Letters, Letters to the Editor, Opinion

March 5 letters to the editor

Educators lacking the tools for success

There is no doubt that there is a crisis in education. However, when teacher accountability is the only focus, other critical factors are ignored. As a teacher, I want to be successful at my job. I want to see my students succeed! However, teacher (and therefore student) success cannot happen if we are not given the resources we need to do our job well.

The most important resource is personnel. I had great, yet unfulfilled, hope for the bill that was introduced to provide additional resources (classroom aides) in the lower grades.

Based on the multitude of different needs that exist in the average classroom, there is a need to work with much smaller groups of students with specific needs.

However, being just one teacher, when I am working with one of these small groups, the remainder of the class is not receiving any direct instruction. This does not support my ability to be a successful educator!

Another resource education is falling short on is effective curriculum. Since I started teaching in 2014, we have not had strong curriculum that provides ready-made resources for all aspects that are to be taught. In addition, programs that teachers are expected to teach from are frequently added, removed and/or changed with little training and or forewarning.

Teachers want to succeed, but without a strong curriculum we are left to find and buy resources (with unreimbursed time and money) to use for instruction. Teachers do their best, but societal issues (poverty, drug addiction, child abuse, student mental health …) must be addressed on a larger scale if we are to address the issues in education adequately.

Until then, the students and their education will suffer.

Jill Damm

Questioning support for WVPB after interference

Everyone who supports West Virginia Public Broadcasting (WVPB) should be alarmed by the issues raised by Susan Sauter in her Feb. 19 letter to The Dominion Post.

I am outraged by Gov. Justice’s actions of retribution against a reporter whose reporting raised issues regarding a state agency. I rely on WVPB for local news, and the reporter (who was subsequently dismissed) was doing just that.

I have been a member of WVPB since moving to West Virginia 20 years ago, and I question my support if the people in charge of our public broadcasting are willing to let this interference happen.

Beverly Martin

‘Religious freedom,’ but for whom?

The West Virginia Legislature has passed HB 3042, to ban government “interference” in religious beliefs. No one thinks this is anything but a chance to flout nondiscrimination ordinances in several state entities, including Morgantown, and to have an excuse not to get vaccinated against dangerous diseases.

Growing up, I heard religious leaders say that racial discrimination was “ordained by God.” We hear that kind of argument now. The concern of Republican legislators for the sanctity of religion and marriage is touching. It just doesn’t include my religion or my marriage.

We live in communities. “Community” means you give up some freedoms to accommodate others, and when the community is threatened, you come together as a group and do what is best for everyone. There is no religion that says, “Your children don’t need to get vaccinated.”

West Virginia had six House of Representatives seats until 1960, and two in the last census. I call this session of the Legislature the “Let’s Get Down To One Seat By 2030!” session.

David Frum, nominally a Republican, in the March issue of The Atlantic, says of Republicans, “The party has lost contact with the sensibility of mainstream America, a huge country full of decent people who are offended by bullying and cruelty.”

If you want people to leave our state in droves, go ahead and make this law. The Legislature will meet its goal of losing another congressional seat.

Barry Wendell

How to fight to get your child support in school

“The District failed to provide any response to the specific needs of [the student] except to essentially say to the parents — trust us to provide her with what she needs. This is not sufficient,” wrote Judge Boulware in the court case Rogich v. Clark County.

Trusting the district and yourself is a challenge when you parent a child with an invisible disability, like dyslexia. It’s one reason Rogich v. Clark County is so important.

The ruling holds the district accountable for providing research-based programs for people with disabilities. The court found the district ignored the evaluation recommendations and didn’t have the requisite knowledge to discuss the student’s needs, let alone the understanding of programs to serve the student. The district wasn’t bound to provide a particular brand-name methodology, but it was obligated to give an equivalent methodology that’s rigorously implemented — but it didn’t.

So how does this case help you trust the district again? It doesn’t, but more importantly it can help you trust yourself as a parent. You do know what is best. If there’s something wrong with your child — don’t let up.

The school isn’t the expert on your child or on dyslexia. If you don’t agree or find the school’s IEP evaluation incomplete, request an Independent Education Evaluation (IEE) from a neutral third party — it’s free for you! Speak to the testing evaluators, and make sure they know how important it is to discuss educational strategies that will help your child (like Orton-Gillingham) and what won’t help (different theories mashed together). Ask all the questions. Do some research.

When you go to that IEP meeting, make sure there’s someone trained to understand the programs the IEP team will be discussing — you can ask for their qualifications. Bring your independent test results and go over them thoroughly. Ask questions about available programs and debate them as a team, and bring a printout of Rogich v. Clark County to reference if needed.

If your IEP lasts less than two hours, trust there is more to talk about!

Nicole Kirby

Morgantown main entries are in awful condition

Exit 7 on Interstate 68 and Exit 155 on Interstate 79 are two of the main accesses to Morgantown and are the first visions of our road conditions that out-of-state visitors will encounter. These two exits have been in less than desirable conditions for several years.

Gov. Justice has stated that there is a substantial surplus in the state coffers. I would hope that a miniscule portion could be diverted to these areas for a total paving, which would be more than a skim coat.

Thousands come here to shop, attend football games, baseball games and basketball games, in addition to events at Mylan Park. Morgantown is also a mecca for thousands to access our state-of-the-art medical facilities, which generate income for Monongalia County.

Isn’t it time to upgrade our entrances to Morgantown to state-of-the-art roadways? This would eliminate thousands of dollars for unnecessary repairs for the motorists who travel to these exits daily.

Maybe the state can even add some beautification projects by WVU landscape architecture students or civic groups.

Ron Lemley

Container ships: An environmental monster

How well our politicians kept a lid on this.

I used Safari and Google for search engines. And give credit to other journalists.

There are approximately 5,300 active container ships. China is the second largest owner of container ships.

One container ship can carry between 1.5 million to 2 million gallons of diesel fuel. They burn 63,000 gallons of diesel fuel in 24 hours. It takes about 38 days from China to the U.S.

These ships can carry 9,000 to 10,500, 40-foot containers.

Just 15 container ships pollute the air as much as all 720 million cars on earth. Maritime transport accounts for 3.5% to 4% of all climate change emissions, primarily carbon dioxide. They are the sixth largest emitter of greenhouse gases worldwide, ranking between Japan and Germany.

These emissions account for about 1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide into the air (credit Jackie Northam).

Alongside CO2, ships also release nitrous oxides and sulphur oxides, which are highly toxic chemicals — chemicals that are proven causes of acid rain and cancer (credit Victoria Heckstall).

There are no EPA rules in international waters. It’s proposed to cut container ship emissions in half by 2050, 27 years from now.

There are five container ship ports on our West Coast — Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma. As they enter our waters and get unloaded, those emissions are blowing into these cities and farther.

Why wasn’t this information made public by politicians and environmentalists when the “War on Coal” started? Oh, and those poor cows being blamed because of eating grass and farting. Seriously!

Rick Felton