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Education in crisis

Bob Graham

My brief tenure teaching social studies at Eagle Valley High School was the best year of my teaching career. I looked forward to teaching every day because of my wonderful students (you know who you are!) and my colleagues. I was particularly grateful for the privilege of working with Principal Nelson Gould and Assistant Principal Jeff Lueders, and watched as they began to implement programs at EVHS that would raise expectations academically, socially, behaviorally and, yes, morally.I’m sorry to leave this team that will have such a strong impact on young people in this valley. I do hope you parents know what you’ve got there. And I hope you as a community continue to battle strongly against the forces on your doorstep that are doing everything possible to impede this progress.From my perspective, your valley is in educational crisis right now. Eagle Valley High School experienced a 33 percent turnover in faculty this summer. This is an appalling attrition rate and is harmful to your community (and your children) in more ways than I can outline here.To make just one point, it means that any teacher there when your son or daughter enters EVHS as a freshman will not be there when they become seniors. Add to this the national average 50 percent divorce rate and dare we wonder why our children might have abandonment issues?Education was not a priority in the English colonies. Do you know why? Because under a monarchy there was no need for an educated citizenry, and after all, children were needed in the fields. Lest we forget, as of July 4, 1776, we became a democracy and a democracy depends for its very life upon AN EDUCATED CITIZENRY!Look around. How are we doing? Political corruption? Corporate corruption? Don’t blame the politicians and the CEOs! Blame an ignorant, uninvolved citizenry whose constant cry is, “Well, how can we possibly understand all that mumbo-jumbo?” if it’s not, “How “bout my new Lexus?”So fight the good fight for quality education for your children. It’s not just so they can earn $50,000 entry in computer programming. That’s a selfish view. It’s so your way of life (which we simplistically defend via bumper sticker) will survive.Education is the bedrock of the whole deal. And anyone who tries to cut the legs from under it in this community is ignorant in more serious ways than just stupidity. It’s not cheap. Why should it be?I’m so sick of hearing how little work we actually do. Trade jobs with a high school teacher for one week. Go ahead, I dare you. Prepare your five daily lessons, deliver your five daily lessons, grade five classes of papers, control five classes a day (each with different personalities), respond with care and love to the 120 different personalities you come in contact with each day, handle discipline issues inside and outside the classroom, do the paper-computer-recording work, serve on committee, in most cases sponsor at least one extracurricular activity, and again in most cases take night or weekend classes to improve yourself as a professional.Think this gets done between 7:45 a.m. and 3:06 p.m., you know, those cushy “teacher hours”? Think it gets done between September and May? If it’s so easy and the pay extravagant, then why are we having a national teacher crisis? Why is the bedrock career of a democratic nation being abandoned? Are all those college graduates choosing more difficult work than teaching, at lower pay?In closing, I have to say a word to the members of the boys and girls soccer teams at Eagle Valley High School.Thank you for giving me (and my wife-assistant coach) such unforgettable seasons last year. I feel very good about what we accomplished, not only as players learning a game, but as young men and young women learning important lessons about life and self.I was honored to be able to serve as a role model for you, and feel good about all aspects of that except my short temper during games. I just wanted you to do it right (and I wanted the refs to call it right!). I know that you knew that. Keep striving for that perfection. You won’t attain it, but how can you go wrong trying your hardest?We look forward to continued contact with our friends, colleagues and former students. We drive the Ryder out of here on Friday morning with a host of wonderful memories of the people who touched our lives. God bless you all.Bob and Lois GrahamNow at: 29 W. 6th Avenue Naperville, IL 60563New phone systemThe beginning of the 2002-03 school year is less that two weeks away and parents