Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 12/9

Data versus needs

I am so distressed to see that money, disguised as “educational” grants, is being used to collect data on student achievement instead of being used to educate the students directly.

According to the article on Dec. 1 (“Lucia Mar, Paso schools win grant”), $36 million was “granted” to schools by the federal government to pay for students to take online classes and to collect data on student success. At a time when classroom sizes have increased and children have a great deal of instability in their family lives with divorced parents and cultural pressures, there is a move away from recognizing the value of the human connection between children and teachers and a move toward measuring and collecting data on students.

Data is useful, but collecting the data has become more important than meeting the human needs of the children. Children and teachers do not fit into columns of numbers. Students need adults who care about them, work with them and inspire them.

Imagine if they took that $36 million and reduced class sizes, offered more one-on-one instruction for students and brought back counseling, music, art, fitness and hands-on programs that have been eliminated! How would that impact student success?

Nina Reinacher

Arroyo Grande

Timid workers

I find it interesting the way contemporary European workers respond to crisis, including their current economic one. Although their tactics sometimes seem strange to me, their ability to massively organize so quickly and put themselves on the line in the fight is impressive.

And then there is the American worker. What happened?

The more exploited American workers have become in the last four decades, the more timid and disorganized they seem to have become. Most still cling to the “I (my household) can make it on my own” American individualistic philosophy, which is becoming more impractical with each passing year.

Many continue to vote into office the same kind of politicians who then work against them in the Legislature. Is there no fight left in the American worker? What will happen when the United States Congress attempts to shaft them again with things like more tax cuts for the rich, cutting off unemployment insurance or raising the social security retirement age?

Will American workers put up some kind of organized fight or just go out with a whimper? The populists and union organizers of the early last century must be turning over in their graves.

Gerald Manata

Paso Robles

Bargain shopping

In response to Nathan Barankin, yes, there is “a cheaper, more efficient way of providing transportation for lawmakers to do their job(s)” (“Lawmaker car perk: Taxing taxpayers for a ride,” Dec. 4). A very nice “pre-owned” car can be had for well under $20,000.

V.O. Locke