Letters: No textbooks story painted an unfair picture of Brownell School

Dear Editor,
I’m writing in response to an article that appeared in your
paper on Friday, Aug. 29 entitled

Back to school but no textbooks.

As a teacher at Brownell Middle School, I found the article to
be misleading and, in part, factually inaccurate. During the first
week of school much of the curriculum is spent educating students
about classroom procedures and promoting a positive learning
environment.
No textbooks story painted an unfair picture of Brownell School

Dear Editor,

I’m writing in response to an article that appeared in your paper on Friday, Aug. 29 entitled “Back to school but no textbooks.”

As a teacher at Brownell Middle School, I found the article to be misleading and, in part, factually inaccurate. During the first week of school much of the curriculum is spent educating students about classroom procedures and promoting a positive learning environment.

For example, the students must understand the proper procedure in case of absences or that their homework assignments should reflect the material being taught in the classroom. During those first few days of school students learn what is required of them so that they can be academically successful. The administration and staff have been working diligently at improving the school culture. This year, we have been very successful with creating a positive learning environment.

Moreover and having said that, I went in several classrooms during the first week of school and all had class set textbooks. My classroom had four different sets of textbooks with state adopted text. I also had workbooks which I handed out to the students at the beginning of the school year. The article suggests that the shortage of textbooks was endemic at the start of the school year. As an instructor, I found this not to be the case.

The opinion of a student or some isolated cases does not reflect the overall situation at the school. I also question why Brownell was singled out? I know from speaking to counter parts that both of the other middle schools and the high school did not have the home texts out.

This year Brownell is fortunate to have a strong and dedicated leadership team committed to academic success. Having taught at Brownell for the last eight years I know that the leadership we have now will make a difference and promote academic excellence. This year Brownell has a dedicated staff and a principal and vice principal who will strive to ensure that all students receive the best education possible.

They were able to save programs like AVID, they are working to add school loop as a parent communication tool, implementing GATE training certification and leveling students by need. As a staff we are committed to knowing every student by name and need. Let us make this a positive experience with a new administration and see the whole picture of what is being done at Brownell.

Furthermore, our AYP scores this year went up in all areas. However, there are areas for improvement, and our staff will work diligently to improve our academic success!

Joanne Lewis, sixth grade social science and seventh/eighth grade AVID teacher

Signed by: Shelly Seibert Walton (long-term substitute; Anna Markowitz, seventh/eighth grade ELD teacher; Jennifer Legris sixth/seventh grade ELA teacher; Kyra Lewis, sixth/seventh grade social science; Vicki Groppe, eighth grade science

Offshore drilling won’t lower prices at the pump unless we force …

Dear Editor,

Don’t lose sight of the fact that America’s bottom oil line is, “cheap gas at the pump.”

Monopolies are unlawful in America, yet both the oil and gasoline industries are allowed to manipulate how much oil and gas goes on the market to control prices. This stronghold needs to be broken as these producers have every intention of keeping prices high at the pump.

It is essential that we recognize that oil and gasoline is a “vital commodity” essential to America’s economy.

And because it is, government regulation is justified in requiring the oil producers to produce more oil by drilling in America and offshore and requiring the refinery industry to increase their number of refineries by 140, not just 40. Combined, this would put more oil and gasoline on the market. But the politicians have not required them to put more on the market.

Our only hope is to hold their feet to the fire, insisting that they agree to mandating more oil and gasoline to be put on the market to meet America’s needs, thus dramatically lowering oil and gas prices, before they get our vote.

The oil and gas industries can make a good profit at under $2 per gallon. Secondary and supportive measures should include using natural gas, safe nuclear power, power generating dams (which would also store valuable and much needed water), auto technology, wind, solar, renewable and bio fuels.

The red herring offered by politicians now is that they say they are willing to drill offshore. Their mantra sounds good, “to be free from dependency of foreign oil!”… so long as it’s more than 50 miles offshore; not in ANWAR; not here nor there; no pipe lines, excessive restrictions, etc. … this makes it costly.

But don’t be misled nor lose sight of the fact that America wants “cheap gas at the pump,” not just being independent of foreign oil. What good is it to drill on the shelf and still have to pay $3 to $4 per gallon or more?

However, if America’s oil and gas industries have the ability to put more fuel on the market, then the excessive price of gasoline at the pump will collapse to under $2 per gallon like it was just several years ago. There was an oil glut.

This will only happen “when” our vital commodity industries’ monopolistic holds are broken and they are mandated to market enough vital commodity to meet our needs.

When we are independent from foreign oil, foreign oil will come to us offering theirs for less. When this happens and I’m paying under $2 a gallon, I won’t mind if we use foreign oil before using ours.

Jim Langdon, Gilroy

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