Printed letters, January 16, 2013
I want to thank the District 51 Board of Education for hosting open houses last week to gather input on proposed calendars for the 2013-14 school year. I was unable to attend, but my husband participated in the event at Pomona Elementary and brought home the sample calendars.
Upon reviewing them, I have two concerns.
First, the board states that the goal in changing the calendar is “increasing student achievement.” Aside from anecdotal information, are there studies that consistently show an increase in student achievement from either a shortened summer break or a four-day week? If there is no overwhelming evidence that either of these options truly helps students learn, the board should re-evaluate changing the calendars and focus on modifications that will truly meet the end goal.
For example, it has been shown that later morning start times for middle and high school students are beneficial. We know that smaller class sizes significantly benefit elementary school students. Yes, these changes cost money, and yes, they would upset the almighty bus schedule. But, if they would truly increase student achievement, maybe it’s time to stop saying no and start looking creatively for solutions.
Second, in making elaborate changes to the school calendar, without clear evidence of a benefit, it seems that change is being made for the sake of change. Furthermore, the changes may be very difficult for working parents.
I appreciate the difficulty of the tasks facing the board and thank its members for their efforts.
Inaccurate appraisal spikes the costs of home ownership
I was looking at my bill for insurance on my house and wasn’t happy with its price. I thought it was too high. I started to check out why and found out it wasn’t my insurance. It was what the appraiser had said was in my house.
He had appraised my house as having a jetted tub, a gas fireplace and full basement. I have none of these things. So, I called and asked why he put these things as being in my house.
He said it was no big deal and he would change them. He said, “It will only save you $12 a month anyway.” He forgot that it saves $12 from taxes and $249 a year in insurance. It also made my mortgage go down.
So, I checked the rest of the houses in the same section, and they also have been taxed for things they don’t have. It is sad we are being overcharged by our own assessor’s office. The appraiser in question is getting paid to do a job and hasn’t done it right.
Obama unfairly blamed for restricting rights
Many conservatives hate President Obama because they think he is a socialist or communist and he is taking away your rights and freedoms. Really?
Name me one right, freedom or liberty you don’t have now that you had before Obama took office.
In fact, who has taken away union and workers rights? Who is trying to limit the rights of Americans to vote? Who wants to limit women’s reproductive rights and their right to choose? Who is denying people the right to love and marry whomever they please?
These are a few of the many rights, freedoms and liberties being denied the American people by Republican governors and their conservative legislators.
Conservatives say they want a smaller government, yet they want a government big enough to control people’s lives. What is the definition of hypocrisy?
Gun control curtails rights, but doesn’t deter shootings
The Connecticut school shooting was tragic. No one can understand what the survivors and families are going through. As any parent who has lost a child can attest, the anguish is almost unbearable. While the pain eventually abates, it never goes away.
Unfortunately, government is using this tragedy to advance more gun control, and gun control is not the answer. Nevertheless, the administration has announced that President Obama can bypass Congress and enact some gun control by executive order.
Vice President Joe Biden has suggested making penalties stiffer for anyone found carrying a gun in a school zone. That would not have deterred the Connecticut shooter. He was not caught carrying weapons, and he didn’t plan to live long enough to be penalized.
Gun bans only stop law-abiding citizens. They do not stop criminals or unstable people. People determined to take as many lives as possible target places where guns are banned. The ban on guns in the Aurora theater was probably one reason that shooter chose the theater. He could kill more people because no armed citizens were present.
The Second Amendment guarantees U.S. citizens the right to bear arms. Having lived through an abusive monarchy, the Founders wanted citizens able to defend themselves, even against government. Giving up your guns reduces your power. Governments love that.
Please memorize this quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”