Printed letters, July 26, 2012
School buildings are being readied for the 2012-13 school year, personnel openings are being filled or have been filled, despite serious budget restraints. But otherwise, all seems quiet on the education scene.
But that isn’t the situation at the federal level. The U.S. Department of Education has been busy with its $77 billion annual budget.
President Barack Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan are continually evolving a grand design for all the nation’s school districts. These plans and policies, if implemented fully, will cause another huge governmental intrusion into the lives of citizens and students, with no positive effect whatsoever.
The education of our young people is constitutionally the responsibility of the states, not the federal government. Obama and Duncan apparently believe, incorrectly, that responsibility is theirs alone to direct all educational policies in the land.
Such arrogance and narcissism on their part are abhorrent. They have no interest in the welfare of teachers and students. They do have an insatiable lust for power in Washington, and they believe there is no better place to further that drive than in our schools and in the minds of students.
School district policies are supposed to originate at the local level through our elected school boards, acting with support and funding locally and from the state. These policies include curriculum content, textbooks and selection of other learning materials. These policies direct professional staff to implement what is to occur in each school and classroom.
The U.S. Department of Education says it should be the other way around. We citizens send the department billions, and then it determines what should be taught. It dangles funds to force states and local school districts to do its bidding on things such as curriculum content, testing and more.
This summer, our local board of education finalized a budget for 2012-13 for a total of $154 million. This reflected a budget reduction of $5.76 million. This reduction was added to previous cuts, now totaling $34.4 million.
Taxpayers in our county must become very familiar of the sources of the district’s revenue, because with money (funding) comes control.
County fair illustratesagriculture’s importance
Congratulations to all the people responsible for making the 125th Mesa County Fair one of the best ever. It brought back memories.
Wandering the fairgrounds last week, I recalled the steer I raised from a calf as a youngster in the 4H Club. His name was Sir Humphrey. I remember that I was very proud — and a little sad — when he brought a good price at auction to raise money for charity. It was a formative experience for me.
The roots of agriculture go deep in the Grand Valley. Along with mining and the railroad, agriculture first put Grand Junction on the map.
Not only are farming and ranching still important to the Western Slope economy, but our quality of life and many of our most important shared values also grew from our agricultural heritage. Agriculture is a big part of who we are.
As we plan for our future, we must never forget that farming and ranching matter to all of us here in the valley. Agriculture may not have the army of lawyers and lobbyists in Denver that some other industries do, but, for everyone’s sake, government policies must take seriously into account the needs of farmers and ranchers.
In particular, as competition for limited water supplies increases, we must act to ensure agriculture will continue to have access to the water it needs to be viable in the future.
DAN ROBINSON, Candidate
House of Representatives
Botanical Gardens pact shows good common sense
I was so tickled to read the article about the wonderful cooperation between the Botanical Gardens and Mesa Developmental Services. What a great combination. I’m thinking they need to have the fairgrounds, Two Rivers, the Avalon and any other unproductive bloodsucker the area has turned over to them.
What a wonderful way to give a really good purpose to people, akin to the dairy that was taken from the Grand Junction Regional Center so many years ago.
It not only gives pride in a job well done, it gives a reason for being, which everyone needs, even if they haven’t yet figured this out.
I think I will schedule a visit so I can tell them how impressed with their work I am. Perhaps others should also do this, and not just on the free days.
I heard that last winter they used barrels filled with water and placed on the south walls to absorb heat during the day so it could be released at night. We think we will use that in our greenhouse when we get it up.
I cannot express enough the joy it gave me to read this article. Just plain good old common sense being used by a public entity. Yes.