Letters to the Editor

4/24 Letters: I’m a teacher. I shouldn’t have to be a nurse and counselor too.

Thousands of teachers crowd Fayetteville Street as it dead ends into the State Capitol building in Raleigh on  May 16, 2018 a during the  “March for Students and Rally for Respect,” the largest act of organized teacher political action in state history.
Thousands of teachers crowd Fayetteville Street as it dead ends into the State Capitol building in Raleigh on May 16, 2018 a during the “March for Students and Rally for Respect,” the largest act of organized teacher political action in state history. cliddy@newsobserver.com

Have you ever told a group of people you’ve known for only a few weeks that their friend has died? I’m a teacher. I have.

Have you ever had someone tell you he or she is suicidal and doesn’t know who else to turn to? I’m a teacher. I have.

Have you ever had a nightmare where one of your current students was shooting up your classroom? I’m a teacher. I have.

Have you ever had to receive training on administering a rectal seizure medication? I’m a teacher. I have.

I’m a teacher. I don’t have a full-time school psychologist, nurse or social worker at my school.

I’m a teacher. I work with counselors who have much higher than the recommended caseload of students and fill in for the off-campus psychologist or social worker.

You’re a member of this community too. Have you ever contacted lawmakers about fixing these staffing issues?

I’m a teacher. I have. Will you?

Kim Mackey

Fuquay-Varina

Few conclusions

Based on “No relenting,” April 22, Trump and Barr have successfully set the narrative for the Mueller report. The writer summarizes the report as, “No collusion, no obstruction, but not for lack of trying.’‘

Actual quotes from the Mueller report show this statement to be completely off base.

The report actually says: “Collusion is not a specific offense or theory of liability found in the United States Code, nor is it a term of art in federal criminal law.” So when Mueller concludes that he “did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” he is not saying that there is no evidence of “collusion” at all. What he is saying is that there is insufficient evidence to prove that the Trump administration was directly involved in Russian crimes like stealing Clinton’s emails.

On obstruction of justice, the special counsel refused to exonerate Trump and actually says: “Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment.”

Anyone claiming no collusion or obstruction is misstating the actual conclusions of the Mueller report.

Tim Niles

Raleigh

History and financial literacy

Both U.S. history and financial literacy are important for all students to learn in high school. At risk of going after a sacred cow (STEM education), I’d suggest that rather than reducing the U.S. history requirement, state legislators could take a look at reducing science and math requirements.

For good students, four years of math culminates in calculus which is far beyond what the average person needs in high school, even if they go into a scientific field. Everyone should have a year of biology in high school, but perhaps the required year of chemistry and of physics could be combined into two semesters total, thus freeing up a whole year for financial literacy. In my and my children’s experience, the details in these more advanced STEM classes are learned but promptly forgotten, unless the person’s career trajectory involves use of the material. Even then, the students will be required to take the material again in college. It is, frankly, ridiculous. Math and science are important and should be taught and required in high school — just maybe not so much. But U.S. history and financial literacy? They are critical for every U.S. citizen.

Alice Ramage

Durham

Required learning

I applaud the lawmakers who voted unanimously to require public school students to be taught about the Holocaust. I directed the NC Boys Choir until 2014. Charles Davidson, a cantor in a New Jersey synagogue, set to music a collection of poems written by children at the concentration camp Terezin. Many of these poems were etched into the barrack walls. Of 50,000 children between 8 and 15, less than 100 survived.

The Musical Memorial was called “I Never Saw Another Butterfly,” and our choir began learning the music almost as soon as it became available. Countless numbers of boys, the ages of those at Terezin, sang their poignant words, did research on the Holocaust and wrote school papers and made presentations. I still have a touching letter sent to me following a concert: “I would like to express my gratitude for your selection of ‘I Never Saw Another Butterfly.’ It is a warm feeling to know that someone else remembers, and that we are not alone.”

One line in a poem says: “If in barbed wire things can bloom, why couldn’t I? I will not die!” Their ashes have long been swept away by the wind, but we must never forget!

Bill Graham

Durham

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