To the Editor

January 25, 2011

By Contributor

Tucson, Ariz., shooting

Assigning blame to Tea Party critics is irresponsible, inflammatory rhetoric

Re: Tea Party organizer takes exception to being called an accomplice to murder:

Delvin, the government has not destroyed half of your life savings; the mortgage industry and banks did that. And unless you pulled all of your retirement investments out of the market, most of it is back. Yes, your income is taxed, just as it has been and will continue to be; nothing new there. As for the health care legislation, whether or not it is good or bad for you (or me) is far from clear. Hard to tell from all of the misinformation.

The terrible shootings in Tucson are apparently the work of a severely mentally sick individual. There is no evidence to Jan. 26 that the unhealthy level of political discourse so common in America today influenced the actions of the shooter. It is wrong to accuse you of being an accomplice to murder because of your apparent support of inflammatory rhetoric; that conclusion is clearly yours.

On the other hand, the irresponsible and unsubstantiated allegations of extremists add nothing to an intelligent conversation about the real outcomes of legislation like healthcare. What is required is a fact-based discussion, minimizing partisan opinions, about how best to deal with the real problems we face as a nation.

“Who is it that politicized this terrible tragedy?” you ask. Pogo had the answer: “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Your comments don’t help.

Paul Beckman

Ravensdale


Wednesday start times

Parents are not as responsible for tardiness as confusing schedule

Wednesday is a bad day for Issaquah School District elementary schools. For example, according to the district, tardiness at Grand Ridge Elementary School in the 2009-2010 school year was a remarkably consistent 1 percent on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. But it jumped to 6 percent on Wednesdays. Six times higher!

This spike in tardiness is primarily caused by parents who forget school starts 15 minutes earlier on Wednesdays. Parents should, of course, get their kids to elementary school on time, and they should certainly shoulder most of the blame. But the district is unnecessarily making it more difficult than it needs to be with its inconsistent start times.

On average, 24 students were tardy every Wednesday at Grand Ridge last year. So far in the 2010-2011 school year, it has more than doubled to 51. Multiply that by the other 13 elementary schools that have inconsistent starts, and we have hundreds of students who are tardy every Wednesday.

It’s such a serious problem that Grand Ridge has just implemented an innovative incentive program to encourage students to be on time. In early January, Principal Christy Otley reminded parents that tardiness has negative consequences on the quality of education, writing, “If your child is late to school, it also affects learning.”

I agree. Parents need to take concrete steps to reduce tardiness. And so does the district.

If the district wants to dismiss students two hours early on Wednesdays, then the obvious solution is to keep the start time the same and simply end school two hours early. Instead, the district changed both the start time (by a ridiculously insignificant 15 minutes) and the end time.

Challenger is the only district elementary school that has consistent start times. Not surprisingly, the 2009-2010 school year statistics show a flat tardiness rate throughout the week. No Wednesday spike. These comparative statistics clearly demonstrate that inconsistent start times lead to high tardiness; consistent start times do not.

The Bellevue and Lake Washington school districts also have early dismissals on Wednesdays. And they both provide consistent start times for every elementary school in their districts. The Issaquah School District can and should do likewise.

Matthew Barry

Issaquah

Note from the editor:

Emily Lee’s third-grade class at Grand Ridge Elementary School recently learned about Pacific salmon, and how “responsible citizens have an obligation to speak out to make positive change in our world.” Letters to The Press are the students’ first foray into persuasive writing.

Don’t you want to have yummy smoked salmon for dinner? Well, soon, if we don’t help, you won’t be able to because salmon will be extinct! More than 150,000 people celebrated the Issaquah Salmon Days festival, and if all of those people really care about salmon, they will do what they can to help them.

Listen to all of these cool things about these amazing animals! Did you know that a female salmon can lay up to 8,000 eggs and only two or three can survive to come back and spawn? Well, you might be wondering exactly how they come back to spawn. They have an amazing sense of smell, so that even if they’re out in the middle of the ocean, they can smell the stream they were born in!

There are many other reasons why we should help salmon and keep their habitats clean. First, salmon are some amazing animals! If we let them die, we will be missing an amazing part of our world. Next, guess what? If we clean up salmon habitats, we are cleaning up our own, too!

The most important reason why we should save salmon is they are part of the food chain. If we let them die out, other animals might too! You don’t want all life to die out, do you? Well, those were some reasons why we should save salmon.

There are lots of things we can do to help salmon. Here are just a few:

  • You should recycle so that garbage doesn’t end up in streams.
  • Also, be careful not to let any chemicals or poisons get into streams.
  • If people start to care more about salmon, I will be so proud to live in a world that cares about salmon.

For all of these reasons and more, please help salmon. Thank you for reading!

Indiana

Grand Ridge third-grader

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