EDITORIAL: It goes both ways - Coeur d'Alene Press: Letters To Editor

EDITORIAL: It goes both ways

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Posted: Friday, November 23, 2012 12:15 am | Updated: 12:38 pm, Fri Nov 23, 2012.

Mike Patrick’s Nov. 16 editorial presents an interesting call for appointment of a trustee to replace outgoing trustee Jim Purtee — one with “views distinctly different from those now on the board.” Please consider:

This is not the same old (and sometimes illegal) resign/appoint situation the old liberal board was famous for, where one long-serving trustee would resign before serving out his/her last term, appointing a successor who “thinks like I do” (paraphrasing former trustee and board chair Edie Brooks). Rather, Mr. Purtee is resigning due to serious health issues which will prevent him from fulfilling his duties as a trustee.

Trustee Purtee — and his unique perspective — will be missed. He is a staunch proponent of quality education and a savvy businessman who has been committed to having a fiscally lean school district. Mr. Purtee’s proposal for school uniforms was both provocative of good public discourse and an example of his outside-the-box approach. Mr. Purtee was also open-minded on the issues and able to clearly express the reasons for his decisions, including both his withdrawal of the proposal for uniforms, and his decision to terminate IB/PYP. Mr. Purtee’s unique approach on the board will be missed.

At the heart of Mr. Patrick’s editorial lies his disagreement with the board’s decision to terminate IB/PYP. Make no mistake, this will be THE issue in the upcoming campaigns for next May’s election of three trustees, as the old liberal education crew seeks to regain board control and reinstate IB/PYP. Mr. Patrick subtly labels IB/PYP “progressive but controversial,” when a more apt description is “Progressive (capital “P”) AND controversial.”

Our community has been blessed to have many highly qualified individuals apply over the years for trustee appointments. The problem has been that for as long as anyone can remember, and ending only with Jim Purtee’s court-mandated appointment last April, our liberal school board has re-stocked itself with like-minded individuals.

It is ironic that some are now decrying a “lack of diversity” (lack of liberals on the board) when the three trustee seats currently held by appointment were filled as a result of old board members who couldn’t stomach the diversity of having two duly-elected conservatives on “their” board.

Mr. Patrick, you’ve requested that the new appointee have views “distinctly different” from those now on the board. Can you be more specific? If it’s liberal big-spenders you want, just say so.

Finally, I would point out that by asking the board to appoint someone with views antithetical to their own views, you are asking for something the old board NEVER did and you never before requested. Why the double standard?


Hayden Lake

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.


  • lone wolf posted at 4:10 pm on Wed, Nov 28, 2012.

    lone wolf Posts: 242

    Do you really want to be influenced by conspiracy believers such as Duncan (an attorney) and the CDA KCRR (Tea party radicals) school board (Tea Party radicals) and Michele Bachmann (a Tea Party radical politician), etc...? All nice people, but still conspiracy belivers. They actually believe that the IB program is a UN conspiracy for a one world government!!!!

    One Surprising Reason People May Believe Bizarre Conspiracy Theories
    April 25, 2011 |
    Know any conspiracy theorists? No doubt they’ve tried to convince you that man didn’t really land on the moon [3] or President Obama was born in Kenya [4].

    In fact, they were imparting genuinely interesting information — about themselves. New research [5] suggests belief in such theories may reveal a Machiavellian mindset.

    “At least among some samples and for some conspiracy theories, the perception that ‘they did it’ is fueled by the perception that ‘I would do it,’” University of Kent psychologists Karen Douglas [6] and Robbie Sutton [7] write in the British Journal of Social Psychology.

    “These studies suggest that people who have more lax personal morality may endorse conspiracy theories to a greater extent because they are, on average, more willing to participate in the conspiracies themselves.”

    The reasons people persist in believing conspiracy theories — even when there is overwhelming evidence debunking them — have long been debated by psychologists. One credible theory contends convincing ourselves of conspiracies allows us to avoid acknowledging the terrifying arbitrariness of life.

    “In a strange way, some conspiracy theories offer us accounts of events that allow us to retain a sense of safety and predictability,” British psychologist Patrick Leman noted in New Scientist in 2007. “Instability makes most of us uncomfortable.”

    Douglas and Sutton aren’t denying that fear avoidance plays a role, but they’re pointing to a different (perhaps complementary) phenomenon. In some cases, they argue, belief in conspiracies is a matter of psychological projection — that is, the tendency to apply one’s own attitude to others.

