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Mac McKinnon

Tuesday, May 5, 1998

By Mac McKinnon

Test scores don't measure

students' capabilities

Last week on this page, we made it known - again - how we feel
about TAAS tests and all the hoopla that surrounds it.

Then came our weekly U.S. News & World Report magazine which most
regular readers know is one of my favorite news magazines. In a sec-
tion that was probably missed except by the most avid readers, the
question was raised "Who cares if U.S. kids' test scores are down?
Once again, America heads the annual World Competitiveness list."

The magazine also goes on to note "The Swiss research firm ILMD
International checks eight categories of economic and political
factors in 47 countries. This year, Japan fell to 18th place from
ninth in 1997."

I had never really thought about the fact that if all these other
countries have such smart kids, why aren't they doing as well
economically as the United States?

Most countries might say that all their bright young people go to
the United States. And that is a fact. However, the tests that all
these other countries are supposed to be doing so well on includes
test scores for all children.

It seems that people in our country are just looking for something
to worry about. Sure, there are many things to worry about - drugs,
children having children, violence, but nothing seems to be really
wrong with our educational system.

Sure, we always need to keep our focus on education and make sure
all children have equal opportunities to learn and improve their
lives, plus make education serve the needs of individuals.

There has been a long needed change in education to make education
fit the needs of individuals rather than trying to fit everyone into
the same mold as has been the case throughout the history of public
education. Sure, some schools and teachers treated students as
individuals, but the system as a whole was meant to make everyone
the same. Obviously, that won't work.

In spite of what the Bill of Rights might say, we are not all created
equal. Under the law, we should all be treated as equal but we don't
all have the same talents and that's good because we need a wide
assortment of talents in our world to serve all the needs and interests
of mankind and the future of the planet.

Some people are smarter in math, some in language while others have
talents in science and a wide assortment of fields. I don't believe
you can expect everyone to test high on all segments of a test such
as TAAS. To expect such would seem to be unrealistic.

Sure, reading is important, writing (expressing oneself) is important
and math and science are important but not all people can excel in all
areas. And our wonderful state eduational system is being scored on this
concept? It doesn't make sense to me.

Our nation's economy is busting a gut. Sure, there are some people who
are still unemployed and some people are underemployed. But some people
simply aren't employable. They don't want to work. Some people don't
want to get an education so they can't expect to get good jobs and make
good money.

As the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make
it drink. So do you blame the man (or woman) taking care of the horse?
Hope you get my drift.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Mac B. McKinnon is the editor and publisher of the Pecos Enterprise. He can be e-mailed at:

Your View

El Gigante proves to live up to his nickname

Letter to the Editor,
For the past ten days or so I have been traveling with a contributor
of humor columns to your newspaper, Jerry Hulsey. Suffice it to say
that we have been friends for a long time as I was one of his students
in Spanish class when he first began teaching.

We have seen each other occasionally over the years and recently got
together and it was decided that I would accompany him on a trip to
Central America to visit his farm he has there.

During our talks he told me he had been writing some pieces for your
newspaper and the subject of some of the pieces was his friend Felipe
who has been with him for many years. After I returned home I looked
up Jerry's works on the net and read all of them. Some of them indeed
were about Felipe and his quiet wisdom.

I had heard of Felipe before but had never been around him to speak of
and when we got to Central America I traveled with Jerry and Felipe
around the country. As I got to know Felipe it was apparent to me that
this short, quiet Mexican man was in fact a giant. He could explain the
stars and their travel about the sky at night. He could tell one about
the habits of animals and which plants were good to eat and why they
were good for you. He can train dogs to do whatever he wants them to
with a low spoken word.

I questioned Felipe about his life in Mexico and how he came to the
U.S. and his life. He would tell me little except to say he has no
family with the exception of some nieces in Mexico. He did explain
that when he first came to the U.S. it took him 15 days of walking
to reach San Angelo and that he ate off the land and from the ranches
that he passed through.

As we walked about on our travels Felipe would insist on walking behind
us often bearing a larger load than we were carrying. As I got to know
this man better it became obvious to me that although Felipe was walking
behind us he was actually a giant who was casting his shadow over both
of us. If I could only attain half of the knowledge of Felipe in my
lifetime I would be very well versed in many things.

As your readers read the humor columns written by Jerry concerning
Felipe they should remember that he is talking about a 4 foot, 11
inch man who is a giant "El Gigante". It is possible that Felipe
"El Gigante" is actually the name I refer to Jerry as "El Profe"
(the Professor). Felipe with his second grade education and his
Mayan ancestry taught me many things and I can only hope that I
might be able to walk in his shadow again.

Casey Bradshaw
Abilene, Texas

Your View

Pecos women should find better entertainment

To The Editor:
Pecos should find better ways of entertainment then the chippen-
dale dancers. This kind of turn-on for women who apparently aren't
happy at home or can't find and keep a man who will entertain them
unless they pay for it is degrading to a town.

It used to be we called it by another name, now its called entertainment.

Wake up women spend your money on your kids or better yourself so
that you don't have to depend on this kind of classless entertainment.
Give Pecos back its pride by doing more for the kids then showing them
what turns mommy on.
Born and raised in Pecos.

Yolanda Rodriguez
Odessa, Tx.

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