Reader letters, May 26

May 26, 2014

Education deserves broad support

To the editor:

In Dr. Nolte’s education comments in a recent column in The Mountaineer, he noted that the only exceptions for third party solicitations for school funding are the long standing non-profit school support organizations like the Haywood County School Foundation, school sanctioned booster clubs or authorized Parent Teacher Associations.

Referring to Dr. Nolte’s, “We should fund what our children need.  Every child…every child…should have a ‘free and appropriate public education’.

The opportunity to have a good education should not be used to fund exclusionary schools that eliminate ‘undesired’ children by refusing to provide bus transportation, school meals and other public school mainstay service.

These deceptive and exclusionary practices are barriers that many families cannot cross due to their socio-economic status”.

Dr. Nolte continues to say: The money is not following the children and there is certainly not more funding for each child or school.

Since 2008-09, Haywood County Schools have been cut over $5 million or 11.39 percent.  Additional cuts have occurred on the facility side of the budget.

Our school district has suffered state cuts that include the loss of over 130 positions. The state has eliminated class size limits above the third grade. New curricula and tests have been added for every grade level and almost every subject.  State instructional supply funds have been cut by a third.

If we look at another aspect of education, Haywood County ranks 21st in funding in the state.  Other comparisons rank Haywood below Asheville City, Buncombe County and Henderson County.

Our children deserve more than we are providing.  If we are to provide a school that cannot be equaled by a charter school or a neighboring county, our citizens need to provide the funds needed to meet this goal.

The school administration and the board of education must provide this leadership.

They must determine what is needed for this level of excellence, the priority of these needs and the cost of these requirements.  With that in hand, the members of the Board of Education, Haywood County School Foundation, school sanctioned booster clubs and authorized Parent Teacher Associations must band together and go to our organizations, clubs, societies, communities and individuals with these needs for their support.

We can do it.  Let us start.

Doris B. Hammett, MD

Asheville

 

Thanks for the help

To the editor:

Saturday, May 10, was a record setting day for the Letter Carrier’s Postal Food Drive in Haywood County.  43,000 pounds of food was picked up and distributed between the Haywood Christian Ministry, Salvation Army, Open Door Ministry, and the Community Kitchen.

Many thanks to each and every letter carrier who participated this year.  The amount of food was so great many carriers had to have multiple pick-ups during their route.

Thank you to the Boy Scouts of America Troop 370 from Long’s Chapel United Methodist Church, the Tuscola A.F.J.R.O.T.C. , the Pisgah N.J.R.O.T.C. , the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,   Johnny Miller, Gail Smathers, and Diane Rollind from the post office.

Finally, thank you to the residents of Haywood County who every year for the past 22 years have generously taken the time to put food out at their mailboxes to help “Stamp Out Hunger” in Haywood County.

Kevin Murphy

Waynesville

 

Haywood has given film producers a red carpet welcome

To the editor:

I appreciate everyone’s efforts in their attempt to let all the credit reside in me. This thing that happened with the film crew was about love and community. The web that led them to me and to Haywood is incredibly intricate and inspiring.

I am certain there was not one person that was the catalyst, except for the producer and owner of Catalyst Pictures LLC.

It might be that I turned the light from red, to yellow, to green but without the people of Haywood County there is no way that light would have not gone back to red.

It is the continued reception and good will of the folks in Haywood County that has made this possible.

The best part of the story is the story itself but in it’s entirty.  I believe in community and I believe in the power of YES.

The people of Haywood have gifted the producer and crew a red carpet welcome.  I am thankful to everyone who has taken part in the story. What fun and what beauty it was to experience!

Let us all continue to wish them well as I believe that when this movie is watched by many, it could turn out to be a great commercial for the county that welcomed them.

Jackie Cure

Waynesville

Lest we forget

To the editor:

The words “Lest We Forget” from Rudyard Kipling’s “Recessional” should be in all our minds today.

In this Memorial Day spirit let us not forget “The Good Stuff!”

The Veteran’s Administration as an organization is being vilified unfairly by many just now.

This federal agency has performed with distinction and without calling attention to itself through longer years since its establishment.

Many dedicated people have given themselves to unselfish service and aid to veterans of all our wars.

As a World War II veteran who entered Army service in the year of our Lord, nineteen hundred and forty (1940) and whose last discharge is dated March 29, 1948, I feel I am qualified to testify to the care and true concern of this agency in granting my application for assistance just this week!

The extent of my grant comes as a blessing especially at this moment in time.  I have been disabled and received this award including unexpected retroactive grant, by the Grace of God and the wonderful personnel of the United States Veterans Administration!

I shall NOT forget! May all consider and remember.

Harold Borchert

Waynesville

Comments (9)
Posted by: Scott Lilly | May 27, 2014 08:27

Dr. Hammett, as always, I do enjoy your comments.  You make a good points about education cuts in the past 5 years.  I'm curious, has the 11% cut in funding and 130 positions eliminated resulted in students learning 11% less?  I cannot tell from your letter if you mean to address money or learning.  Is there a correlation to be made between funding and learning?