    In one study, 189 British undergraduates completed the MACH-IV [8] questionnaire to measure their level of Machiavellianism [9] (that is, their tendency to deceive and manipulate others for personal gain). This involves expressing one’s level of agreement with a series of statements such as “The best way to handle people is to tell them what they want to hear.”

    They then read a series of 17 statements describing well-known conspiracy theories and rated their plausibility on a 1-to-7 scale. They also rated the likelihood that, if they were in the shoes of the alleged conspirators, they would have taken part in the conspiracy.

    The researchers found that “personal willingness to engage in the conspiracies predicted endorsement of conspiracy theories.” So did a propensity to manipulate others for personal gain.

    “For example,” they write, “highly Machiavellian individuals were seemingly more likely to believe that government agents staged the 9/11 attacks because they were more likely to perceive that they would do so themselves, if [they found themselves] in the government’s position.”

    A second study refined these results. A group of 60 undergraduates participated in the same experiment, but half of them were first asked “to spend a few minutes thinking of a time when they helped another person.”

    Those who had been contemplating their own act of kindness were less likely to agree with the conspiracy theories — with the exception of those who scored high on the Machiavellian scale.

    “We do not argue that projection alone explains why people believe in conspiracy theories,” the researchers caution, but these findings point to a potent psychological mechanism that helps explain why some rumors refuse to die.

    The theme of the conspiratorially-minded television series The X-Files [10]was “trust no one.” Perhaps it should be amended to read: “Trust no one — especially devoted fans of The X-Files.”


  • thepointis posted at 2:05 pm on Mon, Nov 26, 2012.

    thepointis Posts: 98

    Todays news:
    U.N. to Seek Control of the Internet

    Oh, don't worry, this is TOTALLY unrelated and a conspiracy. Also just understand that the U.N. as gatekeeper of info is the way to go because they know what is important for you to know. Move along, nothing to see here...

  • thepointis posted at 1:53 pm on Mon, Nov 26, 2012.

    thepointis Posts: 98

    Note: lone wolf was not the author of that post."Thelma" was as the link provided shows.

    Martha, I totally agree. The Kolers have tremendous courage and I admire them.

  • Martha posted at 9:40 am on Mon, Nov 26, 2012.

    Martha Posts: 28

    Thank you, Duncan Koler! You and your wife have worked tirelessly, enduring unwarranted harassment, while trying to bring common sense to our school district.

  • concernedcitizen posted at 3:45 pm on Sat, Nov 24, 2012.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530

    Sorry look, not looking. Don't want the grammar/spelling police after me too. ;)

  • concernedcitizen posted at 3:43 pm on Sat, Nov 24, 2012.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530

    Let's looking past Randy's last post, like most that make a valid point such as milburnschmidt just did, it gets lost by those looking to critique rather than substance.

    Right on the money milburnschmidt.

  • milburnschmidt posted at 11:47 am on Sat, Nov 24, 2012.

    milburnschmidt Posts: 1161

    After reading Lone wolfs and inclined thoughts now I have a better idea of whats wrong with our schools. Perhaps if they stuck to computer science,math,physical sciences and other courses related to getting a job or furthur education we would all be better off. If lone wolf is actually a teacher and actually teaches these rants and mumbo jumbo to our students there is a fine place to cut the budget. The UN, unesco and all these other oirganizations have no business in our schools exce[pt as a passing reference. No wonder our schools have slipped and education is underfunded. Get rid of these loons and stick to a basic education in High School. Let these far out diatribes be offered in College and see what jobs are available in those fields. Thanks to Lone wolfs informative letter I had a nice nap after three paragraphs. If this is what is being pushed on kids no wonder home schooling is on the upswing. No wonder so many college grads that take up Lone wolfs ideas cant find jobs. I dont mind kicking in extra money for schools but if thats where it goes clean house school board end these intellectual ego trips and fantasies. On the other hand I suppose its easier to get an A in diatribes about global economics and whatever these folks cause is. For the average parent or grandparent its obvious some of these folks have to much time on their hands and no one to listen to them.

  • lone wolf posted at 9:17 am on Sat, Nov 24, 2012.

    lone wolf Posts: 242

    Thelma response: to Koler's Conspiracy theory BS.

