To The Daily Sun,
Tony Boutin: my letter said absolutely nothing about unions or taxes. But like one of Pavlov's dogs, you saw the word "teacher," started foaming at the mouth, and you were off and running on one of your rants on teachers' unions.
I wonder where his phobia about unions comes from. Maybe when he acted up as a little kid his mother would threaten him with a picture of Walter Reuther, telling him that if he didn't behave, Walter and a pack of shop stewards would break into his room at night, kidnap him, and sell him to Gypsies.
But if he thinks that unions are the root cause of every problem in education, he is either clueless or driven by an unspoken agenda. Does he believe that today's teachers don't care and are not motivated or committed to their job and to their students? That's insulting and wrong. He ought to speak with the parents who have children in Laconia's public schools. Does he think that if unions were to disappear that teachers would be magically transformed into better educators? Does he really think that teachers go into that profession only for the wages and benefits? You won't find many teachers among the one percent.
He complains about tenure. First of all, teachers have to work for a certain number of years before becoming eligible for tenure. There are opportunities to weed out the incompetent ones. It should also be noted that tenure came into existence well before unionization. Before then teachers could be, and often were, fired because of race, ethnicity, religion, because they married or became pregnant, or because someone in power didn't like their views.
When it comes to test scores and student achievement, the fact is that the states with the highest ranking are those with the strongest unions, and that the lowest ranking states have the weakest unions. The existence of unions is not what prevents better education. Eliminating teachers' unions does not produce better teachers or students, higher student achievement or higher test scores.
Scapegoating unions is often cheap camouflage for an attack on the idea of public education. It's used as a stalking horse for privatizing it. It's not meant to reform public education, but to turn it into a privately run system whose primary concern is not the students but with making money for those who run it. It's used to promote education that is unaccountable, making taxpayers pay for schools with little or no oversight, and no supervision over how public money is spent. And overall, charter and voucher schools do not have a record of better academic achievement by their students.
When you see someone fixating on teachers' unions, the first question to ask is about the motivation. It usually is neither better education nor the well-being of students.
Last Updated on Monday, 27 October 2014 02:13
To The Daily Sun,
There are many significant races in the upcoming Nov. 4 election, and an important one is the District 2 race which involves four seats shared between the towns of Gilford and Meredith.
As many of you know, New Hampshire has the largest legislative body among the 50 states with its 400-member House. Hence, it is imperative we elect people who are qualified with experience and intellect to effectively represent us, the taxpayer, these next two years.
A long-time Gilford resident and an accomplished businessman, George Hurt, is running for one of the four seats. George served the town admirably for Gilford, in the Legislature from 1996-98. I personally am enthused and believe, because of his recognize business and legislative experience, he would again, be a voice of reason, and common sense, something that seems to be elusive these days, especially in politics at the state and county level.
His penchant for fiscal responsibility, will be an asset and most likely pay dividends for the taxpayers of both Gilford and Meredith.
If you would like to see the state and Belknap County move in the direction of more accountability and transparency, then please join me and vote for George Hurt this Nov. 4.
Last Updated on Monday, 27 October 2014 02:09
To The Daily Sun,
An open letter to Denise Beauchaine, director of Lakes Region Public Access TV:
I know the value of Lakes Region Public Access Television. You, Bob Daniels, Dexter Hecita, the LRPA-TV board and others, were there responding to our local needs for publicity for non-profits — the Opechee Garden Club on many occasions, Multicultural Market Day for every year, Lakeport Community Association events like the grand opening of the Lakeport Freighthouse Museum, Laconia Heritage Commission seeking volunteers, Laconia Woman's Club fashion show, Laconia Historical & Museum Society programs for years and years, Lakes Region Scholarship Fund Spelling Bee and more and more.
I like that I can sit in my recliner and watch Laconia City Council meetings, Laconia School Board meetings, programs for seniors and on health. I can watch friends and acquaintances — Larry's quiet strokes with the paint brush, Esther's breathy, modulated voice interviewing our next presidents, Charlie and Jennifer and Charlie's on the road again trips stopping to talk to the cows in a pasture or a cop in New York City, Alan keeping us posted on social services and health, Dave swimming with the fishes.
I do enjoy the variety of interesting programs they offer. If I couldn't make it to the Putnam Fund performance, the Santa Fund or Gilford Old Home Days, I could catch it on my own television.
When I lived on Long Island, it was exciting to watch public access television grow on Channel 12. Before that, being in the shadows of a big city, it was difficult to be informed of local news or cover or post local events. Today there is News 12 reporting 24 hours a day on local news. This is what I found on their website: News 12 Long Island was the first of its kind when it launched in 1986, and today the News 12 Network is the largest and most watched regional news network in the country.
I regret that our local public access television is encountering such difficulty reaching the public and receiving the funding it needs to continue. I would miss seeing my locals in the comfort of my own home and I'm sure many others would . . . especially those that reign in their recliners.
You're earnest for continuing your work without pay. Such dedication! I hope you get the support you need to continue.
Last Updated on Monday, 27 October 2014 02:06
To The Daily Sun,
True leadership builds people up. It does not destroy the lives of others for an ideology or for a leader's sense of self importance. The current threat by certain members of the Belknap County Delegation, especially executive committee member Frank Tilton, to deny the transfer of funds for Belknap County workers and their collectively bargained health benefits is unconscionable.
As a resident of a neighboring county to Belknap I am concerned with the irresponsible choices of a few elected leaders and its effect on all citizens of New Hampshire. (I feel it is right) to defend the livelihood of Belknap County workers and the quality services they provide. We must honor the personal dignity and worth of those who dutifully care for, serve and protect the citizens of New Hampshire.
Last Updated on Monday, 27 October 2014 02:03
To The Daily Sun,
State Senate District 2 candidate Carolyn Mello is the real deal if you are looking for a state senator who has lived a life of working on behalf of others.
Carolyn is a U.S. Air Force veteran where she served as a Russian linguist, stationed in both Turkey and the U.S.
She has worked as a job developer with the differently-abled population so she understands the challenges faced by these individuals and their families.
Carolyn has benefited from equal opportunity advantages, hired as an employment counselor for a federal program thanks at least in part to being female and a veteran. So she understands the hurdles a tough job market poses.
Carolyn has worked as a special ed teacher in the Newfound School District and represented teachers in contract negotiations. She knows how to approach tough subjects so that both sides can come to an understanding of the other's position and reach agreement.
Carolyn now serves on the Holderness School Board with an aim to ensuring all children have access to the best public education possible.
Carolyn Mello's campaign slogan is "People First" — which is not just a slogan to her! Please support Carolyn Mello for Senate District 2 on Nov. 4.
Kate Miller, Chair
Belknap County Democrats
Last Updated on Friday, 24 October 2014 10:51