Week of June 20, 2001

Reine Hauser
via the Internet

Do Us a Favor
Testing is just one measure of performance: I am a teacher in the Ferguson-Florissant School District, and I was shocked after reading the letter by Lisa Payne-Naeger, a member of the Francis Howell school board ["Letters," RFT, June 6]. The tone of her letter, which called for a more "balanced" view of standardized testing, is really an antagonistic attack (for lack of a better word) on the state of public education, and how it will all be fixed with standardized tests! I am ever so grateful that our school-board members are more supportive partners in the educational process than she appears to be.

Standardized testing is a complex, highly charged and emotional topic for all of us involved in educating children. However, holding schools solely accountable for kids' tests scores hardly constitutes quality education, which is what everyone wants out of our school systems. Certainly it is important that the state tests be taken seriously. But state standardized tests are only one measure of a student's performance. Until parents are held equally accountable for doing their jobs of ensuring kids complete homework, are read to, are fed properly and are put to bed at a reasonable hour, standardized testing will not measure real learning.

Holding a public education system accountable for student success is truly everyone's job. But do all educators a favor: Walk in all of our shoes so that you sound more informed about educational process. Education is, after all, part art, part science, and standardized testing is but one piece of the educational pie!
Jackie Mafuli

Music to Her Ears
You've spotlighted a true underground group: Thank you to John Darnielle for his review of Eyehategod's newest CD ["Rotations," RFT, June 6]. Not only is it wonderful to see the RFT throw a spotlight on such an underground group, but the article is so astute in its contrast to mainstream rock. For a girl who listens to everything from Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire to PJ Harvey and Air, Eyehategod is sublime sludge mood music; the feedback alone is inspired.
Christine Kennedy

St. Louis

The Cynic René
Disappointed in your cynical approach: I agree with René Saller that there are a number of bands in St. Louis currently, both good and bad ["Radar Station," RFT, June 6]. I also agree that it must be difficult to consistently receive correspondence from bands.

The coverage of the bands mentioned -- the Julia Sets, the Star Death, the Fantasy Four, the Homewreckers, etc. -- is well deserved. I, too, have an affection for what I have heard from these groups.

However, I am disappointed that the Riverfront Times has for years taken a very cynical approach to covering local musicians. Additionally, having only one voice covering the local scene (i.e. Saller) is limiting. I am not knocking Saller personally. Each of us has diverse tastes in music. Some of us who love music may often debate over topics with a certain ferocity behind our opinion, so I can understand why Saller would constantly be disappointed with some of the music she receives. Not everything will fit into each individual's perception of "good local music."

However, her individual opinion of good versus bad cannot begin to touch on the diverse tastes which underlie the entire St. Louis music scene, nor can it elaborate on the bands outside her particular niche of taste. Having only one voice is a disservice to the local community.
Rich Williams
Maryville, Ill.

My Never-Ending Story
Mary Engelbreit wasn't naked! For the record, I encountered August Busch III and IV in ICU room 5 at St. John's Mercy Medical Center [Wm. Stage, "Funny Business," RFT, June 6]. The story had the right room but the wrong hospital.

As for Glenn McCoy, the very gifted creator of the syndicated comic strip The Duplex, I'll see about sending him some royalties from the T-shirt of his that we once sold through Snicker. The revenues are tied up in one of my offshore Cayman Islands accounts, so I may have to pay him in the local currency, which is rum or hashish, I believe.

In the article, Mary Engelbreit insinuated that my drawing of her was an obscenity. I drew her with all her clothes on, not naked, so how can that be considered obscene? The courts define obscenity two ways: You have to show some genitalia, and there has to be penetration depicted at the same time. Neither was shown in my depiction of our sweet Mary.

Lastly, in your story, Mr. Wald wonders why I got excited with him. He stated, "I've never seen anybody open the box, buy a paper out of there." Before he cut the cord and moved our vending machine, he purchased a copy of Snicker from that same box. He then decided that he didn't like it and that nobody else must be allowed to read Snicker, either! Notice, when you go past 6655 Delmar, the other newspaper boxes belonging to the Post-Dispatch, USA Today and the RFT; Mr. Wald didn't dare try to remove these other newspapers' vending boxes! So Mr. Wald can't understand my excitement at having my personal property moved by him? Get real!

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