Cambrian: Opinion

Cambrian letters to the editor Nov. 1

Concerns about iPad

In the ongoing discussion of the schools making iPads available to students at the Santa Lucia Middle School, I also have some questions, but not from the perspective completely of what the students might, or might not, be able to access if the proper controls are not in place.

My concern is whether predators out there, who troll the Internet constantly for young children whose Internet access, for whatever reason, is not properly controlled, and children who, again for whatever reason, are vulnerable to being seduced. I am concerned about who can access the children, and if these iPads are equipped with GPS, is this disabled so that someone cannot track the child for nefarious reasons.

Since I am virtually a computer illiterate, I believe that it is imperative for the school administration to publish all of the pertinent information regarding the name of the app, and any other information that a computer nerd who is also concerned about our children might need to do an independent third-party evaluation of whether these iPads are safe for young children to have in their possession after school.

Although I don’t have any children in middle school, I am a member of this community.  We are all in this together, and whether the children are my descendants or not makes no difference to me.  We must cooperate to protect them all from some really nasty people out there.

Shirley Bianchi


Concerns about iPad 2

I would just like to express my support for the Viewpoint article by Ken Butterfield (Oct. 25, “Questions about middle school use of iPads”). I hope that the school board and superintendent can address the questions raised by Ken in the interest of the families in our community.

It seems worthwhile to understand in the best possible way all the tools used to aid study and be careful not to focus on one primary source of education.

Brent Berry


Concerns about iPad 3

The school board race is important to all Cambrians. The article about the middle school students having iPads at home without filtering systems in place raises serious questions. While technology is a necessary tool in today’s world, schools are directly responsible for educating our youth using the best practices available. The district is leasing 30 iPads for first and second grade, iPads for the third grade and the rest of the iPads are at the middle school. We should move them all to the high school, buy course content and keep the technology at school.

I was shocked to hear the superintendent advocate that teachers should write their own curriculum. Talk of textbooks going by the wayside and teachers writing their own curriculum from administrators should alarm us all. Content and curriculum cannot be replaced by the Internet.

I watched an alarming video shown at the October school board meeting that showed second graders sharing the iPads to do math. I saw boys doing the work while the girls seemed to be looking on with admiration. Even if the children later switched, it is a waste of time to have some children working while others are sitting quietly, watching.

School boards are non-partisan bodies of governance. They govern through consensus, which can only be reached when all agree on a solution. Serious educators who respect others and listen to each other and to the community are necessary to the success of our schools. Support our teachers and students. Please consider giving me your vote.

Sue Nash, Ph.D.


Write-in Kniffen

Is there any question that the school board needs an insightful, direct person, one with courage to ask hard questions and lead rather than be led? When the issue of Cayucos withdrawing from the district came up, our superintendent and board response was, “we will lose teachers if the Cayucos property tax money goes away.”

Hmm, how about looking at other cost-cutting? Like legal fees that are in the tens of thousands each month and administration salaries instead of cutting teachers. The superintendent’s salary alone, of $160,000 per year, that board just renewed for four years, averages over $211 per student! What did the board base the renewal of the superintendent’s contract on? I have a hunch it would be mostly on the superintendent’s own evaluation of himself; just ask most of the teachers, families and students in the district. San Luis Coastal superintendent’s salary is only $26 dollars per student.

Steve Kniffen is a community leader with years of experience helping the children of this district. He needs your WRITE-IN VOTE. Steve will be there with the hard questions and courage that is needed to lead rather than being led.

Jude Basile


Bikes needed

It is that time of year again when I attempt to secure as many bicycles of any size that I can refurbish and distribute to needy children and adults during the December holidays. I have been doing this for over 15 years. Last year I distributed a total of 79 used and new bicycles through out the county. Bicycles that are donated to Bikes for Tikes are delivered to battered women’s shelters, homeless shelters, Grass Roots II, Toys for Tots, churches and to needy families throughout the county.

So this is the time that I do my best to start collecting as many bikes as possible and I need your help. I am hopeful that some of you who are reading this will donate your used bike or a new bike to Bikes for Tikes. I can assure you that these gifts from our San Luis Obispo community are truly appreciated by the recipients.

Most of us — but not all — have the fond memory of ourselves or our children getting the first taste of independence by riding a small bike alone. I would like to make the opportunity available to as many children as possible. As for adults, there are many in our county who are without transportation and a bicycle is sorely needed. One of the homeless adults that received a bike this year told me that because he now had a bike he was able to get a job and “finally make enough money to get his own apartment.”

Thank you again for your past bike donations and any bikes you might want to donate this year. Please note that various individuals and groups have wanted to donate money to Bikes for Tikes, but I do not accept cash donations. However, I can always use bikes new or used of all sizes. Also, I accept bike helmets in any condition. Call me at 924-0520.

James Ellman


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