"Sky's the Limit," Adam Cayton-Holland, February 8
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.
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.
"One Wild Ride," Adam Cayton-Holland, February 1
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.
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!
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.
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.
Many years ago, I had a close friend who I now speculate was addicted to sex. It utterly consumed him. He would find three to four sexual partners a night, in succession. Eventually, it came between him and his friendships (including mine) and his work. It angered me that he would deny this problem while his entire world was collapsing around him. But, as with any addiction, the addict has to admit he/she has a problem before he/she can get help.
Sex addiction would be so much more aggressive to treat. With alcohol, drugs or even food, the access to the mode of addiction can be more tightly controlled. However, sex addiction -- where the mode of addiction is, simply, other people -- is so much more difficult for the addict and the treatment. Unless you sequester the individual from all forms of human contact, how do you treat it?
"One Wild Ride" really got me thinking about this addiction, disorder, whatever one wants to call it. It's too bad that we hear so little about it in the media. Thank you for the article.
I read the letters last week in response to "One Wild Ride," and no one asked, "What happened to this woman to make her hate herself?"
Have we become that cynical as a society? This woman is so completely lost and devoid of self-love, it's actually very sad. My first reaction was the same: This woman is disgusting. But as a thinking person, you have to ask yourself what makes a human destroy herself this way? If we as a society can throw this woman away because she is not the norm, what then have we become? Instead of trying to understand, we just call her names and walk away, which I am pretty sure has helped create who she has become.
Sad, very, very sad.
Mooresville, North Carolina
"Bronze Medal," Adam Cayton-Holland, January 25
This is the most misogynistic article I've ever read in print. Adam's word choices are blatantly sexist. Of all the nouns he could have used to refer to the actor Lindsay Lohan, he chose "little whore" and "trollop." Lohan is a legitimate actor and a role model for many young women. He purposely degraded her. Why? It didn't add to his argument in any way, now, did it?
Please, think about the power of words. This article contributes to the many obstacles young women face. What do women have to look forward to as they become successful? Being called "whores" and "trollops" by mainstream newspapers. Adam has taken the power of the pen and turned it into a weapon for humiliating women. Shame on him.
Worst-Case Scenario, Kenny Be, January 18
I thought that Kenny Be's cartoon about Horace Mann Middle School was the funniest thing I ever saw. When I read the letter in the next issue from a teacher who took offense to the satire of Colorado yuppies who really do treat their dogs like their babies and refuse to give birth to human children (I know people who are like that), I was really surprised. How could someone who is a teacher (I was only a substitute) not see that the joke had nothing to do with the school, but revealed a very real trend (or disorder) that is sickening to observe? I just hope that this teacher's total lack of a sense of humor doesn't produce more of these idiots.
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"Road Warriors," Jessica Centers, January 25
An incredibly detailed and well-researched article, and great focus on the educational aspect. American kids are the hope of the world, since their parents are clearly clueless.