July 18 letters

Jul 18, 2014

Negativity hinders solutions

To the editor:

I recently attended an informal meeting about the Haywood prison project. The exchange of ideas was informative, and although there are problems with something of this scope, it will eventually be a positive and meaningful undertaking.

And it can be a helpful first step for a lot of folks who need a second chance in life. As the points about the benefits of the program were discussed, I was shocked by one of the participants who found fault with each point.

And rather than listen and reflect and offer constructive comments, this person offered reasons why the program wouldn’t work. I was struck by the similarity to the negative tone and inflexible rhetoric of the Republicans in the state Legislature, the governor’s office, and the U.S. Congress. Their intention is to hinder solutions instead of offering to solve problems.

Bill Lusto

Waynesville

 

Recent education letters reviewed

To the editor:

Recent letters on education inspired the following research and conclusions. I retired in 1998 at age 66 (43 working years) making $78K as senior project engineer and plant manager. My annual pension is $12,000 (15 percent); my medical benefits are zero. The company was lean, has lowest costs in their field and prospers.

High school teachers in North Carolina retire after 36 working years (age 58) making $55,000, receive a 65 percent pension of $36,000 (i.e., worked seven years less, made $23,000 less, receives $24,000 more — plus health benefits).

School staffing isn’t lean. Haywood lists 545 teachers, but 800 support personnel. North Carolina failure/dropout rate of 23 percent is high. Compare 8 to 11 percent in other states, including Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota and Wisconsin (farm states). Many dropouts want to work with their hands — not four years in college pursuits.

Why aren’t fluid flow/plumbing taught? Home structure loads/construction? Household electricity/wiring? Use Tech College’s $10 million machine shop. Experience suggests educators wont do anything that requires losing budget money to trade schools.

Consider the political insanity that 80 percent of kids attend college; doubling loan debt to $2 trillion. BLS statistics show 80 percent of our 139 million job force’s median income is under $35,000; 20 percent is over $37,500.

Meanwhile, 10 million illegal immigrants took American jobs. Businesses shipped 5 million jobs overseas. Unemployed are not required to take open jobs paying less than the job lost.

Don’t harass teachers about national achievement scores and dropouts. Publish them, by class, in our newspapers so parents see what’s happening. Ensure scarcer advance-degree teachers are teaching math and science; pay them a premium despite the unions.

Psychology, biology, physics texts denied reasoned, non-material reality — our soul and God’s existence — undermining most parents’ desire for their kids. Religious history/philosophy electives are banned.  Vouchers enabling parents’ right to select schools where their kids can learn about ethics and spiritual reality are “economically” banned. Sunday school teaching levels don’t exceed storybook levels. Congress, school boards and meddling courts foster America’s religious death — like France.

Jack Ryan

Waynesville