Published: February 9, 2014
Teaching is no longer possible
I thought I'd be one of those lifelong teachers. I went into this career knowing I was put here for this purpose. Fast forward 14 years, and I'd quit tomorrow if I could. This job is no longer possible. It's no longer something I believe in.
In my class of 28, I have seven special education students. Only three are identified because parents won't give us permission to test the other four. So I work long, hard hours and I'm beyond exhausted and these kids still don't get it. We have every single thing in place to help them. We've modified their work. They get all sorts of accommodations. They still don't get it. This is how kids "slip through the cracks" and get to high school with skills still at an elementary school level. Teachers and experts cannot force parents to have their kids tested and do what's in the child's best interest. They are in pure denial, and their kids will suffer in the long haul. Meanwhile, our government wants my job and my performance to be judged based on my students and their performance. There are clearly obstacles, learning disabilities and home situations that I cannot overcome.
Something needs to be done or kids will continue to suffer. The ones suffering are not only those that need special help. The regular kids suffer just as much, maybe more. Teachers don't have the time, energy or resources to truly help every student. With 28 students, I have no help. Resource teachers check in on the kids I need assistance with but without one on one, they aren't making progress.
Kids today are different. They learn differently. They come from such a vast array of home situations, many not positive. There are learning disabilities left and right. Managing the classroom and dealing with behaviors takes up a majority of our day. Yet, our funding is continually cut.
I do everything I can, and it will never be enough. Not anymore. Not under these circumstances and this pressure from above.
Society is different. Kids go home with homework and parents don't sit down with them and work on it. There are too many other priorities in their lives now. Kids get bad grades, and the teachers get the blame. I guarantee while families in our country are spiraling downward, education will never improve.
We're focusing our energy in the wrong place! Testing, testing, and more testing. Common Core. This isn't the answer. But who listens to a teacher in the classroom? We aren't regarded as educated professionals and experts anymore.
It truly breaks my heart for our kids and for this country.
Kim Seiler, Colorado Springs
Knee-jerk reaction isn't right
I have a message for all parents and grandparents in the state of Colorado; but first a question: Is it absolutely necessary that a person's head turn into a pumpkin right at the stroke of 50? Because I'm way over 50. I know you all, and I know what you did when you were teenagers. What's more important is that you yourselves know.
Proposed legislation being discussed in our state constitutes an all-out declaration of war on anyone with a "teen" behind their age; that is to say, a war on our own children and grandchildren. This is not about strict penalties for those who supply our teens with vices such as nicotine, marijuana, or worst of all alcohol - no, this is targeting our young people specifically, and it is guaranteed to do them much more harm than good.
Obviously, the legislation will reveal stiff penalties for your sons and daughters. It will suck a significant number of them into an 'injustice system,' which is already bloated beyond that of any civilized nation on earth today. It will bring to bear violent force, with ever-growing legions of "social" workers to harass and persecute Colorado teens for the same nonviolent acts that almost all of us committed at the same age.
You Colorado parents and grandparents had better think twice before taking the fools' path of prohibition. Those fear-mongering pumpkin-headed prohibitionists aren't interested in this for the benefit of us or our young. Knee-jerk reaction isn't the right direction for a progressive state like ours to be taking.
Finally, I am just wondering whether our youths are growing up in an enlightened - or just a frightened - society. If I were the praying kind, I would pray for the former, not the latter.
Phil Westfall, Colorado Springs
Election fraud destroys local control
Problems with fraud in this past year's elections demonstrate the necessity of fixing flaws in Colorado's same-day voter registration laws. Instead, the Democrats are seeking to impose the same loose, fraud-prone requirements on local elections. Under this year's HB1164, any individual can show up to vote in your local election and they get to vote, as long as they sign a piece of paper claiming to be a resident. Even if they're not on the official government lists of residents or property owners, they get to vote.
Think about it. Your school elections, special district taxes, decisions on local issues like fracking and land development ... can be controlled by any special interest that can get enough supporters to the polls. In small districts a handful of votes can decide an election. Election fraud will destroy local control.
The bill has passed the Colorado House, and the Senate committee has referred it for a floor vote. Unless at least one Democrat senator votes against the bill, a gubernatorial veto is our last hope to protect local control against fraudulent elections. Contact Gov. Hickenlooper and demand that he veto HB1164!
Anne Campbell, Monument