Letters: American autos are awesome | VailDaily.com

Letters: American autos are awesome

Compiled by Vail Daily staff
Vail CO, Colorado

TAP is a problem

We seem to be having a public discourse through the newspaper about TAP and I have finally decided to join in. Maybe I am just so tired of issues and nothing being resolved. The third option is that I am just not smart enough to stay out of the fray. I vote for the last option.

I’ve read Muhammed Hasan’s columns. I like them and find it refreshing that someone who is not a stakeholder in education in this valley would step forward and become involved. We need more people like him. I do not support TAP.

I know Heather Eberts. I like and respect her and know her to be a person of intelligence, reason and dedication. She is passionate about education. I agree with her, too.

I do not know Eric Stinson. Didn’t care for his letter. One implementation of TAP does not equal another. I’m not sure if he has spent time talking to teachers of this district to really understand their issues.

So am I confused? No.

Fundamentally it is hard to argue with the principles of TAP. Should good teachers be rewarded and held accountable? Yes. Should we mentor rookie teachers to adjust to real-life versus academic life? Yes. Should teachers review what they do and share what works and what doesn’t? Yes.

I suspect that accountability, mentoring and sharing all went on before TAP in formal and informal ways.

Teachers are held accountable everyday by every parent. If you really want to know who is a good teacher hang out with parents in August when discussions revolve around who they hope their child gets for a teacher.

I have spent the last few years educating myself on the school district by serving on the accountability board at my child’s school and at the district accountability meetings, volunteering in my child’s classroom, library and parent-teacher association.

You can throw all the “research shows” statements at me, stats that teachers quit this district mainly because of cost of living; but I know this: Teachers are quitting; retiring early or refusing to enter the teaching market here because of TAP. It also is keeping potential teachers from pursuing the licensure program and becoming teachers in this district (I know because I am only one of them). I know these things because I care and I have had numerous discussions with educators. Don’t talk to me about research or stats or public opinion. I have talked to the real live bodies and heard their arguments. These teachers are not a bunch of whiners.

The school district is a large employer in the valley. One of their goals surely is to attract and retain quality employees. TAP as it is currently run is not making the district attractive. I know some wonderful teachers who have left the district. I am so tired of losing good teachers because of TAP. We are losing them to the “schools of choice.” The district wants to be competitive with these schools. Fine. Create an environment that supports teachers and holds them accountable; let them be creative and share experiences; let them have time to plan and inspire them with new ideas. Make it so that every teacher in the valley wants to work for you. The district says the greatest single impact on improving student’s performance is the teacher. Improve the teacher; improve the student. I agree. But how about this: Improve the work environment; attract quality teachers; improve the student; be competitive with choice schools.

The district legitimately has an obligation to somehow measure quality and to hold all employees accountable for their responsibilities. The public expects nothing less. However, the current climate in the district is one of fear, oppression and heavy paper work.

I challenge the school district to let the teachers present their ideas and listen to them. Form a committee of teachers, parents and district employees to look at that this issue. TAP is a problem ” do not deny it. TAP shouldn’t be punitive ” it should be inspiring and supportive.

Julie Lingle


Ford making strides

I’d like to respond to the editorials by Scott Miller and Alex Miller on Aug. 14 (“U.S. autos need a comeback”). I think the better headline would have been “U.S. autos on a comeback.”

As the owner of Castle Peak Ford, I see firsthand the huge improvements that have been made by U.S. automakers, particularly Ford.

Take, for instance, the fact that Ford Motor Company recently topped the J.D. Power and Associates’ 2007 Initial Quality StudySM (IQS) in five separate vehicle categories, nearly double that of any other car manufacturer. It also put 14 Ford Motor Company models in the top three of their respective segments.

Ford has also been a leader in U.S. automakers’ environmental initiatives, with such products as the Escape ethanol-hybrid, a plug-in electric vehicle pilot program in California, and the world’s introduction of seat foam that is 40-percent soybean-based, rather than using petrochemicals. Ford and the other automakers are even supporting potential legislation in the U.S. Congress that calls for reasonable, achievable increased mileage standards.

And Ford is introducing the things customers want in a vehicle, such as the Sync, a complete in-car communications system developed in conjunction with Microsoft; and the industry’s only back-up camera systems for pickup trucks with the screen embedded in the rearview mirror. The new Taurus and Taurus X are rated as the safest vehicles in America in their respective classes.

Moves like this are being echoed throughout the entire U.S. auto industry. With Ford and the others actively, aggressively and successfully making positive changes, the industry is in better shape every day.

Jeff Carlson

President, Castle

Peak Auto Center

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