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Letters to the editor

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have more of a say

There has been much debate in the valley recently regarding the new schedule and the TAP program. Teachers, parents and the district are in a constant battle regarding these issues and no one is letting it go.

The funny thing, though, is that while the school district agrees to make an attempt to solve any concerns involving the schedule change, it fails to do anything to help solve the concerns about the TAP program.

Now the new scheduling system has been created to go hand in hand with the new Teacher Advancement Program. They think that changing the schedule will give the children a better education, because that time of day is when that age group learns the best.

Now, the concerns by the parents are definitely valid. 7:30 in the morning is definitely early for an 8-year-old child, and it is probably difficult for a 2:30 releasing of the child to fit well with the work schedules of the parents.

Yet how can the district completely forget the concerns of the teachers? It’s not just their scheduling and child’s education on the line. It is also their salaries and jobs that are in jeopardy. How can a teachers career be based on how well the majority of the students do on standardized tests? It can’t but yet it is.

The ironic thing about this is that the CSAP handbook specifically says that the test is not to be used as a tool for teacher evaluation. It seems that this is all that it is being used for.

How is it that the opinions of the parents are more important than those of the teachers?

It was definitely evident that their concerns have been ignored, because on March 14, the Vail Daily wrote an article proving that they are complying with the problems the parents are having, but nowhere were the needs of the teachers even considered.

The teachers in the Vail Valley make the same amount as the average teacher in Denver, if not less, and for the cost of living in the valley that is close to nothing. They do their job because they love it. For the valley and the district to do nothing for their needs is ridiculous.

Has anyone considered what the TAP program does to their salary or position? If the students they teach do not do well on the standardized tests, then their salaries and teaching techniques could be dramatically altered because of a test that the students don’t care about. Why aren’t the parents fighting for that?

How can the district completely ignore the teachers and put the parents’ opinions above it all? I am sure that the teachers know a little more about theories of education than the parents. Just because it doesn’t comply with the parents’ schedules, a war has begun. But I am sure that it doesn’t work for the teachers with kids either.

For those parents complaining about the $40 a day in day care, I am sure the teachers can’t afford that, either. So before putting the parents before the well-being of the students, think about the teachers.

Amanda Huntoon

Husky Howl Reporter

Battle Mountain High School

Impeach Bush

I would like to bring to the attention of everybody in the Vail Valley two Web sites: http://www.votenowar.org and http://www.votetoimpeach.org. I believe that we as the voting public and citizens of the United States of America need to get more involved in what is going on right now in Washington.

President Bush is opening a door for more terror attacks on Americans and our country with this cowboy war with Iraq. The U.N. does not support the war. Many powerful countries do not support it. Why are we taking the chance of upsetting the world and causing a possible world war over a non-threatening situation in a country where we do not belong?

We are becoming an overbearing country which will soon stray from the reasons we started this country in the first place. Homeland security is violating many of our American citizens. How is this different from what kings did to their peasants during the days of mass relocation to America?

We need to stop government before it no longer supports what is best for Americans.

Matthew Wirtz

Child care

With all the talk in the Vail Valley about providing accessible, affordable child care for our county’s future, we cannot lose sight of the purpose of running good early childhood programs, namely ensuring that the children experience a high quality of life while they are with us (in early care and education) and in their other life settings as well.

As caretakers of children, we need to be responsible for contributing to the factors that are required for child care to be considered high quality:

n Qualifications, education and training of administrators, teachers and care givers (and the related salary and compensation package).

n A safe and healthy environment.

n Parental involvement.

n Group size, and staff and child ratios.

n Environmental issues (equipment, curriculum, interactions, beautiful spaces).

No one component is more or less important than the others. It takes all to create quality care. These factors have a price tag and many are under-budgeted in our local centers, and child-care homes. We count on the community to help balance our budgets, as parents alone cannot pay for the cost of quality early childhood education.

The Eagle County Early Childhood Programs appreciate the effort the community is making to include child care in their long range plans. Casino 2003 is an event where proceeds help contribute to the quality we struggle to provide. Help us reach the goal and not settle for mediocrity.

Eagle County Early Childhood Program Directors

Need answers

I believe we need a fire-emergency services station in West Vail and I will fight to get it built. But I don’t know what that station looks like. Let me back up.

The council has reviewed a ton (or pretty close) of material on emergency services over the last few years. Besides concluding we need a greater presence in West Vail, the only other conclusion the data reaches is that Vail’s emergency services needs are very different than they were 20 years ago. The services our fire department provides are much more medical emergency-related and much less fire-related than in the past, and the trend continues in that direction.

So, what should we build in West Vail? I suppose we could ask the fire department (I’m kidding, we have). But here’s the thing, I’m not sure I trust them as the best source of that information. They have a perspective, and it’s real valid, but it tends toward the “cost is no object, more equipment, more firefighters, the way we do things is the only right way to do them” approach.

If I were in their shoes I’d probably be saying the same thing. But as a policy maker I’m not sure that should be my only source of information. Remember, the fire department is a government department, and I get a strong sense that, like a lot of government departments, it likes the way it does things and resists change. Add to that that the fire department’s main tools of persuasion are fear and sympathy, and I get downright dubious.

So before we start spending money to build a new station, I want an expert set of eyes on this issue (as Mclaurin says: “someone with no dog in this fight”).

I want to know whether the way the fire department operates is the most effective way to meet our community’s needs.

I want to get a lot more comfortable that we are getting the most we can for the money. I’m curious as to whether we can improve service and decrease its cost to us by changing the way the fire department does things.

We already know we need something in West Vail, and I’m in.

But I hope you want the answers to those questions before we start building it, I do. When we get those answers, it’s time to build.

Greg Moffet

Vail Councilman


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