By DR. LARRY MOSES
No one asked me but… Judge Gloria Navarro is considering the possibility of a mistrial in the case of Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy and his co-defendants. She is considering this action because it has been discovered that federal prosecutors have withheld evidence from the defendant’s attorneys.
Not only has the government withheld evidence, they have actually destroyed evidence. It is evident that the BLM took video of portions of the standoff and they have either destroyed those videos or are withholding them from the court.
The BLM admits that they had at least one video camera in position for at least four days. The prosecutors originally told the judge that the camera was broken the first day; however, a BLM employee stated that the camera was not broken and was indeed in use for at least four days. They then changed their story. The camera was used but did not record anything
BLM officials have admitted to destroying evidence at the field headquarters after mounted cowboys retrieved the cattle that had been rounded up. The BLM contends this evidence would not help the cause of the defendants and the judge originally agreed even though she had no way of knowing what that evidence might be.
This evidence could have very well confirmed the illegal detention of a Bundy family member while he attempted to film the roundup from a state highway. It might well have documented the aggressive actions of BLM agents against peacefully assembled citizens. This may have provided information as to the illegal killing of cattle too difficult to round up. It may have document the fact that calves died due to the roundup.
There is a good chance Judge Navarro would not have allowed this evidence into court. But one must question what else was contained in those BLM e-mails, texts, and tweets that have been destroyed. One must wonder: If these communications were favorable to the cause of the BLM, why would they destroy them?
My advice to Judge Navarro (I am sure she is waiting to see what it would be), is to declare a mistrial with prejudice declaring any grazing fees or penalties are covered by the two years rancher Bundy and his supporters have spent in prison awaiting trial. I believe she should further direct the BLM to read the Taylor Grazing Act and get into compliance before taking any further action against rancher Bundy and his cattle.
No one asked me but… Great news! The Clark County School District graduation rate has increased from just over 70 percent to 83 percent. Locally Moapa Valley High School graduation rate increased from just over 90 percent to 98.3 percent. Some schools saw graduation rates increase by almost 30 percent in a single year.
What was the great education reform that took place last year that moved the graduation needle? I hate to break your bubble but no great reform took place.
For the most part, the increase was due to the fact that exit exams were no longer required for graduation. The requirement for graduation was returned to the successful completion of twenty-two and a half credits. The successful completion was based on the judgement of the teachers who offered those courses.
Those of you who are old like me will remember when teachers were respected enough to allow them to decide when a student was adequate in the teacher’s area of proficiency. That was before educational elitists decided that every American walking down the street must know how to write a five-paragraph essay and be able to display calculus level math skills.
Don’t get me wrong, I see nothing wrong with people being skilled to that level. I do find it wrong to condemn those who do not reach that level of educational sophistication to the handicap of attempting to exist without a high school diploma.
Let me run the risk of bringing down the ire of my fellow educators as I make a distinction between adequate and proficient. A dictionary definition of proficient is “well advanced or competent in any art, science, or subject; skilled: an expert.” The dictionary definition of adequate is “as much or as good as necessary for some requirement or purpose; fully sufficient, suitable, or fit.”
Let me suggest to you that a public-school system should aim for adequate rather than proficient. When a child leaves high school, they should be educated to a level that is adequate for them to then choose the area in which they wish to be proficient.
For some students, this may require the ability to write a five-paragraph essay or understand the intricacies of calculus. I would suggest for the vast majority of Americans this is not the case.
Most need basic math skills and the ability to write a note that can communicate the message desired. That is not math proficiency or English proficiency; that is math and English adequacy. The person best able to judge that is the proficient classroom teacher not some educational elitist at Harvard.
Those students who have been denied a diploma, due to failure to pass a proficiency test from 1982-2015, may now go back to the district and ask for a diploma. I would encourage those Moapa Valley High School ex-students who completed the required credits but failed a proficiency test and were therefore denied a diploma to contact the school. I would further encourage the school to make an overt effort to contact those students and make sure they get them a diploma.
It further makes me wonder how many students gave up during their senior year because they felt that they could not pass the end of the year test. I believe it behooves the CCSD to find those students as well and make the courses needed to complete their high school requirements for graduation available. There should be a good faith effort to make these courses available without cost to those ex-students.
One must wonder what opportunities were lost by those students deemed unworthy of a diploma by requirements established by those educational elitists. How many jobs were out of reach for a non-graduate with all the credits for graduation but were unable to pass a test that measured proficiency rather than adequacy. Who among those denied a diploma failed to enter the military, go to college, or have been passed over for promotion based on the fact that they did not have a diploma.
Thought of the week… “A “racist” thinks themselves better than other races. An “elitist” thinks they are better than everyone.”
― A.E. Samaan