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Letters

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Letters

Christmas a reminder of our better selves

Have you ever asked yourself: “Why can’t the Christmas spirit last all year?” The warmth we feel when helping others, the joy of sacrificial giving or just celebrating with loved ones. We seem more tolerant, more forgiving of slights and more generous than any other time of year. What is it about Christmas?

Is it possible we transform under the influence of something divine? Could something be showing us that if we practiced the love of others before love of self, we could indeed experience Christmas all year?

Most religions reflect this motto in one form or another: “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Or “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

As a child, Christmas was the most magical time of year. Not just because I received gifts, but because of how I felt when saving for months to surprise loved ones with tokens of my love. Those feelings were reinforced with signs and symbols displayed in the Courthouse Square as well as every store in town. “Merry Christmas” was on everyone’s lips and afterward in our hearts as well.

Each year these symbols of Christmas are being reduced, and unless we decide otherwise, will soon be removed from our cities and towns. Mankind in general cannot sustain altruism without an outside force. Whatever you choose to call your higher power, it’s that desire to live up to those beliefs that urge us to help others. Instead of erasing these symbols, we should be embracing the very thing that sets us apart from nature.

Love isn’t created in a vacuum. It’s taught and it’s nurtured. And we humans need reminders. I say we keep them. Merry Christmas!

MONICA KOLDYKE MILLER Decatur

True tea party agenda now becomes clear

A CBS News headline on Nov. 9 read “Big GOP donors see small return on investment.”

The truth is now revealed: The tea party is in fact an undercover Democratic commando unit. Its mission: to promote the nomination of mostly unelectable Republicans, to polarize moderates so they vote for anybody except a Republican, and to arrange an effective tax on the wealthy by causing the transfer of incredibly large amounts of anonymous money from a bunch of right-wing rich people into the larger economy.

Tea party, you’re doing a heck of a job!

ANNE ARGAST Garrett

Documentation for state waste of teachers’ skills

I had just finished watching the 1 p.m. NFL game on a Sunday (Colts win!). My mood stayed upbeat as I gathered material and began planning a weeklong reading curriculum. I was looking forward to my sixth-grade students becoming better at critical thinking and citing.

An hour or so later I realized that I should stop my planning of reading instruction so I could work on my mandatory RISE-inspired (Indiana evaluation and development system) documentation, and my mood turned 180 degrees.

Our school system has developed its own modified evaluation, but it is still based on the RISE system, it is still mandated by the state, and it is still demeaning toward teachers. There are better ways to prove that I can and do teach than stuffing a three-ring binder with pages and pages of rubrics, artifacts and other documentation.

Look at the improvement of our school’s test scores (if you’re a fan of standardized tests), come into the building to see the care the teachers show our students, ask our principal about the quality of the teachers. These types of evaluation methods work. RISE is too time-consuming; it saps energy that I could spend on other areas of teaching.

TOM SMITH Bellmont Middle School Decatur

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