understandably have questions for individual schools. But with a new phone system in place at Eagle County School District, some of those phone calls aren’t getting to the right location.The phone numbers for several local schools changed last year. Now all district phone numbers have the 328-prefix.Following is a listing of all school numbers and the new numbers will be recorded in new phone directories:Elementary SchoolsAvon Elementary-Avon 328-2950Brush Creek Elementary-Eagle 328-8930Eagle Valley Elementary-Eagle 328-6981Edwards Elementary-Edwards 328-2970Gypsum Elementary-Gypsum 328-8940Meadow Mountain Elementary-Eagle-Vail 328-2940Red Hill Elementary-Gypsum 328-8970Red Sandstone Elementary-Vail 328-2910Middle Schools Berry Creek Middle-Edwards 328-2960Eagle Valley Middle-Eagle 328-6224Gypsum Creek Middle-Gypsum 328-8980Minturn Middle-Minturn 328-2920Eagle Valley Charter Academy-Edwards 926-0656High SchoolsBattle Mountain High-Eagle-Vail 328-2930Eagle Valley High-Gypsum 328-8960Red Canyon High-Edwards and Eagle 926-8107Remember, school begins on Thursday, Aug. 22. We are all looking forward to a great year.Pam BoydCommunications CoordinatorEagle CountySchool District EdwardsKids readingWe appreciated the support of the Vail Daily while orchestrating the Vail Library’s Summer Reading Program for the children of the community. In fact we could not have done it without you.Your paper was receptive to the notices and PSAs which we e-mailed to you. The weekly submission to Community Calendar was effective. I am pleased to say that our Summer Reading Program was successful this year.The goal of the Summer Reading Program is to encourage children to read on their own and to use the library. We do this through a variety of games, arts and crafts, visitors, lessons, and certain types of entertainment that children enjoy. The children in our program come back again and again. We served many children with this free program this summer, both residents and visitors. This could not have been accomplished without the support of the Vail Daily. We are pleased to have a local newspaper that is devoted to serving the community.On behalf of the Vail Public Library, I thank you all for your support.Ann SintonVail Public LibraryProgramming and Youth LibrarianThanks for helpThe Gore Range Natural Science School would like to thank everyone who helped make our annual Barbeque, Bluegrass, and Biodiversity celebration a tremendous success.Chuck Pyle, The Zen Cowboy, entertained the more than 150 people who attended the event. Our summer youth participants had the opportunity to share their summer projects as well as take advantage of the activities 4-Eagle Ranch had to offer. Our volunteers were instrumental in organizing the event as well as helping us with our raffle ticket sales.A big thank you goes out to, Vail Resorts, the Golden Bear, Camelot Balloons, Cogswell Gallery, Vail Bicycle Service, Jon Sheppard, and Rich and Debbie Adams for their generous gifts for our raffle. Also, thanks to The Vail Daily, Channel 5, TV 8 Good Morning Vail, Alpine Bank, The Eagle, Ski Country and The Choice radio stations for helping us get the word out. And finally a big thanks goes out to Tom and Tess Backhus at 4 Eagle Ranch for being flexible with us and letting us use your wonderful facility!All of your efforts helped the science school reach out to the community and raise our collective level of environmental awareness. On behalf of the science school and the hundreds of area youth that benefit from our scholarship programs each year, I would like to thank everyone who participated in this year’s BB&B.Kim Langmaid,Executive DirectorGore Range Natural Science SchoolPoor tasteI have noticed that Eagle County District 3 Commissioner Tom Stone is having a “Beer, Brats & Kraut Campaign Kickoff and Fund-raiser” today in Eagle-Vail. I have only one point of contention with said function: What is wrong with just good old Amercian hotdogs and cole slaw? Wouldn’t that be more patriotic than German bratwurst and sauerkraut?Don’t get me wrong, I like brats and kraut, but I believe the Republican Party claims to corner the market on patriotism more than the other political parties, at least the Democratic Party, if you have read anything in this paper post Sept. 11 from Henri Stone.With this in mind, I will not be voting for the unpatriotic Tom Stone and I urge all true patriotic Eagle County citizens to do the same. Baseball, hotdogs, apple pie and a Stone-free District 3. God bless America!Megan E HammerEdwards


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