To The Daily Sun,
Popular governors Chris Christy of New Jersey and Bobby Jindal in Louisiana have convinced their legislatures to rein in tenure. Teachers' unions complain bitterly, arguing teachers deserve job protection because principals rate most of the teachers as excellent or satisfactory. The important question is what does the public think? Do they think the majority of teachers are performing well? What do the parents think? Equally important, how do teachers rate other teachers?
The eighth annual Education Next poll completed in June offers some important insights into these questions. The survey was administered to a representative sample of the general public, parents and teachers. The poll used the common and easy-to-understand A to F scale to define performance.
About 22 percent of the school teachers are not performing adequately in the public's eye, if one presumes satisfactory work demands a C or higher grade. Citizens do like the majority of teachers in their districts, saying 51 percent deserve an A or B grade. But 13 percent were given a D, and 9 percent were given an F.
The parent findings were similar to the public's. Fifty-six percent were given the two top grades, while 13 percent got a D and 10 percent were given an F.
The last group was the teachers. As you might expect, teachers rate their peers more satisfactorily. It could be logically argued they have a conflict of interest. But even their polling is more than telling. Sixty-nine percent of teachers give their fellow teachers an A or B grade, but not all get passing scores. Eight percent get a D and 5 percent deserve an F.
Unions could argue that the public grades too harshly in its assessment and that parents blame teachers for their children's faults. But those unions are going to find it hard to explain away why 13 percent of teachers rate their colleagues as woefully inadequate or failed in their teaching skills. Teachers themselves are saying 13 percent of teachers are not doing their job. That equates to tens of thousands of failed teachers with tens of millions of kids sitting today with a failed teacher in front of them as I write this.
That is not some small issue given the erosion of middle class incomes. It could be far worse. The public believes the failed teacher percentages to be far higher than that.
We cannot have great schools without great teachers. It is a fact. As more evidence comes in, it only confirms the ability of the teacher in the classroom has more effect than anything on any child's learning success. That difference can be as much as 50 percent. Improving the lowest performing segment of teachers would go a long way in creating those great schools we all want.
Stanford economist Eric Hanushek estimates that if we replaced the 5 percent of failed teachers with simply average teachers the impact would be so large we could increase GDP by 1 percent. Student performance in the U.S. would catch up with Finland, Canada Germany and other high performing countries.
That is where tenure laws come into play. The survey revealed that the public favors ending tenure by a ratio of 2-to-1. The public by the same margin wants tenure to be based on test performance in the classroom and retained on performance (not longevity). Only 9 percent of the public agrees with the tenure laws as practiced in their states and districts.
It is clear, the public and the courts have turned against teacher tenure and with justifiable reason.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 September 2014 04:47
To The Daily Sun,
I am asking the voters of Sanbornton and Tilton to support my dear friend Brian Gallagher for state representative in the Republican Primary on Sept. 9.
For those who know me, I don't normally write editorials asking voters to consider a candidate for political office. I basically stay out of the decision-making business and respect the will of the voters.
But in this case, I just had to write letting the voters know of the great value in electing a person like Brian. He is not just a friend of mine but he is a person I respect very much. He is committed to helping people, he is very conscious of the present conditions of our state. He will spend our tax dollars when necessary, but he will not spend money we (the taxpayers) are not able to pay for. He is a great example of the type of candidates we need, not only for the state but for our country.
So please once again consider supporting Brian Gallagher for state representative on Sept. 9.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 September 2014 04:43
To The Daily Sun,
Mr. (Bob) Meade seems to be offended that I chose to "go public" with his letter to me, but I don't know why. We are certainly not friends in any way. I suppose that if I had a printer that worked or could hand write a letter to him, I would have responded to him that way. I don't have a printer that works, and my hands hurt so badly with neuropathy and arthritis that it would take weeks to write a paragraph and he most likely wouldn't be able to read it any way (because of my terrible handwriting).
Aside from that I have to tell you that I rarely go to any websites for any reason, so it isn't personal Mr. Meade. I wonder if Mr. Meade believes that these children are "illegal" because they weren't born here; if he does, he is certainly welcome to his opinion. I don't agree; will never agree that any child anywhere is illegal. The color of their skin, where they come from, or their religion matters not one bit to me. If they come here as refugees from violence in their home countries, I think we have an obligation to treat them as humanely as possible. If they have family here then turn them over to their families as soon as possible. If they don't, then we need to decide what to do with them that is in their best interest.
Obviously, something needs to be done with our broken immigration system. Calling children illegal is not helping anyone. No matter what reason these children come here, we are obligated to take them in and decide what to do with them due to a law George W. Bush enacted to protect them from violence and human trafficking. The "Obama blamers" just look even more silly about this, and as silly as they have looked in the past, that's saying something.
