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Test scores, responsibility

Those were some pretty dismal test results from the area high schools. And plenty of excuses, except there is no acceptable excuse.

I would really like to see a study following this group of students, and see how many of these students finish high school, go on to junior college or university, become unwed teenage mothers, join a gang, go to prison, start a business, etc.

A key part of being a success in life, involves being able to read, write and count. I suppose the next step will be to make the tests easier, or say they are unfair, or say they don't have enough money, or not enough pencils.

This is not acceptable. Parents and schools need to be held, and to hold each other, accountable. They need to work together.

Johnny can't read. Why? Parents should know when their kids aren't doing well in school, if they are paying the least bit of attention. The teachers need to speak to parents and both should work with the kid to figure out why, then correct.

I suspect many parents use the schools as a daycare, and don't pay attention to what's going on. Which is going to end up with a kid who fails at life.

We don't need a generation of functionally illiterate people who can't count either.

Boris Roberts

Santa Maria

Council move disappointing

I couldn’t be more disheartened by the inaction of our City Council regarding the Arts Master Plan and Ordinance.

Early on, council members Boyson and Waterfield were clearly prepared to pronounce the plan DOA, with council woman Waterfield at one point, among other ludicrous notions, suggesting all the city’s nonprofits could join together and pay for public art. An incomprehensible notion, since most arts nonprofits are volunteer organizations struggling to fulfill their individual core missions.

Councilman Cordero seemed to understand the value of public art and was ready to support the ordinance, but, after Boyson and Waterfield continued to poison the well with convoluted attacks, he was forced to side with Councilman Moats, who moved to create a new committee to re-examine the ordinance. To Cordero’s credit, he kept the ordinance from dying on the spot.

Most telling was the overt, elated reaction from developer Dan Blough after the vote, high-fiving city staff, which only affirmed that it is developers who are calling the shots in Santa Maria.

So, instead of sending a message that Santa Maria is on the verge of a cultural transformation, they are committed to status quo. Retail sales tax is king.

Unfortunately, a run-down-looking city is an open invitation to more crime, lower property values, and a disinterested and unconnected population.

After two hours of testimony the council just gave lip service to support public art, then shot it down. Sending this to a new committee is nothing but a delay tactic, and a chance to cripple this ordinance so it never sees the light of day.

Elections are coming up and we need people sitting on that council who actually understand the value of art.

Craig Shafer

Santa Maria