun to use them. Recommending that UC continue to rely on an outdated testing system is, frankly, shortsighted and ill-informed.
Science as ideology
EDITOR: In response to Peter Wellington’s letter (“Dangerous claims,” Tuesday), the fact is that much of the science isn’t conclusive to the directives being issued. Take for example the requirement to be masked when in close proximity to others, which was implemented in response to the possible spread by asymptomatic carriers. What does science say?
For one thing, COVID-19 hasn’t been proven to be present in aerosols and, like other coronaviruses, is mainly spread through droplets that enter the body through the mouth and/or eyes.
Furthermore, a recent study published in the reputable Annals of Internal Medicine showed that the force of a cough propelled viral droplets through cotton and surgical masks. In fact, masks could be a vehicle of transmission if not properly disposed of and reused too often, not to mention people touching their face to adjust improperly fitted masks.
The problem is science becomes an ideology, devoid of actual science and critical thinking.
EDITOR: I Appreciated E.J. Dionne’s Monday column (“Supreme Court discovers chaos on its Electoral College tour”). It is beyond me how anyone can make an argument for a system that essentially disenfranchises up to 49.999% of the voters of a state. This idiocy has to go, and in a reasonable world, the Supreme Court would throw out this current case and tell Congress to come up with a popular vote system. As far as the power of the small states goes, that’s why we have the Senate.
EDITOR: Growing homeless encampments under Highway 101 have made it nearly impossible to walk downtown. To maintain social distancing, we must run the gauntlet in the street with the traffic.
Derelict RVs and campers are parked along our streets. Now the city has opened an encampment at the Finley Center. The West End is already a magnet for the homeless due to various social service offerings. The Finley camp is another amenity to attract still more unsheltered. Enough is enough.