Branaugh, Powers didn’t appear well informed at candidates debate
Two candidates for Jeffco school board, Jill Fellman and Lesley Dahlkemper, really stood out as highly qualified and informed candidates at the debate at Columbine Library on Oct. 5. The other two candidates appeared not well informed and distant from the position they were seeking.
Neither Preston Branaugh nor Jim Powers was aware that the facilities overhaul plan for the district had been tabled, and each sounded like they were parroting the same “talking points” from some script.
We owe it to our kids and grandkids to elect the best candidates for school board: Lesley Dahlkemper and Jill Fellman.
Fellman will serve the interests of all Jefferson County schoolchildren
I was a Jeffco student (1947-60) and then a mother of four who attended Jeffco schools in the ‘70s and ‘80s. I appreciate the education my children received that gave them a fine foundation for succeeding in college and in their adult lives.
Now my three grandchildren are Jeffco students. I want the assurance that they will have the same opportunities for a successful future. With the school district facing more budget cuts, I am concerned for my grandchildren and the other 86,000 students attending Jeffco schools.
In consideration of these impending budget reductions, there is one very important act I can do for my three grandchildren. I will vote for Jill Fellman for the Jeffco school board. A graduate of Alameda High School, former teacher and administrator, Jill has the skills and experience to be an effective policymaker. She will wisely serve all the children of Jefferson County.
Mary Collier Ross
Schools can’t overcome poor parenting at home
To some, Jefferson County’s push to tie teacher pay to “performance” seems a sensible effort to establish standards that are similar to pay-for-performance guidelines for other professions. Judging workers by the quality of their product is legitimate, and it guarantees that buyers get what they pay for. No doubt, such standards will weed out those who entered teaching believing it was easy, or who are burned out and need a change.
However, a child is not a product in the sense that she comes into the public school system as raw material for teachers to mold into something useful. A child is already preformed, in many ways, long before she walks through a kindergarten door. It is legitimate to demand that a teacher possess certain credentials and background in order to educate the young. To be a parent, all you need is a set of working gonads — no maturity, decency, knowledge or brains required.
A teacher cannot possibly be a stand-in for attentive parents, yet too many people drop their kid off in the school system at age 4 or 5, when much of the child’s personality and behavior are already set, and expect an accomplished, well-rounded, well-adjusted high school graduate to pop out at the other end, with no effort expended by them to accomplish this goal.
I have had too many conversations with teachers and aides who tell me of children whose parents just “don’t have time” to teach them civilized behavior, supervise their homework or deal with their problems. They may be well-meaning but in tough circumstances, or may simply be people who don’t want to be bothered when the Broncos game is on. An aide of my acquaintance tells me that her school’s second grade requires 10 minutes — 10 lousy minutes — of reading time after school. When asked about why little Johnny didn’t read, one mother said it interfered with soccer! Soccer — now, there’s a life skill.
And what about those children who are especially creative, truly gifted, or truly handicapped; how does a district expect to judge a teacher’s work with such kids?
Most families, broken or not, broke or not, do fulfill their responsibilities for their children’s education, but I would still strongly urge that Jefferson County schools also factor in the dysfunctional parents of some of their students when evaluating those kids’ teachers.
After all, manufacturers can’t make quality products without good materials; why do people expect public schools to create shining citizens out of children whose parents are not?
Unfortunately, the community as a whole can’t do much to stop people who really shouldn’t be parents from having children, but we can at least be fair when judging the people charged with preparing those children for life.
Carolyn S. Bredenberg
Government spending is out of control
As a civics lesson I recently took my 12-year-old son to a town hall meeting for U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman. Enough people showed up with larger mouths than ears, and as a result we didn’t get to hear everything our representative said. We kept hearing shouts of “tax the rich, Mike” as if that alone would resolve the immense problems facing our country. I never had the chance to express my concern to the congressman that my 12-year-old son’s share of our national debt is $46,000, and that he won’t even start a real job for another eight years and that something must be done to stop the irresponsible spending in Washington.
Tax advocates/hypocrites such as Warren Buffett and John Kerry advocate taxing the rich more. Berkshire Hathaway, owned by Buffett, owes the IRS $1 billion dollars. Kerry tried to dodge $500,000 in sales tax on a yacht purchase.
As tax rates increase, such people try harder to avoid paying their fair share. To the rest of us, ask yourself what is “rich”? At the inception of the federal income tax in 1913, middle-class earners were taxed 1 percent tax and top earners were taxed 7 percent. Today, a middle-class income earner pays well over 10 percent. Be careful what you ask for; history has a tendency to repeat itself.
As with any family in America facing a financial crisis, you first cut spending. Anything to the contrary would be fiscally irresponsible, not to mention ultimately criminal unless, of course, you happen to work in Washington where the government spending continues to irresponsibly overshadow rising government income. Most politicians recklessly spend other people’s money, continually raise the debt ceiling to pay for it and in so doing shamefully endanger future generations. Most politicians don’t know the meaning of the word “cut,” or how to live within their means. When the problem comes to a head, the establishment blames the Tea Party newcomer, who not only brought the problem to our attention but who has a solution to restore fiscal sanity to Washington ways.
Proposed charges to access records the latest outrage from Jeffco
Emile Hallez’s article about Jefferson County charging fees to access public records is fascinating. Citizens are now being taxed to file records, taxed to staff the records department, and taxed again to retrieve those same documents. Astounding!