Printed Letters: April 15, 2014

GJHS process of evaluating teacher was flawed

The teachers association actively works to ensure that every student in District 51 is taught by an effective teacher. Reaching the status of “effective educator” is difficult to achieve, and those who cannot reach this status are rightfully coached out of the school district on a regular basis with the support of the Mesa Valley Education Association.

For the sake of every student and teacher in our district, it is critical that we have a best-practice evaluation process to determine the effectiveness of a teacher. Teachers, administrators and our local school board partnered from 2005 to 2010 to develop and adopt a cutting-edge evaluation process, which has been used with great success to both sort and support our teachers. When used with fidelity, there is never a question of whether a teacher is effective or ineffective.

It is exceedingly rare for the teachers association to challenge a teacher’s dismissal. In fact, in the past 10 years it has only happened twice, which speaks to the integrity of the D51 administration and the success of our evaluation process. However, in our recent challenge, we strongly believe that the evaluation process was not adhered to, and that was substantiated by the judge’s findings which stated, “In reality, the administration only paid lip service to the formats of the evaluation process and did not carry it out in substance.” Because the evaluation process wasn’t followed, it would be impossible to make a determination about the teacher’s performance.

Parents, students, teachers and the community at large all have an interest in D51 administrators demonstrating fidelity to our best-practice evaluation process. It is at the very heart of our schools’ ability to effectively educate the future leaders in our community.

This letter is on behalf of the executive council of the Mesa Valley Education Association.

Mesa Valley Education Association
Grand Junction

Conservatives want rule of law
 only when it fits their purpose

Whenever a person from Mexico crosses the border illegally, tea party members and other conservatives quickly yell,  “We are a country with respect for the rule of law.”

On the other hand, when ranchers trespass on federal land and refuse to pay grazing fees, these same persons are up in arms defending freeloaders with their rifles. Does this mean the rule of law only applies to conservatives if it fits their purpose?  It sure seems that way.

Grand Junction

BLM exerts police power even though it has no right to do so

After reading through the Sentinel this Sunday, I found two articles of extreme interest to Western Slope residents. I enjoyed reading about the sage-grouse tours and what is already being done to protect and enhance the population of these curious birds by the people of the state of Colorado. In another section I read about how the BLM had “abruptly” ended the seizure of cattle and backed away from the controversy of public land use on a southern Nevada ranch.

What I am concerned most about is the perceived police power the BLM is apparently exercising on lands that they have no law enforcement authority. Are we looking at the same situations here on the Western Slope when the feds add sage grouse to the infamous endangered species list? Will the ranchers, energy industry or public in general be met with armed BLM rangers, helicopters and even snipers when they try to access public lands where the sage grouse “might” inhabit? One of the main reasons the feds cite as the cause of the seizure is an “endangered” tortoise.

I know numerous issues surround the Nevada situation. I also know the federal land agencies serving the Western Slope are being pressured by fanatical environmentalists and politicians to seize more and more control over our public lands through new land-use plans and restrictive land-use declarations. A wise man once said: Beware of those who don’t study their history because they are bound to repeat it. Round two of the Sage Brush Rebellion came very close to becoming violent in Nevada last week.

Grand Junction

Navy SEALS, others better beware if Pennington’s elected

What fun it is to be a spectator of Mesa County politics! Instead of offering a candidate with qualifications to manage a jail or supervise a team of crime scene investigators or make sure the county is fully prepared for natural or man-made disasters, the Republicans want to provide us with a “constitutional” sheriff — one who will defend us against the evils of the EPA, BLM, IRS, TSA, FDA, SSA and NSA, and let’s not forget the FFA and PTA!

What better place than Mesa to raise an army of fat, old, loud-mouth white men, pumped up and full of bravado after listening to endless hours of El Rush-bo on the radio. You Navy SEALs and Army Rangers and Secret Service agents better be shaking in your boots, soon-to-be Sheriff Pennington is “coming after ya.”



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