Screaming union folks, pointing fingers

To the editor:

Wow! I didn’t see this coming. Clark County School District officials told teachers that if they win the raises they wanted in arbitration, there would be drastic layoffs. They got their money – which is all any union member cares about – and now the layoffs are announced. Then the School Board meeting on Wednesday is flooded with union folks moaning and screaming and pointing fingers at the trustees.

So if unions don’t get what they want, there will be hell to pay. But when they do get what they want, there is the same result. Typical union insanity.

harry kirchoff

Henderson

Real world

To the editor:

In response to the Wednesday letter from school teacher Gregory Grant about concern over public-sector compensation and benefits:

Are you kidding me? What a ridiculous argument Mr. Grant makes when he says that private-sector employees should stop complaining and just unionize. He misses the whole point: Public-sector unions are not “negotiating” with anyone. Rather, they just have whatever crazy terms they propose rubber-stamped by politicians on the other side of the table. It is like pushing on a string – there is never any push-back from the politicians who are in charge of approving government union contracts because it is not their money, their constituents never do anything about it, and it’s political suicide not to agree to everything the unions want.

So it’s crazy to compare public-sector unions to private-sector unions. Private-sector unions must negotiate in the context of real-world economics.

Tom Lucas

Las Vegas

Just sick

To the editor:

In response to the Review-Journal’s latest diatribe against public education, the Monday editorial, “Rating teachers”:

One of the provisions of the education reform package jammed through the Legislature last year was the unworkable idea of making student performance part of our reviews. I realize that in a utopian environment with the invisible hands of the market as the model, using a quantitative mechanism for judging job performance is an excellent idea. But it is only a very small percentage of teachers who give standardized tests that could be used to judge their performance.

To the point, at the high school level the departments are mathematics, science and English.

The editorial ignores this fact and veers into a peripheral issue of where one achieves his degree and in what subject area. I do not have a degree in education. I received my teaching license by taking the requisite courses related to the field of education after receiving a bachelor’s in another subject. But I work side by side with many people who followed the school of education route. Whether I am a superior performer than they are – or visa versa – has nothing to do with what is written on the piece of paper, but more with the effort we put into developing our craft.

You cannot have a license to teach mathematics unless you have a certain level of advanced level mathematics courses on your transcript, regardless of whether your piece of paper says “bachelor of arts in mathematics” or “bachelor of science in education.” It is not relevant to the discussion at hand. Where the piece of paper was acquired is also not relevant.

And as anyone who has done any research in any subject knows, correlation is not causation. Coming up with a workable solution to rate a mathematics teacher on the same plane as the PE teacher or art teacher using student achievement is, quite frankly, impossible. We have standardized tests to use as data, they have none.

Once again the Review-Journal has shown its pathological hatred of public education. What sickness causes someone to write material that is completely lacking in logical analysis and mostly void of the truth to try to undermine one of the great institutions of this nation?

Paul Ruth

Henderson

School budget

To the editor:

As the school district eliminates 1,000 positions, some teachers will lose their jobs. But retirements, teachers leaving the profession and other teachers leaving the state will reduce the number of teachers laid off.

The issue to me is the impact of those 1,000 positions being eliminated.

That will surely mean more students in each class. Teachers who do lose their jobs will, of course, feel the pain of unemployment. Our entire community, however, will feel the impact of our children being in larger classes.

District officials have to balance their budget, but as a community we need to find a way to increase support for our children so their education has a chance to prepare them for the future.

Pam Selby

Las Vegas

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