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Letters, Nov. 3

Renaming John Muir school

I was surprised to see students at John Muir Outdoor School virtually unanimous in supporting the canceling of Muir’s name. As a former biology professor, may I suggest a homework assignment, to ensure the students are well-read and considering diverse points of view?

On my blog (www.raymondbarnett.com), via the “Blog” link, they can read British publisher Jacquetta Megarry’s “Four Fallacies to Avoid in Evaluating Historical Figures,” and my own “John Muir a Racist?! Scholars, Sierra Club Leaders Refute the Charge.” Both are short; the second includes dissenting comments by former Sierra Club national president Richard Cellarius, former Sierra Club Foundation president Guy Saperstein (“your attack is political correctness run amuck”), Muir biographers Donald Worster and myself, current Sierra Club board member Chad Hanson, and British outdoorswoman Megarry again (Sierra Club charges of racism “display considerable ignorance of their founder’s early life, his nuanced writings, and above all the attitudes prevalent when he lived”). This second blog essay contains links permitting direct access to the relevant articles by Worster, Megarry, Hanson, and Barnett. Total reading time for all this: under two hours.

Come to think of it: not a bad assignment for the School Board, too!

Raymond Barnett, Ph.D., professor emeritus of biology, California State University, Chico

Chico, California

Masked behavior

Walking into Walmart, I encountured a person who was deliberately saying no to the mask mandates of Walmart. I shopped and observed that the individual and family were still not wearing a mask.

I confronted the individual about not wearing the mask and he responded with the “f” word. Then, he said, “Who are you and I’m a Marine.” I said, “I don’t care. I’m a vet.”

All I want to say is, if you’re a Marine, then protect your family and the rest of us and stop being a jerk about it.

Loren Wittenberg


Responding to Buchanan

Patrick Buchanan, wanting to support the conservative Republican candidate in Virginia, presents a viewpoint that I find contrary to maintaining a good education system.

First and foremost, politics should have no place in determining what is taught in our schools.

We require teachers to complete a minimun of four years of college and continuing education classes. That education and the facts derived from those years of study should determine a school’s curriculum. Having parents, politics and skewed historical viewpoints involved in.curriculum decisions leads to chaos.

I want today’s school children to be taught facts. What they do with those facts as adults is not the school’s responsibility.

Barry Peckham