Write a Letter to Someone in the Military; Reign in the Unions

Anyone who would like to perform an act of service in memory of
Lance Corporal Jeramy Ailes can write a letter to an armed service
person currently serving in harm’s way, via Operation
Anyone who would like to perform an act of service in memory of Lance Corporal Jeramy Ailes can write a letter to an armed service person currently serving in harm’s way, via Operation Interdependence.

Deliver your letter to Karen Humber, 798 Eschenburg Dr., or Susan Hamilton, 1420 Longmeadow Dr., and they and their dedicated corps of volunteers will wrap it up with a goodie bag of whatever has been donated recently: socks and candy and toothpaste, or Girl Scout cookies, as the case might be.

A National Guardsman named Goff participated in the last pack out. He told us about how when he was serving in Vietnam, he received a letter from a stranger, an 8-year-old child, who wrote: “You must be very brave. I hope you don’t get dead.”

Goff treasured that letter. He carried it with him for the rest of his tour, and carried it home afterwards. He still has it.

Perhaps you feel paralyzed by the fear that you don’t know what to say. Relax. Start by writing “Hi” or “Dear.” Then write hero, or serviceman or servicewoman, or American. Don’t worry about being profound. The main thing you are trying to convey is that they are remembered and appreciated. The letter will do that, even if you cannot write like Mark Twain.

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Michelle Nelson, president, Gilroy Teachers Union, gives me yet another reason to think that the teachers union needs to be eradicated. She writes that she is an eighth grade science teacher on leave, and that she gets paid her regular salary. Yet another case of taking money and a teacher out of the classroom. Is this supposed to benefit education?

On a related topic, there is word that Brownell Principal Suzanne Van Damm may not have gotten around to evaluating teacher Joanne Lewis after Lewis read her infamous sexually explicit “humorous” poems aloud to her class of 12-year-olds. If that’s the case, Ms. Lewis would not even have one bad annual review on her record, and it would be a shameful abdication of responsibility on the part of Ms. Van Damm as well as a complete slap in the face to those parents who trusted that appropriate disciplinary action would be taken in view of Ms. Lewis’s gross – literally – lack of judgment which became a public embarrassment.

I will grant Ms. Nelson’s point that Proposition 74 does not go far enough to help get rid of incompetent and foolish teachers. I am not sure that it is possible to weed out bad teachers, given the entrenched bureaucracy of good old boys and girls who cover up each other’s misdeeds and tell parents that everything is under control, and it is all the parents’ fault that test scores are so low.

But we have to do something, and Propositions 74 and 75 are tiny first steps stridently opposed by the teachers’ union as they might take some power away from the unions. What we need to do, of course, is figure out a way to give it back to the parents.

What parents want from schools is very simple. We want our children educated. That is it. When schools fail to educate our kids, or when they pursue other wacko agenda, we tend to get a little irritated. Not irritated enough, in my opinion.

But if the Ninth Circuit’s ruling of Nov. 3 is not overturned by the Supreme Court, parents will have no say whatsoever in what their children are exposed to in school.

The Palmdale School District in California asked first, third, and fifth graders intrusive questions about “touching my private parts too much'” “getting scared or upset when I think about sex'” “can’t stop thinking about sex'” etc. Parents in the Palmdale School District were not informed that such sexually offensive questions would be asked of their 6-year-old children.

They brought suit. The Ninth Circuit found: “There is no fundamental right of parents to be the exclusive provider of information regarding sexual matters to their children.” The decision goes on to say, “parents have no due process or privacy right to override the determinations of public schools …” All power to the schools. None to the parents.

O, brave new world, that has such people in’t!

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