News and Tribune

February 14, 2013

NEWS AND TRIBUNE LETTERS — For Feb. 14


A rebuttal to educator’s column

 

Greater Clark County Schools’ Assistant Superintendent Travis Haire is a good man and a solid educator. Recently, he wrote a guest column to the News and Tribune offering an upbeat glimpse of some positive plans and programs for our local school system’s second semester.

As a former teacher in the system, I would like to provide some analysis of what he has said. I want to precede my comments by noting that they are not directed at Mr. Haire personally. He is doing the job he has been hired to do.

First, Mr. Haire notes that the IMPACT initiative will “... ensure (that) every student succeeds.” OK. I’ll just note that is a beautiful example of hyperbole. Would your paper be willing to verify this statement at the end of this current semester? Maybe, just skip Mr. Haire’s proclamation and check on how things have been going with Charlestown’s “Computers For Everybody” program. By now, some verifiable results should be available.

Next, Mr. Haire touts the educational services available in the system’s Alternative to Out of School Suspension Program. He shares that students suspended for two or more days continue “... to receive educational services as well as counseling ...” On the surface, true. Realistically, little, if any, learning will take place when a student finds himself in a different environment for a few days.

As for the counseling, come on. At best, while suspended, the student is simply treading water. The conditions that have created the behaviors that have landed the individual in the Alternative Program can’t be alleviated with a couple of real good math lessons and the “You’re gonna end up in Hell if you keep this up” counseling efforts.

As for the online course work program for students who are “struggling academically or socially,” be aware that learning from a computer strips away group work, class discussions, teacher-guided interaction and social growth. If learning is reduced to simply finding the right answers (online learning) why not close down schools and do the whole thing by computers? Online learning is like looking at the tree in the winter without ever seeing the leaves. It’s not nearly as appealing and fulfilling when reduced down to its basic framework.

And finally, Mr. Haire’s observation that the system is “proud that there has not been a student expelled from any school for more than three years.” What goes unsaid is that the man that made that happen, Dr. Stephen Daschner, was let go.

In addition, his hand-picked principal for Jeffersonville High School was put out to pasture for daring to exhibit true leadership in fixing JHS. It does beg the question, if Greater Clark is proud of three years of no expulsions, where was that accolade when Dr. Daschner and Jim Sexton were left blowing in the wind?

Again, Mr. Haire is doing what all educators are taught to do. His newspaper column painted an optimistic picture that taxpayers and school board members find comfortable. The problem with this “hear, speak, and see no evil” communication is that it is horribly misleading. 

And when things happen that contradict all the positive enthusiasm, at best our leadership appears out of touch.

— Ken Miller, Charlestown

 

Property owner opposed to Jacob’s Well project

 

A Jan. 22 article in your paper about Jacob’s Well has several important issues left out. As my property adjoins Old Utica School, I have never been questioned/interviewed over Jacob’s Well. I want to set the record straight about several issues.

For starters, the property has deed restrictions for parks and recreational purposes, and zoning issues have not been settled. Also, Jacob’s Well is misleading what they are trying to do.

Mr. Dave Evanczyk stated in same article, he is an investor in Jacob’s Well, and didn’t know the motivation of those opposed to Jacob’s Well. I personally find this hard to understand, as he’s been at every meeting the past seven months listening to the community voice their issues. Jacob’s Well doesn’t bring anything positive to our town. Township/town taxes will increase to provide added services for this facility and property value will go down. 

Old Utica School is the heart and soul for the township and town and should not be destroyed. 

This is not about being the better Christian or a religious issue, as some would have you believe. It is about following the law. Jacob’s Well knew all the restrictions in Utica, but proceeded anyway no matter what it cost the community. 

As a Marine veteran of the Vietnam War, I hope like many other vets past, present and future we still have the right to voice our opinion. I guess that will get threatened with a lawsuit next.  

— Kenny Morrison, Utica