States attempting to undermine Voting Rights Act
This month marks the 47th anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act, which outlawed discrimination in voting and has been instrumental in ensuring that citizens’ voting rights are protected from nefarious state election laws. Instead of celebrating, we have watched attempts to undermine this vital law in states across the country.
Voter photo-ID laws were considered in 34 states in 2011 alone, and it is estimated that 11 percent of the population does not have the type of identification required by many of these laws. Especially impacted are the elderly, people with disabilities, low-income voters and young people.
These new voting laws and requirements are unnecessary and costly. Numerous studies have found that of the rare examples of voting irregularities, almost none are the kind that could be prevented by a photo-identification law. And putting new voting laws and requirements in place is expensive. Is this really how we want to spend our already-stretched-too-thin state budget?
This election is really important. We’re not just voting for the president, we’re voting for education, health care and our community. Everyone else is voting, and so should you. Be sure to visit www.Vote411.org for all the election information you need and share it with family and friends so that everyone votes in November.
Ann Taylor Roux, president
Jeffco League of Women Voters
Tax increase for schools is not about employee compensation
Let’s be clear. The 3A/3B mill-bond election is about our civic responsibility to deliver outstanding education results for our kids. It’s about having resources to provide a 21st-century education for our kids.
It’s about the moral decision to secure music instruction, librarians, Outdoor Lab, 600 jobs, and return two more school days for our kids. It’s about the ethical business decision to keep 12 million square feet of facilities safe and secure for our kids.
3A/3B is not about increasing compensation. For four years, the school board has limited or decreased compensation. The only compensation change our employees have seen lately is the downward type.
Even so, the district is rethinking compensation to assure accountability and opportunity for employees. Twenty schools currently participate in a performance pay program to see what supports getting the best outcomes for kids.
Here are some compensation questions that need answers:
• What criteria should be used for compensation?
• Should performance pay be in addition to regular salary, as in Douglas County and Denver, or integrated into total compensation?
• How will changing compensation affect new employees and experienced employees?
• How do we pay teachers for whom standardized testing does not yet exist — e.g., music, art, civics, shop, etc. And classified workers?
• How large a role should standardized testing play in compensation?
• How much will it all cost?
The notion that performance pay will be less expensive than what we have now is glib and specious. Compensation must be competitive to attract and retain gifted teachers and other staff. Board decisions around compensation will be founded on one imperative: results for kids.
I’m laying out the truth for citizens about the challenges. So far, all we’ve had from opponents are shallow claims and outlandish assertions.
Paula Noonan, Ph.D.
Jeffco school board member