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Letters to the Editor

From the week of 2/15/07

"Sky's the Limit," Adam Cayton-Holland, February 8



Put to the Test

I appreciate your plain-speaking article on Skyland Community High School. As a member of Skyland's board of directors, I am confident that Skyland can meet all of its and DPS's objectives and be an exemplary school. It must be remembered that in turning around many of the students at Skyland, a big piece is turning around their perceptions about education and the system. If I had known about Skyland when my son was going to high school, I would have definitely enrolled him. He struggled so much in the traditional school setting, which attempted to force my round child into a square hole. We suffered a lot because of this.

I feel testing is necessary and shows a lot of things -- but it should not be the all-in-all. Testing does not show the day-to-day struggles of students and whether or not they are being properly cared for and supported. I continue to pray that DPS sees the value of diversity in the education system and will support the continuation of Skyland and other valuable charter schools.
Elaine Jacobs
Denver

The comments expressed by students Marcus Adaire and Nereida Montoya moved me to read this article, another motivation being that I attended Cole and Manual for six years before graduating. I was not moved by the rosy projections of Arthur Baraf for Skyland, nor by his Wesleyan University background, nor by the latest theories about educational reform from privileged white boys who seem to run -- and ruin -- everything.

The test scores in poor schools traditionally trail those of the upper classes -- not because the poor are stupid, but because of the social inequality that affects all realms of their lives (while the privileged continue to prosper). Duh. Teddy Hickenlooper will not go to DPS to become a massage therapist, yet this "attainment" is apparently good enough if one's last name is Montoya.

Cole continues to be the guinea pig for "reforms" that go nowhere, and this article fails to note that corporation-created KIPP also operated at Cole, incompetently, from 2004 until it folded its tent and slithered away in January, leaving the community holding the bag. I attended the meetings where parents and students opted to affiliate Cole with a successful school from Pueblo, and the Colorado Department of Education overruled their wishes and foisted KIPP's Cole College Prep on the community.

Meanwhile, public education is subjected to ill-considered GOP legislation that charterizes schools due to low CSAP scores as public education is slowly dismantled. No one sees that privileged white boys are ill-equipped to understand problems affecting the poor, much less solve them.

Duh.
Ernesto Vigil
Denver

"One Wild Ride," Adam Cayton-Holland, February 1



Taken for a Ride

I have often wondered why and how Westword chooses the feature stories it does, but with "One Wild Ride," your mag has hit the ultimate nadir of gross sensationalism. What was the point of that article -- if not to draw mocking attention to one person's trying ordeal? Granted, Michelle Ormond need not have sought a forum for her troubles, yet Adam Cayton-Holland could have and should have refused to write about them. Provocative journalism should explore sensitive topics like sexual addiction, but not at any cost. This piece did nothing other than expose its subject to further humiliation. Reading it evoked images of ravenous paparazzi stalking their prey unto death or filming somebody on the rails of the Golden Gate. If it provoked anything in me, it was the question of what responsibility a writer owes his or her subject(s). More than anything, Cayton-Holland's mercenary exposé provoked nothing but sadness, especially at the depths Westword has sunk to in order to garner readership.

Qué l´stima!
Bradley Berthold
Centennial

I was intrigued by the steamy article on the "pass-around girl." It makes one ponder what is in the hearts of those who feign ignorance. It takes two to tango!
Renee Fajardo
Arvada

I have enjoyed your paper for many years. I was bothered by the pass-around girl article, though. The woman has many mental problems, and horrible self-esteem and self-worth issues that were very voyeuristic to read about, I suppose, but you went too far with the pics. This woman already has issues about her sexuality; why would you print salacious nude pics? They only serve to reinforce her "value" to society as a sexual object. I can understand the titillating nature of the story, but you should have exercised better judgment in photo selection.

Michelle and her shitty circle of friends and lovers have already exploited/pimped themselves on worthless shows like Ricki Lake and Maury Povich. Westword should rise above that level and at the very least print a respectable portrait of such a lost soul.
Robyn Markland
Littleton

I like how Adam Cayton-Holland portrayed Michelle Ormond as neither hero nor victim. I hope the article gets a good readership.

The jury is still out as to whether sexual addiction is real in context with current psychological theory. But any behavior that puts the individual's own mental, physical or emotional well-being at risk without any judgmental influence of others should be considered problematic, psychologically. And if that behavior becomes overwhelming, difficult to control or even mitigate, then perhaps it is addictive. I don't know, not being a psychologist.

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