    As an IB Social Studies teacher at LCHS and prior teacher of AP U.S. History, I have knowledge and familiarity with our district's high school advanced learning programs. Since the April School Board meeting, I have also had a young parent critic of IB visit my IB classes. From my conversations with this parent, the various My Turn essays, and from the Cd'A library presentation on Monday, I have gained a clearer understanding of the mindset and objections of the IB critics.
    The IB critics are motivated primarily by fear, a fear that the American institutions and beliefs that they hold dear are threatened by "foreign" ideas. They base their opposition to IB on the close connection they perceive between UNESCO and the IBO. They see a threat to American sovereignty from the IB education system's endorsement of principles that coincide with ideas articulated in the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR). The primary objection to these principles seems to be the idea presented in Article 29 of the UNDHR that natural human rights are articulated by the U.N. organization rather than being derived from a divine creator (as per the Declaration) or from John Locke's principles of natural law. The IB critics are concerned that an education program that embraces the IB Learner Profile and advocates the principles underlying the UNDHR will create a mass of citizens who will not resist the implementation of a world government.
    The IB critic's logic goes like this: The U.S. Constitution and national sovereignty are undermined by IB education because IB works with UNESCO which is a U.N. agency whose ultimate purpose, they believe, is to create a world government. The critics start with the fundamental assumption that the U.N. has the goal of creating a world government, then they find "evidence" to validate that concern.
    If you start with the premise that a conspiracy exists, you will find "proof" that supports your assumptions (a self-fulfilling prophecy). This is especially true when your targets, the IBO and UNESCO, allow and promote so many different ideas and approaches to providing and improving education. Any content or question that can be interpreted as "un-American" validates the IB critics' fear, regardless of whether that question/content fosters critical thinking, forces students to examine their own prejudices and assumptions, or helps them identify the principles that they will value in their future decision-making.
    The problem for the defenders of IB is that anything they present to defend the program is either insufficient to challenge the basic assumptions, or it "proves" that there is a conspiracy. Thus there really isn't any way to disprove the IB critic's conspiracy theory.
    Does the IBO work with UNESCO on various programs around the world? Yes - both organizations provide and promote education around the world. The U.N. Education For All (EFA) agenda is a noble effort to improve the lives of disadvantaged people all over the globe. EFA has hundreds of individual, national, NGO, and corporate partners and sponsors all over the world, not just the IBO. That the EFA operates almost exclusively in impoverished nations because the U.S. education system already serves the vast majority of our population is irrelevant to the IB critics. (Notice that I just "proved" the conspiracy - IB is UNESCO's U.S. infiltration agent because the U.S. is too wealthy for EFA.) The IB critics choose to see a conspiracy to undermine the U.S. rather than a spectrum of programs designed to serve students around the world.
    Does the IBO agree not to violate the principles of the U.N. mission in its cooperative efforts with the U.N.? Yes, but most organizations have quality-control or social responsibility requirements for their suppliers and partners - Starbucks' "fair-trade" coffee, Walmart's ban on rBST milk. As an agency that attempts to serve people of all cultures, traditions and beliefs around the world, it is reasonable that the U.N. would have standards for how their programs function in order to respect the diverse cultures and traditions of those disparate peoples. Those standards (articulated in the UNDHR) "prove" the conspiracy, regardless of what those standards (protection of stated human rights) actually are.
    The fact that these rights are articulated by a human organization (Art. 29) rather than credited to "natural law" or a divine creator makes the conspiracy legitimate, according to the IB critics. But articulating those rights is unavoidable for a human organization attempting to respect the diversity of nations, cultures and people around the world. The UNDHR's focus on individual rights is precisely the concept that the IB critics say they want to defend. But they want to deprive both professional educators and our community of a high-quality option for our children's education.
    The UNDHR represents a philosophical goal rather than an article of international law. The freedoms and rights it articulates are more expansive than those in the Declaration and U.S. Bill of Rights (in most areas). The UNDHR does attempt to be universally applicable to each individual and to confront the conundrum of where one's person's rights end and another's begin. The IB critics either ignore or oppose U.S. leadership establishing the U.N.'s system of rights and structures to mediate international conflict and guarantee individual rights (Eleanor Roosevelt was a primary drafter of the UNDHR). They fear a world government, so they see the U.N. as a world government, and they try to instill their fear in others.
    That is what was going on at the Cd'A Library on Monday. It was not an open forum for discussing IB; it was an effort to indoctrinate our community into fearing and hating this program. They label the IB program's international mindedness as "indoctrination" and mis-define and then demonize "sustainable development" and "peace and conflict resolution" with their own interpretations of those words. Anything that they don't understand or agree with must be wrong, and anyone who opposes their interpretation of their "evidence" is either ignorant or complicit in their U.N. conspiracy theory.
    Responding to the IB critics' objections is frustrating and wasteful in terms of time, energy and other resources. But it is also a central component of participatory democracy and absolutely necessary to protect against what the IB critics fear - the loss of principles and ideals that form the foundation of the American democratic republic. The IB critics do serve a function in forcing us to identify and reflect on our values and priorities, but we should not replace our own judgment and that of the professional educators we know and trust with the IB critics' fear-based conspiracy theories against a world-renown and highly effective education program (I just validated their fears again). Our local leaders - Superintendent Bauman and the School Board Trustees - have to make decisions based on facts, reason and good judgment rather than on polarizing and inaccurate language, spurious associations and fearful assumptions.
    Most of the people in our community respect the education professionals who live among us and participate in the IB program. We teachers are the creators of the coursework and lessons that actually accomplish IB education in our schools. The IB critics' suggestion that we are complicit or unwitting pawns in a diabolical plot to undermine our own nation and our personal freedoms is as insulting and disrespectful as it is paranoid. We may not see the conspiracy the IB critics see, but we do know how to provide quality education for our students - it is our profession, our mission and our passion. The IB programs provide an excellent framework for preparing students to comprehend and participate effectively in the global world we live in.
    Having taught in both the AP and IB systems, I believe I know how each serves students. AP does a great job of attempting to create courses that match college-level classes. It serves our best and brightest (the talented 10 percent) very well in terms of replicating a college experience and giving them access to college credits. IB serves a larger portion of the population, and, for diploma candidates, forces them to study outside their areas of strength. It requires that students integrate their knowledge across disciplines and actively participate in their community. These aspects of the program give students skills and knowledge that prepare them to take advantage of their college experience, and will make them more valuable to schools that realize and recognize these benefits (many colleges and universities already do).
    IB students may not arrive at college with as many credits as AP students who have taken 6-8 AP classes (or they may enter as sophomores as several IB diploma candidates who have been admitted to Oregon state schools may do), but their critical thinking skills, diverse knowledge, empathy for others, and understanding of what and how and why they have been learning is almost certain to be more meaningful than without the IB program. I have tremendous confidence that District 271's IB students will practice a confident and informed patriotism that reinforces the best aspects of American principles and values as they become leaders and participating citizens in this great nation and our global community.

