Letters to the Editor | VailDaily.com

Letters to the Editor

“‘Tis the season?

At the beginning of each winter season I anxiously await the tree lighting held in Beaver Creek. This annual celebration recognizes the kickoff to the holiday season and is sure to spread joy throughout the valley. I have to commend everyone who participates, especially to those families who decorate their own homes with brilliant colorful lights.

It is now March, the holiday season is long over, local golf courses are almost open, but I still see neighborhood homes twinkling with multi-colored confusion.

My first thought is to assume that the second-home owner has not yet returned since New Year’s. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

My question to the entire community is this: “At what date during the year do we take down our holiday lights?” Isn’t there an unwritten rule for situations like this? I know one shouldn’t wear linen after Labor Day? Or white shoes at the circus?

If you thought the Miller Ranch Bridge lights were distracting, drive into Singletree after dark.

Eric Lyon

View from afar

In the summer of 2001 I was hired as a social studies teacher at Eagle Valley High School by their newly hired principal, Nelson Gould.

In my brief one-year stay at EVHS, my respect for Mr. Gould grew and continued to grow. His leadership, in my opinion, single-handedly changed a negative culture at that school, bringing unusual moral principle and conviction, tremendous educational vision, and high expectations for faculty and students alike, all with a loving, fatherly demeanor. In other words, a classic high school principal.

I was informed today that Mr. Gould was fired (or “not re-hired”). In a hastily-called teacher’s meeting this morning (March 2), faculty were informed by John Brendza, superintendent of schools, that Mr. Gould had failed to meet “probation evaluation criteria”. There was “no single incident” that precipitated this action.

As a long-time schoolteacher, I’ve come to recognize an educational snow job when I see one. Someone upstairs doesn’t like Nelson Gould.

I can only say he’s the best principal I’ve ever worked with, and he was the best thing that ever happened to students in your community. I have e-mails from former students of mine at EVHS, now trying to make it academically in college, stating that EVHS had just not prepared them for the rigors of collegiate academics. Nelson was in the process of changing that (that’s the vision thing).

The message your superintendent has just sent to every past, present and future teacher in your district is clear: People with moral conviction, educational vision, high standards and a loving heart need not apply. People who can meet measurable (remember, it MUST be measurable) probation evaluation criteria are who WE want. (The word on the street is that Mr. Gould was not “pro-TAP” enough to suit Brendza. If true, this in itself should tell you everything you need to know about the blindness of your educational “leadership.” When it’s the military, it’s one thing, but when education begins to value acronyms over humans, YOUR children get hurt. And believe me, your children just got hurt.)

So if you want to know what’s wrong with education in this country, look no farther than your own superintendent’s office.

I’m writing from a distance now. If I had known this could happen, I’d have started a campaign to “Save Nelson.” But Eagle Valley, the damage has been done. Real progress at EVHS has been set back in a very real and tangible way with the loss of Nelson Gould to your community. My suggestion would be to fire John Brendza and replace him with Nelson Gould, but that probably won’t happen.

If I put it this way, maybe what just happened makes more sense. Brendza just became Saruman. The power of the ring is tantalizing, and puts blinders over the eyes, does it not? Mr. Gould is Gandolf. He saw a power above the ring.

Race of men, decide.

Robert W. Graham

Naperville, Ill.

Preaching ground

I feel compelled to respond to Tom Hopkins’s criticism of Dan Smith’s commentary, “It’s the Constitution, stupid.”

Mr. Hopkins tries to demean Mr. Smith by using the tired issue of Florida and Katherine Harris. I’m not interested in refighting Florida. It’s over.

What does bother me is Mr. Hopkins’ concern about the fact that Mr. Smith teaches at CMC. It seems that Mr. Hopkins doesn’t want someone teaching at our colleges who doesn’t espouse the liberal point of view. The fact that someone with a conservative background would be teaching political science is an anathema to Mr. Hopkins’s way of thinking.

As someone who has spent a fair amount of my life in political science classrooms – on the student side and on the teaching side – I find it refreshing that students at CMC have the opportunity to be taught and mentored by someone who tries to present all sides to an argument and, to paraphrase Fox News, let the students decide.

There are entirely too many professors at our colleges and universities whose main interest is not in developing an educational dialogue of differing views, but who actually demean those students who presenting a view somewhat to the political right of their own.

The college experience is supposed to be one of “learning,” not indoctrination. Over the past 20 years it has evolved into a preaching ground for the liberal message by tenured professors, the vast majority of whom have no experience in the real world.

I think it is a rare opportunity that CMC students have to take courses from someone with worldly business – and life – experiences and is more interested in presenting arguments for thought and discussion rather than dictating only one side.

Garrett Fonda


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