LETTERS: Teacher evaluations set unfair standard

To the editor:

I was reading about Nevada public school students’ low test scores (“Students fare worse in national assessment,” Aug. 14 Review-Journal). It’s interesting that part of the solution is to make 40 percent of a teacher’s evaluation based on student performance statistics. So teachers at high-achieving and magnet schools will enjoy better evaluations, and suffering schools with at-risk students will bestow poorer evaluations on their teachers.

I have taught in public schools all over the Western states during my career, and I believe that this will deepen the culture of fear among Clark County School District teachers. Successful teaching now is defined by standardized scores, not innovative lessons and a passion for the subject taught. Lesson plans are electronically drafted and placed on an electronic calendar for administrators to review.

I certainly am glad I retired from teaching, since the cookie-cutter approach to education is folly. Sadly, it is our young people who will suffer the most, as the quality of lessons and joy of learning will be forever lost in the maze of educational objectives and percentile rank. No wonder many young students hate school. Many teachers and parents hate what school has become, too.



Appellate court expense

To the editor:

Thanks to Laura Myers for bringing to our attention the situation facing our overburdened Nevada Supreme Court (“Judge: Appeals burden system,” Aug. 13 Review-Journal). No one can deny that 2,200 appeals filed each year is a staggering number.

The solution, however, is not to ask beleaguered taxpayers to finance an expansion of justice system machinery by hiring more lawyers to deal with other lawyers’ mistakes. Most appeals could be avoided simply by not overcharging and not coercing innocent defendants in the first place.

In Ms. Myers’ article, Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto says, “Passage of Question 1 will give Nevadans the timely resolution of their legal cases that they deserve — whether it’s on child custody cases, clearing the innocent or resolving important business litigation.” Clearing the innocent? That’s precious. Maybe the compassionate attorney general would like to explain how so many innocent victims get caught up in her justice system to begin with.

Passing Question 1, and hiring more lawyers, will only result in more innocent defendants being forced into hopeless legal quagmires that eventually lead to desperate, unsuccessful appeals. Proponents of Question 1 have adopted the slogan, “Justice Delayed is Justice Denied.” I call it “Feeding the Beast.” Voters, be smart. Please vote “No” on Question 1 in November.



VA reform

To the editor:

I don’t understand why everyone wants to make Veterans Affairs reform so darn complicated. The VA has its expertise and its role, dealing with serious traumatic injuries inflicted on our warriors. Loss of limbs, sight and hearing, horrendous brain injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder and combat-related depression must be dealt with by the most dedicated and professional personnel in the VA hospital system.

The other classification of veterans include those returning from wars long past, going back to World War II, Korea and Vietnam. These veterans are suffering, for the most part, with a different set of problems, often due to the common effects of aging — diabetes, cancer, heart problems, mobility, dementia and the like. These ailments can be dealt with by any competent doctor or specialist, and there are many here in Southern Nevada.

So does it make any sense for these veterans to have to stand in a long line with the severely injured who need specialized care for their service injuries?

Allow the VA to permit older veterans to seek care from any doctors they need, with the cost being borne by the government, except for co-pays and/or deductibles, just like Medicare. This way, all veterans are being taken care of in a much more timely manner, and it frees up the overworked personnel at the VA hospitals. What is so difficult about this?



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