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Forum, Jan. 9: State Rep.’s letter

Published: 1/11/2023 3:52:39 PM
Modified: 1/11/2023 3:51:43 PM
State Rep.’s letter lacked evidence

I was disheartened to read in the Jan. 4 Valley News that State Rep. John Sellers believes that “there are books in many of our schools that are pornographic and even demonic.” (“State representative warns about ‘demonic’ books,” Jan. 4)

What I found most disheartening was that Sellers made these claims without providing any evidence of such content, nor did the Valley News require such evidence. I would like to challenge Rep. Sellers to provide such evidence in a reply to the Valley News for publication so that we may all exercise critical thinking to form our own conclusions.

Sellers further alleges, also without evidence, that schools are “indoctrinating and grooming your kids” and that “kids are not learning to think/reason/read or do math.” These claims are both vague and unsupported by evidence, which makes them impossible to address.

Being on the School Board is a job that requires substantial commitment of time and energy and is not a job that is taken lightly by board members. All of my colleagues on the SAU 6 School Board are there because they want to ensure the best possible education that we can provide for our children. It is frustrating to hear unsubstantiated critique of our efforts in a forum that inhibits open discourse. I would therefore request that Sellers, in his duty as an elected official and representative of citizens of District 18, supply evidence to substantiate his claims.

I would like to say that there is one point upon which Rep. Sellers and I agree: that citizens should participate in their school boards, either by running for office or by attending and speaking up at meetings to make their views heard. Active and constructive public participation in the important job of educating our children would be most welcome and would be to the benefit of our entire society.

Dr. Marjorie A Erickson

Chair, SAU 6 and Unity School Boards

Colleges fail on moral instruction

I partly agree with Steve Nelson (“Sensibilities,” Dec. 4) that elite colleges and universities are tone-deaf to pressures they place upon applicants who eventually become students. Why does it happen? First, elite colleges pride themselves in their high rejection rates, which puts intense pressure on applicants. Second, they’re doing an inferior job of preparing their graduates for life after graduation. This starts with high school graduates subjected to increasingly “woke” influences by generations of college graduates, indirectly through decades of social policy and directly in the classroom through increasingly secular and humanistic philosophies. Colleges that once inculcated positive social values have largely abandoned their “Judeo-Christian” and altruistic origins; many were established by Christian churches and denominations.

Take our own Dartmouth College, for example. Under Phil Hanlon’s administration there was a purge of the symbolism that accompanied the motto Vox Clamantis in Deserto, “A Voice Crying in the Wilderness” (Biblical reference to John the Baptist calling for repentance). First it was Baker Library’s infamous weathervane, then the simplified pine tree logo — next, God only knows. In 1888, students and professors from Dartmouth established the United Church of Christ of Olcott (now Wilder), appointing Dartmouth graduate Austin S. Chase as its first pastor. I know, because I pastored one of its succeeding congregations for 26 years. Eleazar Wheelock would turn over in his grave at the college’s departure from its Godly roots.

Unfortunately, there’s a disconcerting new scale by which academic success is now measured. Graduates depart those institutions intellectually full and spiritually near empty. Multi-billion-dollar endowments insulate Ivy League schools from the vulnerability of their students. Corporate decisions align more frequently with what’s best for their bottom line than with what’s best for the intellectual, ethical, emotional, and character development of their students. Paraphrasing Alexis de Tocqueville, these colleges became great because they were devoted to goodness. To the degree they have ceased to do that, they’ve ceased to be great.

William A. Wittik

Hartford

‘Pornographic and demonic?’ Tell us more.

After reading State Rep. Seller’s letter to the editor in the Wednesday Jan. 4 Valley News (“State representative warns about ‘demonic’ books,” Jan. 4), I am interested to know what books he considers “pornographic and demonic.”

Please provide full titles and authors’ names. Thank you.

Paul Cooker

Chelsea




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