Lake Stevens Journal - Your hometown newspaper since 1960


YOUR LETTERS 4-24-2013


April 23, 2013

WEA should let taxpayers know how money is spent

Dear Editor,

It is such a shame that the Washington Education Association union (WEA) has recently put out an attack flyer against some Washington State Senators, including Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-Lake Stevens), who are attempting to put forth education reform measures.

The Senators have championed measures like: enrolling highly talented students in advanced classes, providing intervention and support so every child reads at grade level by third grade, making faculty assignments based on mutual agreement between teachers and principals, and giving schools letter grades so parents can see the quality of education their children are receiving.

The WEA would prefer no changes be made, they just want the State Legislature to just give them more money.

The state already spends $10,300 per student, which is from an increase in funding by 32 percent during Gov. Gregoire’s time in office, but still over 25 percent of our children are not graduating.

Instead of focusing on spending, demonizing Senators trying to make changes, the WEA should be concerned with educating our children. Taxpayers and parents should demand to know how every dollar is spent and expect positive results.

Todd Welch

Lake Stevens

Reality Reform

Dear Editor,

With graduating 8th grade in 1913 requiring an arguably broader and more practical knowledge base than required to teach 8th grade, today, “education reform” seems a concept worth embracing. In practice, however, teachers often take the brunt of unrealistic expectations thrust at them by career academics in DC, whose PhDs often preclude them from everyday classroom realities.

Then, too, some administrators force-feed teachers the latest trial-and-error programs, which often conflict with those already in place. Teachers must then navigate those expectations, while dealing with often uncaring students and aloof parents; parents who demand their “C-” student gets an “A,” in a given class, not because they’ve earned it, but because the parent wants their child in a certain university.

In March 2006, writer Patrick Walsh wrote For Once, Blame the Students. Today, that should be expanded to include parents for whom a grade is more important than lessons learned—or a young adult learning to take responsibility for his or her own actions—and administrators would build prestige for their school by requiring ever more from teachers who already give more than their fair share.

The single greatest step toward education reform would also be the simplest to institute: keep the kids in class!

Over the last 20 years, excuses for being out of the classroom for extended periods have exploded. There are dance competitions, recitals, horse shows, swim meets, week-long foreign missions, school-year family vacations, and MANY other extracurricular activities. All added to the pep rallies, assemblies, sporting events, concerts, debate team gatherings, and other “society enhancing” activities that constantly derail learning throughout the year. And, when the uncaring student’s absenteeism becomes critical, who has the responsibility to see to it they raise their grade a letter or two—even if it means longer hours at school, missing family activities, or losing sleep? ‘Venture a guess?

Bill Cook

Lake Stevens

Looking for stories about Sergeant Major Zachary

Dear Editor,

Sergeant Major Reid Zachary is retiring after 19 years of teaching JROTC at Snohomish High School.

Many students have gone through the program at SHS in this time, including students from other school districts. Some of these students have gone on to serve their country in the armed forces, others have gone on to further education or careers. All will have a story to tell of their time with the Sergeant Major.

Current students and the Parent Association are planning to put together a scrapbook of his time with the school district but we are in need of pictures and stories.

We are asking anyone with memories of the Sergeant Major to write them down or if you have pictures of him to copy them and please send them by April 30 for inclusion in the scrapbook to: Lauren Snyder, c/o Snohomish MC JROTC, P.O. Box 871, Snohomish, Wash. 98290 or to submit via email, send to Thank you for your help in this matter.

Lauren Snyder, parent



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