Now on to Mr. Earle, I'm still waiting for you to name even one "made up fact" I or any other liberal used in our letters, I can only defend myself of course. But your wonderfully hysterical letter of Aug. 26 is more proof that you can't remove yourself from the delusional fog of a channel called Fox. Not being able to come up with even one "made up fact" you resort to name-calling. I understand that you honestly feel that blaming all the things Republicans screw up on Democrats is perfectly sensible, nonsensical is more like it. It was only a few short months ago that Mr. Earle was telling us that it was we pesky liberals who were responsible for the war in Iraq. I understand that right-wingers like to either rewrite history, or at least ignore inconvenient facts that they don't happen to like, this is just more of the silliness from the right.
Prior to George W. Bush taking office Saddam Hussein was telling the world that he not only had WMDs, he was working on delivering them to far-off locales, such as the USA. Guess what? He was lying. Being rightfully concerned about this, the world decided to send U.N. inspectors into Iraq. Well, look it up as to what happened next. It is the part of real history that the right can't stand.
Mr. Earle puts quotes around the word lies we on the left point out came from Bush and his administration. From the beginning, Bush wanted to go to war with Iraq, even prior to 9-11-2001. After that awful day he tried to associate Saddam Hussein with al-Qaida, even though any one with experience on these matters knew this was nonsense, Bush continued the very real lie that this was "true." At the same time he was pushing the lie of WMD, and had his henchmen also trying to convince us it was "true".
I have been a proponent of peace for many years now, and I will continue to be, but "peace at any price" seems to be something that is your problem Mr. Earle. When I was in high school there was a bumper sticker that claimed that "the peace symbol is the foot print of the American chicken." A friend of mine and I were asked in art class to create a poster. We made one that said that same phrase, but added, "yes it is, it is also the foot print of the Bald Eagle," as well as any other bird. We received an A for the poster, mostly because my partner in this endeavor was a fantastic artist, I came up with most of the wording, he supplied the last line. Our poster was selected to be placed in a glass case outside the Art Room, along with other well done posters, we obviously hit a nerve with someone because they broke the glass and our poster was the only one taken out and left ripped up on the floor. I will always believe peaceful solutions should be used before starting any war, if possible.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 September 2014 04:39
To The Daily Sun,
I am writing in support of Sen. Jeanie Forrester's re-election to the N.H. State Senate. She is a valuable asset to our community and we are extremely fortunate to have her representing us at the Statehouse.
Sen. Forrester understands the challenges small businesses and health care providers have in New Hampshire. As an owner of a dental practice in the area, I have been impressed with her willingness to engage in important issues and remain accessible to her constituents.
As chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Forrester has shown to be an honest and diligent senator who works together in a collaborative manner to achieve results for her district and for the State. She is a conservative and experienced voice in the State Senate. I hope voters will give favorable consideration to supporting Sen. Jeanie Forrester in the Republican primary on Sept. 9, and again in November.
George T. Felt, DDS
Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 September 2014 04:29
To The Daily Sun,
An open letter to Mr. Ray Cunningham of Bridgewater:
I will not skirt the issue, before, during or after the election. I like to see things happen yesterday. Unfortunately it doesn't happen that way. The wind farm is no game and I'm just as frustrated as you are, as most of us should be. Passing a town ordnance is not enough. In order to ensure that no more Groton wind farms keep popping up around us, we need to change the Constitution of the state, or at the very least, amendment it. I have been working with Michelle Sanborn, CARE Group Alexandra, and I took the RBO, (Rights Based Ordinance ) to our constitutional scholars and this is what I got. I'll only hit certain points.
Right to determine the kind of energy projects town residents want: There is no such power delegated to towns. The Public Utilities Commission governs this activity, at least in part.
Right to access clean water and the right to keep it from being polluted: This is impractical. In the extreme, say there was no aquifer under your town, how would you guarantee this right? What if the water sources in your town dry up or become polluted due to natural release of some chemical.
I had pointed out that the bog in Alexandra is the natural filter for the aquifer under the entire Newfound Lake region. I could not, therefore, accept the scholar's answer.
The right to govern ourselves inherent: To a degree this was surrendered with the ratification of the Constitution of the state in 1784. This is simple state, not a Commonwealth or "home rule."
Section 3: Corporations cannot engage in gathering up land to build unsustainable energy projects: Incorporated entities are given their status and power by the state, legally it is a practice known as " franchise," the power to do business not available to the general public.
Section 3-B: The state and any corporation cannot violate any rights claimed in the ordinance: This would require an amendment to the Constitution of the State of New Hampshire. This is where I think we have them. This is what I'm going to work on if I get elected, and get my chance to go to Concord. I'm sick of these southern states looking at New Hampshire as a bunch of suckers. We have got our necks in a stranglehold by our own Constitution and it needs to be addressed. In September I will be attending, (if I get past the Primary) a two-day summit in Manchester and I plan on bringing up this issue then, and hopefully gain support for the amendment to the Constitution in part, to protect the quality of life we have in our towns and in this state.
Thank you for your support.
Eric T. Rottenecker
Republican House Candidate
Grafton District 9
Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 September 2014 04:26