Letters: A look at the ‘Myth of America’s Bad Teachers’

It’s always the teacher’s fault. When education goes badly, who
do we blame? The teachers. It’s seems simple in the mind of those
looking from the outside in. If your surgery went wrong, who would
you blame?
Dear Editor,

It’s always the teacher’s fault. When education goes badly, who do we blame? The teachers. It’s seems simple in the mind of those looking from the outside in. If your surgery went wrong, who would you blame? Your doctor. But there is a fundamental difference between medicine and teaching. Control over the circumstances.

Although there are a few things outside of the control of doctors, like whether or not people actually follow their instructions, people respect doctors enough to generally listen to them.

Teachers, on the other hand, have very little control over a great number of things that impact learning inside the classroom. Teachers have no control over the student who comes to school without breakfast … or dinner last night. They cannot control the home life where students do not receive help with homework. There is no way that teachers can ensure both parents are present in a child’s life any more than we can guarantee that children get sufficient medical care.

They cannot make our students go to bed on time, or stop them from watching violent TV that they chose to imitate at school. We cannot even control the curriculum that we must teach.

By and large teachers use the curriculum they are told to teach. We teach to the literacy programs, despite the errors in spelling and the lack of organization. Yet we do our best to compensate. Are there “bad teachers?” In the sense that there are people who teach that do not understand the development of children, how to engage them in learning, or that have a short supply of patience, there are people who teach badly.

However, the majority of teachers that I have encountered are extremely hard working and they want what the parents want; they strive every day to ensure that students are learning to the best of their ability. They lay awake at night worrying about the students that are falling behind. They question themselves and they seek out advice.

What I believe many people fail to recognize, or at least remember, is that education is a collaborative effort. It takes a team of specialists, teachers, parents, administrators, and the community at large to maximize student learning. Parents must do their part at home to make sure their children go to bed on time and give their best effort on homework. Administrators have to do their part to create a welcoming and safe school community. The community must financially and socially support the value of education. Teachers must take the time to enhance and differentiate curriculum so that they meet the needs of each child as much as possible. Finally, students, to the best of their ability, must take learning seriously and work hard.

In the current education crisis I ask one thing: Stop pointing fingers and start seeking solutions. It is not the fault of any one group of people that American education is failing, and a house divided will fall.

Lorrin Squatritto, Gilroy

Gilroy meeting with bullet train CEO should be open to the public

Dear Editor,

As a direct result of Gilroy Council’s bold “no confidence” resolution, the High Speed Rail Authority CEO is meeting with Gilroy and Morgan Hill “HSR task force.” Interestingly, the members of the Gilroy task force (Councilman Perry Woodward and Mayor Al Pinheiro) did not vote in favor of this seemingly effective “no confidence” resolution.

Why is this a private meeting? This is a public project, being paid for by taxpayer dollars; while the community “public process” has been completely undermined with inaccurate and withheld information.

The Gilroy community has been very vigilant in their pursuit to compel HSRA accountability. It is the sustained efforts of this community of people that has advanced the Dec. 15 meeting to come about – this is the people’s meeting – they are entitled to hear this discussion.

Furthermore, the Gilroy/Morgan Hill “task force” has a very self-serving agenda, which may not reflect what the community or other Councilmembers consider a desired outcome.

The people of Gilroy and Morgan Hill should be outraged and insist that this meeting be held in a public forum.

Yvonne Sheets-Saucedo, Gilroy

Downtown wine stroll success a product of very helpful volunteers

Dear Editor,

As Chairman of the Gilroy Downtown Business Association I would like to thank the committee members who organized and planned the recent Downtown Gilroy Wine Stroll. Hundreds of strollers enjoyed an afternoon tasting local wines, visiting downtown businesses, enjoying local entertainment, checking out art displays and dining at downtown restaurants.

Committee members included Susan Valenta, Joan Buchanan, Larry Mickartz, Amber Madrone, Kersty Daniels, Albert Lambert, Jane Howard and Joanne Britton. Each of these individuals volunteered time, expertise and items which all contributed to the success of this event.

In addition, thank you to the staff of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce for coordinating ticket sales and assisting with the wine stroll check-in. Additional volunteers also contributed time to filling goody bags given to each stroller and additional assistance to strollers checking in at the Chamber of Commerce.

Gilroy is known for “volunteerism” and once again this was demonstrated by the numerous individuals stepping up to support the Gilroy Downtown Business Association. Funds raised from the Wine Stroll will be used for funding future downtown events including the much anticipated Holiday Parade and Santa’s arrival in Gilroy scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 4. Watch for exciting details about this special upcoming event.

Eric Howard, board chairman,

Gilroy Downtown Business Association

Youth commission has T-shirts thanks to mayor’s generosity

Dear Editor,

The Gilroy Youth Commission would like to thank Mayor Al Pinheiro for his generous personal donation to begin our new operating year.

For the first time since the Gilroy Youth Commissions has been in existence, the advisors thought that the commission was not going to be able to receive new Youth Commissioner T-shirts. In bad economic times like these it has been tough for businesses, organizations, and or individuals to donate funds.

Mayor Pinheiro donated to the Gilroy Youth Commission, empowering the Commission to continue giving back to their community and support all of the good things that the Commission does throughout the year. The Gilroy Youth Commission would like to express their appreciation for the mayor’s continued support throughout the year.

We are happy to answer any questions you may have about our organization or our events. Please contact the Commission’s Advisor, Gayle Glines or Rachel Mariscal of the City of Gilroy Community Services Department at (408) 846-0460. Every bit helps, and adds up to something great for the entire community.

Tax deductible donations can be made payable to: City of Gilroy Youth Commission and mailed to the City of Gilroy Youth Commission at 7351 Rosanna Street, Gilroy, CA 95020.

Rachel Mariscal, Gilroy

Better way to go about cutting the deficit in America – tax the rich

Dear Editor,

The Deficit Commission has suggested that the way to cut the deficit is to drastically cut Medicare and Social Security and raise taxes on gasoline. I say WRONG!

A better idea is to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan, eliminate the Bush tax cuts for the rich, and raise the cap on Social Security payroll deductions from $100,000 to $250,000. Before we start cutting services and increasing taxes for the poor and middle class we should eliminate unnecessary wars and raise taxes on the rich.

I don’t see why rich people should pay a lower percentage of their income to FICA taxes than the middle class.

Marc Perkel, Gilroy

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