Letters to the editor

Feb. 22, 2013 @ 06:37 PM

Teachers’s voice often missing

As a veteran kindergarten educator, I was interested to read about the K-3 assessment work group  June Atkinson spoke to.  The article gave details about the group's efforts to develop a standard form of assessment under the Race to the Top initiative.  I believe in formative assessment and I work hard to give meaningful assessments throughout the year to ensure my students are making progress.  

What concerns me is that this group of well-meaning individuals is quite removed from what I do every day.  I would have preferred to read that a group of "scholars, scientists and current K-3 teachers" are meeting to develop this assessment.  Or that this group convened an advisory group of Nationally Board Certified K-3 educators to review and approve its work.  Far too often, the voice of experienced teachers is missing from these processes, so I am hopeful this will include the "mix of educators and parents as part of a task force," as the article stated.

As an educator, Race to the Top has not been a welcome addition to my professional life.  If this process includes a balanced mix of K-3 educators, in addition to representatives from the five local colleges and universities listed, it will go a long way to give me hope I'll one day see genuine, substantive assessments that measure the daily learning that takes place in effective K-3 classrooms.  I am glad to offer my input after 19 years in elementary education, should the task force still need participants.

Jamie Barnhill

Durham

Better way to cut deficit

Here we are, on the brink of a self-inflicted recession courtesy of the Republicans’ ‘sequester’ that, unless repealed, will cost our nation countless jobs and reverse the meager economic gains of the past four years. 

There is a better way to reduce the bederal deficit:  tax reform that treats all income as ‘ordinary income’ subject to the same progressive tax schedule regardless of how it is obtained.  This simple model will demolish the monument to corruption and cronyism that is federal tax law, replacing it with a novel notion:  Income is income.  

By doing away with special tax treatment of capital gains and interest plus eliminating loopholes like “carried interest” that grants millionaire hedge fund managers a 15 percent top tax rate, this fair system of taxation will funnel much-needed revenue to the Treasury without hurting middle class and working poor families. 

Congress has created an impossibly arcane and complex tax system for the benefit of wealthy campaign donors that cannot be defended or afforded any longer, and those Senators and House members who refuse to support a fair and simple alternative should be forced to explain just who they really represent.

Richard Eckberg

Hillsborough