Email letters, April 26, 2012

Will SB 191 change need for administrators?

Recently The Daily Sentinel printed an article by Emily Anderson “Cutting administrators bad idea.” The article was well written and informative. It was in reference to the school district’s planned budget cuts and where they could occur.

I’m not sure that the valley’s parents (voters), educators as a whole or others interested in the district’s funding woes are aware of Senate Bill 191 known as the Educator Effectiveness Bill or its intent. Surely everyone can agree that teaching effectiveness and student learning can always be improved. Both state and federal attempts towards this goal has been going on for as long as we have had schools and for as long as I can remember. 

As a life-long career teacher and administrator (now retired) in our state, I can attest to these efforts for sure. I am surprised that this bill which passed sometime ago will not take effect until the fall of 2013. Why is it taking so long? From what I can understand, although teachers have been evaluated as they should, now administrators will also be evaluated. 

Is this process to change? How is it changing? Who will evaluate the evaluators — and, of course, what is the goal? And I think that teachers should know the job description of those who evaluate them. Are current administrators going to change what they do daily? Will they spend more time in the classrooms mentoring newer teachers? Have they themselves at some time in their careers been master teachers? I would hope so.

Marcia Neal seems to feel that this bill will improve teaching and learning. Will, in fact, current administrators find themselves under increasing demand to improve teaching and learning? And then, back to the premise that we had better not cut administrators so they can do a more effective job. These are tough questions that demand answers. I have always been suspicious of any mandate coming from above (outside), yet there have to be standards of achievement on the part of administrators, teachers and students.

I am somewhat pleased that this bill originated at the state level. The states have the responsibility of educating our young people. I am further pleased that the U.S. Department of Education does not apparently seem to be involved. That bloated bureaucracy with a current budget of $79 billion has nothing to show for itself, what would happen if that $79 billion were brought back to the states and distributed on a per capita basis of school age youth? Oh well that could be the subject of another essay.

In conclusion, there are many fine teachers, administrators and schools in our valley, identify them and learn from them. If building level administrators and coordinators are not actively involved daily on improving teaching and therefore student learning, hopefully this bill will bring about that that needed change.

Grand Junction

U.S. is becoming entitlement top heavy

Pundits claim the country is becoming more and more like Europe every day, entitlement top heavy. I thought that was just partisan rhetoric until I started to notice a lot more TV ads for “absolutely free to you/delivered to your door/we’ll do all the paper work” medical services, (a la Medicare, of course) from diabetic and incontinence supplies to motorized scooter chairs. These ads always feature disclaimers regarding eligibility and qualifications, but the advertising doesn’t come cheap. I wonder who’s paying for that?

There was a time when ads by lawyers was considered tacky and unethical. I guess that was too old fashioned, so now the once scorned ambulance chasers along with hoards of disability and personal injury lawyers are vocal on all the air waves.

The feeding frenzy of advertising for clients is not only the path of least resistance in an entitlement society, but the lawyer’s path to riches. In the shadow of mushrooming deficit spending and welfare hand outs, lawyers are doing quite well depending on government largess. The others who do well are the politicians who buy votes by giving away free benefits to the gimme crowd.

It’s madness, and we can’t keep writing checks on an over drawn account.

Grand Junction

Any exposure to radiation increases cancer risk

The recent discussions in The Daily Sentinel on radiation exposure in western Colorado, while somewhat informative, do a great disservice to the average citizen by dismissing the true risk and consequence of radiation exposure. The quotes from Teresa Coons, unfortunately, do little to educate and arm the sensible public in their right to a safe and healthy life here in Mesa County.

For myself, the hidden message could not be clearer. Let’s not commit to any activity that increases our already elevated exposure. Conclusion: we are already four times more likely than the average American to suffer the negative health impacts of radiation. To seek comfort in the notion of hormesis, apparently advocated by Coons, stating that low levels of radiation may be beneficial to our biology, is akin to noting that some smokers live to be 90 and therefore smoking is healthy.

First, it is important to understand that the science of radiation exposure and subsequent health and mortality is still in its infancy. Much of what we know is based on epidemiological studies of large regional populations. Because of the diluted certainty of cause and effect with increasing delay between exposure and cancer, these studies necessarily interpret risk by correlating radiation exposure with unusual observed incidence of cancer. It is also important to understand that the science becomes more conclusive with larger doses and subsequent immediate effects in animal and human studies.

The preponderance of evidence shows that radiation is harmful. The EPA and National Academy of Sciences (Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation/ BEIR report) both support the “Linear No-threshold Model” of radiation risk. Simply stated, there is no safety threshold and the sum of all small doses equals the effect of one large dose. Their conclusion is that “every exposure to radiation produces a corresponding increase in cancer risk.”

It is important to keep this in mind as our region turns perilously toward increased activity in uranium mining, milling and, potentially, nuclear power.

