Questions surround call for student laptops
I share the concern that Idaho’s plan to issue laptop computers to ninth-graders is faulty. Please consider the following issues. Hardware choice: PC or Mac? Laptop, tablet or smartphone? Who decides and how is corruption avoided in the bidding process?
Software provided: Microsoft Office and/or what else? Who maintains antivirus programs and web filters? Technical support: More than twice the existing technical support will be required to keep the growing number of machines operational. Will teacher positions be sacrificed?
Replacement: How will replacements be handled for damage, loss or theft? Web access: Who provides home Internet service? Restrictions: Who controls inappropriate use such as viewing pornography?
Many Idaho households already have adequate computer access to accomplish the goals of the proposed laptop program. Some students already possess better devices than are likely to be issued. Why not simply bolster the existing school computer labs and extend the available hours to accommodate those who are less affluent? If necessary, lend out some school laptops as needed.
RICHARD REIMANN, Boise
Vote no to flawed partisan experiment
Contrary to the propaganda being spewed by Tom Luna, the series of laws the Legislature forced onto the public teachers of this state have been an unmitigated disaster. A simple evaluation of what the wretched Luna laws have wrought proves how great a travesty has been visited on the children of Idaho. In the past year, more than 1,300 teachers have either fled this state or quit the teaching profession (doubling that of the previous year, and a quadrupling since 2009). Nearly every school district is struggling to recruit teachers as there are no teacher applicants in so hostile a state. Mandated online classes that are so poorly conducted and educationally deficient that parents are spending hundreds of extra dollars to hire private tutors to fill the deficit created by the lack of a live teacher. Millions of dollars in antiquated and superfluous technology sits idle in classrooms, unneeded and unwanted, and a state salary system that mandates new teachers receive no salary increases for a minimum of five years. It is time to declare this partisan experiment an absolute failure. Vote “NO” on Propositions 1, 2 and 3 this November.
ADAM COLLINS, Garden City
Corporation gains while schools suffer
Are you aware that your school taxes are funding a private corporation called K12 Inc.? Former Secretary of Education William Bennett gave an improper multimillion-dollar grant to fund K12 (see Media Matters for America). Since then, K12 has received millions of dollars that would have been better spent on our public schools. The K12 CEO received a salary of $5 million last year, and K12 spent $26 million to advertise its program in 2010 (Spokesman-Review).
A study by the University of Colorado found that K12’s methods are performing below the national educational standards (National Education Policy Center / NEPC). Obviously, K12’s bottom line is profit, not achievement.
Superintendent Luna received $44,000 in campaign funding in 2010 from K12 Inc. It looks suspiciously like his driving interest in providing laptops to students, forcing every student to take online courses, and demoralizing public school teachers has been influenced by K12.
Do you want your school taxes to go to this subpar, virtual online corporation? Do you want a superintendent of schools who is more concerned about putting children in front of a computer than providing adequate funding for our schools? Vote NO on Propositions 1, 2 and 3 in November.
LOIS MORGAN, Boise
Movement provides alternative to teachers
Back to school season is in full swing in Idaho. As teachers begin to prepare for the new school year, I hope they will consider an incredible professional educator movement that I am thrilled to be a part of.
After years in the classroom, I was thrilled to learn about an organization that took a professional approach to educator representation. Northwest Professional Educators (NWPE) is a new positive voice for teachers in Idaho, Oregon and Washington. NWPE is the state’s fastest growing educator movement. It offers a modern approach to teacher representation and educational advocacy, as well as promoting professionalism, collaboration and excellence without a partisan agenda.
I think it is critical that more teachers learn about this movement. Many teachers join local unions because they want to be covered with liability insurance in case any unfortunate incidents arise in our classrooms. NWPE provides teachers with twice the coverage plus other great member benefits all at a fraction of the cost of union dues. If you know any teachers, tell them about NWPE, Idaho’s premier professional association, and have them examine the difference themselves.
BRENDA MILLER, Boise
Personal control provides best remedy
A retired police officer wrote in this summer questioning the idea of private-carry individuals getting involved in the Colorado shooting.
He made some valid points but did not go far enough to offer solutions. In my opinion, a person holding a valid concealed carry permit, who has been properly trained and who regularly practices live firing and takes refresher training would not add to such mayhem.
In fact, most likely this person could save lives! Some of the so-called “CCW safety classes” seem to be lacking in overall concepts of gun safety and proper conduct in an emergency public situation. There also appears to be a lacking of a countrywide comprehensive code of safe gun conduct. It is time to properly address personal control and waste a whole lot less time in so-called gun control.
ROBERT A. TAYLOR, Boise
Protect animals from senseless killings
The last fawn deer from the family of four living in the Warm Springs area of East Boise has been hit by a car.
I am very much an activist, and I want to hear from others like myself who are interested in starting a fundraiser and finding a legal way to work with Idaho Fish and Game as well as the state of Idaho to protect and stop this senseless death from happening again. It didn’t have to end this way for the young fawn that did not know any better in the first place.
Please .... contact me. email@example.com.
NANCI NYDEGGER, Boise
Gem County plan is unconstitutional
Gem County commissioners had an open meeting recently wanting to change Gem County government. They wanted to have more commissioners and the power to appoint people to political offices without the vote of the people. That is socialism.
Much socialism has worked its way into federal, state, county and city governments. If we want our children to live in a free country, we each must be patriotic Americans working together to rid our country of socialists and hold people to the U.S. Constitution.
Thomas Jefferson said non-constitutional laws are in fact nonlaws. Socialists walk all over the U.S. Constitution today and many people in law enforcement enforce some of these nonlaws.
Communist Russia knew communists had a bad name so they changed it to socialist Russia, which in reality is still communist.
Gem Country can be very proud of all of the true redblooded patriots that totally rejected this socialist nonsense.
LARRY A. BREACH, Emmett
Elected critics: practice what you preach
I would like to make a suggestion to elected officials who criticize Medicare and Obamacare while taking government health insurance for themselves and their families. Practice what you preach. Call your human resources department, opt out and pay for private health insurance just like a true American.
ERIK LAZDINS, Boise