I began reading with interest the article on Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky’s plan to split the Clark County School District into smaller precincts (“Plan would split district,” Tuesday Review-Journal). I lost interest when it was noted the plan includes “multiple layers of advisory councils providing input.”
This brought to mind a statement from the Nevada State Education Association: “The primary mission of NSEA is to advocate the professional rights and economic security of its members.” And what of the children?
As for Mr. Skorkowsky, according to the school district’s website, “For the past 25 years, Pat Skorkowsky has served the students, parents and community of Clark County as a teacher, site-based and central office administrator, and now, as superintendent.” Wonderful. And after 25 years, the best he can offer is multiple layers of advisory councils providing input?
CCSD parents, don’t worry. Fast-food chains throughout the state are waiting to welcome your children.
Graham H. Tye
North Las Vegas
Why teachers leave
Fortunate people enjoy their jobs and stay with them until retirement. But consider the teaching profession. Teaching is a tough job made tougher by our policy makers. Today, there are many clipboard people who study teachers, taking notes and collecting data to affirm or criticize their performance. These visits are usually unannounced and cause stress to the teacher.
The current testing frenzy means more anxiety for teachers, depending on their students’ scores. Many Nevada teachers work with students living in poverty. These students bring many problems to the class that often detract from the ability to teach everyone, because the teacher has to attend to children who have problems staying focused.
Most teachers feel the increased pressure of the job, with principals demanding more lesson plans, more testing and more student tracking, which adds up to more time spent on administrative duties that require long hours late into the night to accomplish. Teachers quit, finding jobs where their employers appreciate and respect them. Many teachers can’t wait to retire or find work elsewhere.
Nationally, 11 million citizens have permits to carry concealed weapons, with an extraordinarily low rate of crime among them. They pose virtually no threat wherever they are. So why would they present any danger in a school, but not elsewhere?
Review-Journal columnist Steve Sebelius appears to oppose concealed carry in schools, due to the possibility that during an attempted shooting by an insane person, crossfire could possibly result in additional casualties (“Objections to gun control ideas don’t stand up,” Oct. 7 R-J). Mr. Sebelius discounts the much greater and immediate benefit of stopping the threat and saving potentially dozens of lives. Time and again, helplessly waiting for police to arrive has proven to be the worst plan.
Let’s stop creating killing zones. Almost 95 percent of these mass murders occur where the cowardly perpetrator knows there will be no resistance.
Honoring a poet
I like the fact that John L. Smith saw fit to honor Gary Snyder, a great American poet (“Poet is well versed in the Great Basin’s great beauty,” Oct. 10 Review-Journal). Mr. Smith is a versatile writer, for it’s not easy to base a column on literature and landscape, while making poetry and the Great Basin resound. The force of Mr. Snyder’s focus on nature, among all the other universals — love and its obverse, alienation — is fertile ground for the poet.
The poet linguistically distills nature, encapsulating it in the image. Then a columnist notices, which is enough to make readers believe the rendering is truly important. Finally, by Mr. Smith’s very attention, the columnist elevates the power of poetry. Thank you, Mr. Snyder, for extolling nature, and Mr. Smith for extolling the poet.