  • Shocked posted at 7:40 am on Sat, Nov 24, 2012.

    Shocked Posts: 98

    Inclined: Seriously, no one knows what you're talking about... Don't submit comments until you've taken you meds.

  • mister d posted at 5:27 pm on Fri, Nov 23, 2012.

    mister d Posts: 1531

    I look forward to actually having a chance to vote for the individuals that I think will serve the community best.

  • Shocked posted at 4:58 pm on Fri, Nov 23, 2012.

    Shocked Posts: 98

    Inclined: Thank you for clearing all this up for me...I have now seen the light, oh wise one. Now, where do go to drink the Kool-aid?

  • parent posted at 11:44 am on Fri, Nov 23, 2012.

    parent Posts: 347


    Yes this new board wants what is best for our students. Have you been to the board meetings? Have spent time getting to know these new board members or are you just getting your information second hand? Have you watched the direction of you friend Macintire's voting record? Is it conservative? His bow tie is conservative, but is he? He does NOT aline with my conservative views, he leans liberal but still holds a conservative title. Newby was on the board so long that he lost his conservative beginnings. People assumed he was conservative because he started out that way but he ended up MUCH more liberal minded. Ruth Smith is a very nice lady but when I talked with her she admitted that getting on this liberal board was not easy and it was VERY eye opening. Mr. Cheeley was also conservative but he gave up his seat on the board because he could not condone some of the liberal decisions that conflicted with his CONSCIENCE. This board is the result of the liberal abuse of power for such a LONG,LONG time! The old board WOULD NOT work with diversity and that is the hard truth! We've done our homework, have you done yours?

  • Shocked posted at 9:45 am on Fri, Nov 23, 2012.

    Shocked Posts: 98

    This school board is intolerant, against teaching a world view, and many endorsed the Luna Laws. One by one these members will be ousted. While the republicans are scratching their heads wondering "what went wrong" on Election Day, they should look no further than our current school board, a microcosm of what is wrong w/ today's GOP as a whole.

  • apple123 posted at 7:54 am on Fri, Nov 23, 2012.

    apple123 Posts: 16

    The label liberal is way over used ! We have had school boards in past that had a diversity of opinions and they were much more effective. The writer was not around in those times ! Ron Mctire , Ruth Smith, and even Vern Newby were not liberals but they wanted what was best for all kids. Does this school want that ?

  • concernedcitizen posted at 6:47 am on Fri, Nov 23, 2012.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530

    There are those that claim to be open minded and tolerant, until it is not their view.

    Great letter.

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