Grand Junction

Tea party does not belong to one person

In response to Marjorie Haun’s letter of April 25, I really appreciate her inviting me to her tea party at Lincoln Park. I was not aware of the need for a formal written invitation, but since she has so graciously offered same, I will take it under consideration.

I presume that she have consulted with her fellow appointed (not elected) board members of the WSCA, the Mesa County Republicans faction controlled by Lois Dunn and Ruth Ehlers, and gotten their full approval.

Evidently, she is unaware of the nationwide attempt to co opt the real grassroots tea parties by the RINO Republicans with their own tightly controlled “astro turf” tea parties. The purpose of this is to dilute the tea parties, move them to the left, mix up their philosophies and candidates, and to maintain political control of the tea parties under Republican main stream domination.

This keeps political power out of the hands of the people and in the hands of the party elite. I worked street corners from 6 a.m. until midday for weeks, advertizing the original GJResults tea party, that drew thousands. I worked security for the event. I have one question for Ms. Haun: Where was she and her tea party then?

Grand Junction

Is there a need to redo Horizon Drive?

I must agree with letter writers Bob and Mary Kline, the redo of Horizon Drive looks good on paper, but does the concept fit the need? Again we have the city and probably the county jumping the gun. Trying to improve something with tax dollars.

Why don’t we finish 29 Road first to the interstate that will lessen the traffic on Horizon Drive and get people through Grand Junction? Roundabouts don’t serve truckers very well because there’s no thought given to try to drive a truck around them. I don’t think there’s a real need for three more roundabouts and two lanes of traffic.

Let’s spend our tax dollars wisely not just jump because we fell like it.

Grand Junction

Let’s get serious about water conservation

32 million gallons of a projected demand of about 22.4 billion gallons is the estimated amount of water that could be saved over 10 years (2015-2025) if the ideas put forth in the Grand Valley Water Conservation Plan are fully implemented.

32 million gallons sounds impressive, but in reality 32 million gallons of water saved over 10 years is just a drop in the bucket.

Addressing water waste is important in our dry climate. However, replacing 50 toilets per year for seven years at a cost of $5,250 per year to save 560,000 gallons of water annually, as proposed in the conservation plan, seems a bit misguided. Easily installed dual-flush valves costing about $20 per fixture can save similar amounts of water.

Large amounts of water can be saved by following the guidelines for watering lawns set forth by the CSU Extension Service: irrigate between 10 pm and 6 am (or 9 am to 11 am), use no more than 1 to 1.5 inches of water per irrigation, irrigate only when signs of wilt are noticed, and keep mowing height around 3 inches. Simply aiming sprinklers can avoid wasting water. Using drip irrigation for gardens is another way to save considerable amounts of water.

There are many ways to save water. We all need to pull together to save water whenever and wherever we can.

Grand Junction

Too much time and money is spent on global warming

I keep reading letters and articles in The Daily Sentinel still eluding to the unproven fact that global warming/climate change is man made. A recent article in the Sentinel concerning electric cars again espouses “greenhouse gas emissions (man made) are a significant contributor to climate change ...”  

Anyone not hiding under a tub knows we are experiencing climate change and global warming to some extent. Yet, in the past 10 years, hundreds of climatologist and other scientist have come to the conclusion that climate change caused by man has not been proven. Everything keeps pointing back to it being natural cyclical changes that have been occurring for eons. The hype of man-made climate change by tunnel vision extremist has cost our country millions of jobs and billions of wasted dollars on attorneys and compliance trying to cure an unproven theory. 

Wouldn’t it be great to use that wasted money on things like medical care, roads, reducing foreclosures, energy technology, etc? Will common sense ever again prevail in our country?
Grand Junction

Just because some says he is a Christian, doesn’t make it so

I am responding to Al LeFebre’s recent letter to the editor, where he showed an ignorance of history and strong bias against Christianity by blaming Christians for the lynching of blacks and the Holocaust.

In England in 1787, two years after becoming a Christian in 1785, William Wilberforce become the Parliamentary leader and began a 10-year campaign to abolish Britain’s slave trade. The group called the “Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery and the Relief of Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage” was founded by Pennsylvania Quakers.

During the Civil War, many white Christians died to set black men free. The lynching of black men wasn’t done by Christians who truly follow Christ. Claiming to be a Christian does not make a person one. Just because a person wears a cross does not mean that they follow the teachings of Christ. It is a matter of the heart.

Hitler despised Christians and closed churches during his reign of terror in Germany. Thousands of Christians were arrested and killed for resisting him and hiding Jews. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Christian leader in Germany, is an example of one who resisted and ended up giving his life for it. Although some still say that Hitler claimed to be a Christian, the evidence does not substantiate this. See this referenced web site for more information on this subject:

In regard to Greg Fox’s letter about Christianity condoning wife beating, on the contrary, Scripture commands husbands to love their wives, as Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself up for her. (Eph 5:25).

In societies where Christianity has influenced the culture, women have enjoyed more freedom, opportunity and protection.



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