Posted by: Doris Hammett | May 28, 2014 20:08

Dear Scott:

         The testing results would have to be obtained from the school records. My belief is they have not because of the extra work of the teachers and the staff, of use of stored reserves and of contributions from the supporting communities.  Poverty decreases the opportunities for learning and the life that learning can provide.  The highest performing schools by tests have higher money student support in these schools.  Do you have evidence that cutting education budgets produces higher test scores?

Doris B. Hammett, MD



Posted by: Scott Lilly | May 29, 2014 07:25

"Do you have evidence that cutting education budgets produces higher test scores?" -- Not directly.  But I do recall the article here in The Mountaineer which stated, "there was no statistically significant relationship between student outcomes such as test scores or graduation rates and their teachers possessing graduate degrees."  So the "pay more for teachers with advanced degrees" strategy suggests more money does not equate to better scores.  And without knowing what 130 positions were eliminated, it would be hard for me to conclude if the cuts were appropriate or not.

 

I would favor your other argument made recently in this forum that "parent involvement" is the most important contributing factor in student success.  (And as you pointed out, it's free!)  It's possible that parents that earn more wealth are the type that are more involved in their student's education.



Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | May 29, 2014 09:36

              The immediate evidence of less than adequate public school funding is becoming evident as N.C. teachers are leaving the state and just recently Houston, TX has adds wanting OUR teachers.

                It will take time for the failure of N.C. to provide enough funds to provide a proper education to appear. How OUR legislators react will tell the tale.

           The pope(art) driven attacks on public education to advance private religious based education is costing US greatly. It will take years to correct the results of ill-liberal anti-US action of the current legislature.

            One of the first things that should be done is to remove from influence those that are against US, the public at large. Those that have chosen to remove their child from the public schools should have no say in the administration of the public schools they have rejected. None! Any that would attack OUR public schools as provided by OUR N.C. Constitution should not hold nor be eligible for any administrative position whatsoever, as they have or will violated their sworn oath of office. Nor should anyone profiting from or having a vested interest in private school(s) be eligible nor hold any such office.

             If OUR secular republic is to remain dedicated to the cause of Liberty and the equal protection of "All persons", OUR public schools must be properly supported and OUR students properly educated in the aspects of a republic and its secular purpose.

 

                C.Z.

              



Posted by: Scott Lilly | May 29, 2014 09:52

"N.C. teachers are leaving the state" -- Where is this documented?  Is there a shortage of teachers in NC?  If so, won't that mean teacher salary will have to increase to attract teachers?  Won't that be good for everyone?

 

"Those that have chosen to remove their child from the public schools should have no say in the administration of the public schools they have rejected." -- I disagree.  I am one.  I removed my children in part because the education they were receiving was not adequate in my opinion.  However, I may someday to return my children to public school and I hope I can play a very small part in shaping it into something I'd find desirable.  As well, I fund the public schools -- whether I use them or not.  If the public school system wanted to incur the expense of owning a TV station and public relations department (as they do in Charlotte), I would object to what I would consider a waste of my taxes.  And it's in everyone's interest to assist the public educational system to educate students as effectively as possible in an efficient way.

 

It's simply not "American" to attempt to shut out opinions and influence of those that do not agree with your own position.  This is not a smart way to organize society and is why our system is in worse shape today than in history.  A better way would be to debate the issues and reasoning to find the ultimate best idea -- one sided, or a blend of perspectives.



Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | May 29, 2014 13:15

           Those persons who choose to not participate in OUR public schools should have no say in them either. No exceptions. Same as those who choose not to vote. No vote no say.

           The N.C. Constitution lays out the requirements for the support of OUR public schools. OUR laws must reflect and/or support OUR Constitutional mandates.

            Those that choose not to participate in OUR public schools must bear the burden of such anti-social behavior.

 

            C.Z.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | May 29, 2014 13:40

"Those persons who choose to not participate in OUR public schools should have no say in them either." -- So should the same principal be applied to those not paying an income tax?  Those not paying for health insurance?  Would they be considered citizens that should "bear the burden" of anti-economic behavior?

 

And for those funding the school system with property taxes, would it also make sense using the same argument can be applied to (wait for it) Tourism Taxes?  Those that have no tourism business ought not to have a say in how tourism taxes are spent?

 

Those that choose not to participate in our military ought not to have any say in how our military is run?  Those that choose not to travel overseas ought not to have any say in foreign affairs?

 

I think not.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | May 29, 2014 13:50

New Election Policy: Only citizens that have children in public schools can vote for county school board members.

 

(Sounds kind of crazy when you put it that way.)



Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | May 29, 2014 15:38

              Any person who chooses not to have their children participate in OUR public schools has chosen to bear the cost of their education themselves and should have no say in how the schools they themselves have rejected, should be run. Such a person has abdicated any such right of representation. No exceptions!

            Educating OUR posterity in a proper manner in order for OUR secular republic to continue is a responsibility of OUR public schools that most home/private-schoolers reject. This cost of non-compliance is a burden they and they alone should bear.

                 There should be no "tourism taxes".

 

                C.Z.



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