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Credit due elsewhere on learning modes

To the Bulletin:

I was pleased to see the front-page article last week about Amherst Regional Middle School’s student “persistence over intelligence” program. I think it is important to give credit where credit is due. The primary research that has resulted in our understanding of the importance of the “growth mind set” as opposed to the “fixed mind set” in terms of student intelligence was done by the social psychologist, Dr. Carol Dweck, currently located at Stanford University in California. It seems the journalist, Paul Tough, may have done a great job of pulling together the existing research on these issues, but, let’s be clear that he is not the originator of these breakthroughs, just the popular press trumpeter of them.

One other quibble with Tough, his example of KIPP school success in motivating their students to pursue college due to their “character education” program neglects to mention the fact that KIPP schools routinely purge their rolls of students who are struggling. So, when KIPP manages to rid its schools of the harder-to-teach students, their effectiveness is bound to appear greater, regardless of the curriculum and/or pedagogy.

Florence R. Sullivan, Ph.D.

School of Education

UMass, Amherst

Mitt Romney couldn’t amass public support

To the Bulletin:

There are a multitude of reasons why Mitt Romney was not elected. Among the most basic reasons is that hardly anyone really wanted him to be president. He suffered from a weak demand. Most of the Republican presidents of my lifetime had a big following before they ran.

This was certainly true of Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan, and even for Nixon and “W.” (The elder Bush did not inspire adulation but he had been Reagan’s vice president and some of the stardust had rubbed off on him. Ford is a special case since he was not popularly elected.) Romney’s voters were voting more against Obama than for Romney.

Karl W. Ryavec


COG offers thanks
on charter vote

To the Bulletin:

The councilors and staff of the Hampshire Council of Governments would like to thank the citizens of our member municipalities that voted in favor of our charter amendments.

Since the original charter was passed in 1999, the council has re-oriented its mission and services to better serve our member municipalities. The revisions to the charter streamline our operating procedures and make the council a more efficient organization. We will continue groundbreaking work in areas of electricity, solar power, local purchasing, municipal services, volunteering, tobacco cessation, health insurance and wellness, tourism, and economic development.

We do not depend on taxpayer dollars; in fact, our mission is to save taxpayer dollars. We are not grant dependent; in fact we are financially self-sufficient. We strive to support our local economy by investing locally and helping our municipalities to make their purchases locally. We use the power of bulk to lower prices for towns, nonprofits, businesses, and residents. Innovative programs such as the electricity aggregation and regional solar program save our region millions of dollars annually.

We are a region with great promise and great challenges. The council believes that only by joining together can we reach our full potential. The council also believes that this region needs to be united to receive its fair share of federal and state resources that are being funneled to more organized regions. Thank you for supporting this vision by voting to amend our charter.

William R. Barnett

Barnett wrote on behalf of the Board of Councilors of the Hampshire Council of Governments, based in Northampton.

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