Letters: Who says hikers are bad? | VailDaily.com

Letters: Who says hikers are bad?

Compiled by Vail Daily staff
Vail CO, Colorado

Competition is good

(Refer to “Don’t need kids to worry about TAP.”)

My name is Eric Stinson and I am an educator in the Denver metro area. I am writing this letter in response to a commentary from Muhammad Ali Hasan. In his commmentary, he criticized the entire concept of competitive performance pay known as Teacher Advancement Program.

First, I read through his commentary and I found several flaws with his argument. I applaude Mr. Hasan for his dedication to education, and even more so to teach in a poor and rough school in Los Angeles. Supposedly he fell in love with education, but he left it for whatever reason. The question is why? What were his motives for leaving something he absolutely loved? For many former teachers, the reason is money.

Contrary to popular belief, people in Colorado love teachers …to a point. Many times, I have been congratulated for belonging to the most noble of professions, and I have heard the same naive statement, “They should pay teachers more!” I always respond to this question by saying, “If you are willing to pay more taxes, teachers will be paid more.

You see, here in Colorado, we are socially liberal and economically conservative; the classic textbook case of a liberatarian. People here love their environment and public space. But what they hate is government intrusion, traffic jams, and taxes to pay for both.

The Teacher Advancement Program is a way to pay teachers more without raising taxes. What I do not understand is why Mr. Hasan would be opposed to pay for performance. Is he not aware of how Colorado teachers are evaluated and compensated? For those of you who don’t, new teachers in a district have one-year contracts for up to three years. At the end of each year, a teacher may be dismissed with or without cause. After three years of continuous employment, a teacher may be fired only if there is cause and you go through procedure. This is what used to be called tenure. The Teacher Advancement Program helps prevent tenure teachers from remaining in their jobs despite lack of performance.

If Mr. Hasan is so against competition in schools, then I must ask him if he opposes sports in schools. Does he oppose knowledge bowls? How about band and choir competitions? What about standardized testing? I believe that this is the problem Mr. Hasan truly has. He hates standardized testing for ranking purposes. Unfortunately, it is the only current way to measure school improvement on a linear basis.

Mr. Hasan, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but CSAP is here to say. In this day and age, “We know we have a great school because our kids and parents love us” won’t cut it anymore with taxpayers. They want to know that their precious taxes are going to what is advertised; school and student achievement. Unfortunately, schools do not produce commodities or consumer items as virtually every other enterprise in this country does.

A school’s function is to educate students, period. Mr. Hasan obviously has forgotten this key fact; a major oversight for someone who supposedly loved teaching public school children.

If you study TAP closely, you will learn that a teacher is evaluated. A school is looking at teacher improvement, student achievement, and overall fit between new teachers and their schools. Mr. Hasan failed to do this basic research.

The bottom line is that as long as taxpayers demand that schools are accountable, CSAP is the law. It is not the only method to determine student achievement, but until a better way comes around, this is the law of the land, like it or not.

And until we Coloradans open our wallets more to pay those who mean the most to our society (and I am not simply referring to teachers) than this will be the best way to give teachers a fair chance to not only improve education, but increase their quality of life. Mr. Hasan should know this, but fails to recogize the reality.

Eric Stinson

Highlands Ranch

Don’t worry, keep hiking

I didn’t appreciate the headline in the Daily that read, “Hikers are hurting our backcountry.” I mean, what is the backcountry there for except to make life more enjoyable for us residents and taxpayers?

The article goes on to say that hikers are walking around fallen trees (rather than leaping over?); they are pitching yellow tents (rather than green ones?); and they are walking around puddles (rather than walking through them?). Come on!

I have been hiking to Missouri Lakes, Gore Lake, Fancy Pass, Whitney Lake and Shrine Pass for 25 years and those hikes are much the same as they have always been. Each of them remains an absolute delight and I love the fact that others are also enjoying them! I don’t see trash and I don’t see dog “dirt” and in no way are they being desecrated. Get real!

David LeVine

Stop the speeders

Miss: To Beaver Creek Resort Company and its security department for failing to control speed within the Beaver Creek Resort. The recent placement of speed signs on Village Road confirmed my suspicion that cars, trucks and green buses (resort operated) were reaching speeds of 55 miles per hour on Village Road. Biking along Offerson Road can be just as perilous as some parts of Highway 6! Many neighborhoods around the county have posted signs that fines for speeding are doubled, but Beaver Creek ” a resort where people come to play in relative safety ” remains a speeders’ haven.

Suzanne Hoffman-LeBlanc

Beaver Creek

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