Las Vegas Sun

October 25, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Blame game has inconsistent rules

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Everything that is wrong in the U.S. is blamed on the president.

Ultimately, the buck does stop there. We never blame ourselves for our irresponsibility — financial, moral and personal. We never blame ourselves and how our collective actions could possibly influence global events.

However, in education, we somehow misplaced the blame. Instead of blaming those where the infernal buck stops, we find an easier target: teachers.

Let us look at unemployment. Instead of blaming those who set hiring policies and decisions, we blame the unions.

Why the shift?

The president proposes solutions that are preventive rather than palliative, and we holler and scream. Those who are setting education policies are proposing palliative solutions instead of preventive, and we agree: persecute teachers and ban unions.

Are we really this naive and ignorant so as to swallow this fallacy?

Many of us do, causing a rift in our social fabric. I can only hope the pendulum begins swinging back before anarchy takes over.

God save the USA from its own folly.

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  1. Many teachers should be paid more. Many administrators are paid too much. We have too many administrators and other non-teaching personnel and too few teachers. The teacher's union wants to ignore most of the above and ask for higher taxes to be used in ways that are undefined.

    Many taxpayers are no longer going to support more funding when those underlying issues are never dealt with.

    Michael

  2. RefNV - "Unfortunately Nancy, teacher unions are a "special interest" group designed to benefit teachers at the expense of tax payers."

    Complete nonsense, no one teaches because of the "great salary" they earn. Everyone in this country knows teachers are severly underpaid, still carrying loans from their college years. Teachers teach because they love teaching, period. Right here in Nevada teachers use their own money to purchase schools supplies because the state has failed to do so. To me, that is a dedication few have in other fields.

  3. Future is a worn out 45rpm record stuck in the same groove ... tick ... obama ... tick ... obama ... tick ... obama ... tick ... obama ...

    Get a life.

  4. The story goes that education problems are the fault of teachers. That reasoning would make crime the fault of police officers and fires the fault of firefighters.

    But, before you despair, remember this story is brought to you by special interests who favor pay cuts for teachers and tax cuts for millionaires. These are the folks who would sell you that the first responder heros of 2001 are now the greedy villains of 2013 and the greedy villains of 2008 are now the "job creating" heros of 2013.

    Consider the source!

  5. Nancy says that everything is blamed on President Obama. I find that statement odd, given that President Obama just won re-election by a comfortable margin and that the approval rating of Congress is consistently below 10 %.

    I understand that Ms Agustin likes the President and agrees with what he is doing but that should not blind anyone into thinking that the dissatisfaction a large number of Americans have with our present situation is all being blamed on President Obama. He is taking some of the blame, along with the Congress and our two parties and that is as it should be. Collectively, they are all doing a very poor job.

    Michael

  6. Talk about generalities! Vernos writes that "no one teaches because of the great salary they earn," and "everyone in the country knows teachers are severely underpaid." Wow! Vernos has actually talked with every teacher and has met everyone in the country? That's typical of the left; making up "facts" that meet their socialist agenda. Blaming the teachers for the putrid state of public education is akin to blaming Wal-mart employes for the prices on the shelves. Policy does not start at the bottom; it begins at the top and that's the problem with the public school system in a nutshell. It stinks at the top! That's where the decisions to "indoctrinate" rather then "educate" begin. The public shool system has become the new "plantation" and teachers do what their masters bid them to do: bend the minds of the young into believing they are incapable of independent thought and must rely on bureaucratic pencil-pushing drones to direct their lives. The only way to correct the situation is to dismantle the public school system in favor of a competitive one. The best and brightest teachers have little to fear and lots to gain. They will not only remain employed; they will prosper financially, intellectually and have a greater feeling of satisfaction since they will be doing what they really want to do: educate youngsters, not just be fair-to-middling baby sitters for the political establishment.

  7. "Are we really this naive and ignorant so as to swallow this fallacy?" (Nancy Agustin)

    Of course you referring to all the Fox news loyal followers.

  8. As former President Harry S. Truman once said,the buck stops here.

  9. All I want you people to do is FIND who is RESPONSIBLE for the failures of education - where the INFERNAL BUCK stops.

    The argument about teachers and unions is getting old. It really and simply is ignorant to place that blame considering that most of those who comment here are not or never have been in a classroom - actually doing everything a teacher does. One or three years of teaching or having a girlfriend in education does not make you an education expert either.

    There is only a whole 50 minutes in a day afforded teachers to prepare lessons and materials, grade papers and enter them in grade books. There are a whole lot of other duties. In the many years I have taught, I have yet to discover a trick to do a good job for the seven hours I am paid to do it.

    So, why are you blaming us for the failures in education? Would you blame the sinking of the Titanic on the deckhands?

    We have no voice when policies are formulated. Teachers are never consulted when major decisions are made. Why are teachers blamed for their failure? Why are you cutting our salary and benefits? Shall we charge you for everything we buy for our students that the district does not provide? NO! We will not do that. It is part of our job! And, we stay as teachers because no one else care for children. Not the government, not this community, and not too many parents.

    If you paid a baby sitter for a low rate of $2.00 per hour for seven hours a day, 20 days in a month, and multiply it by 35 children, you are getting a really good bargain. And, babysitters don't even have to teach them anything!

    We are doing a job no one else wants. HOW DARE ANY of you accuse us of being greedy. Where would your children be if there weren't any teachers?

  10. Freeman -

    I wouldn't even consider there was a possibility of changing your mind about anything. We are all products of our life experiences and yours and mine obviously differ.

  11. Society as a whole needs to take responsibility for thier own actions. We have your everday normal families who have parents who go to work, send kids off to school, help with the homework in the evening, reinforce the childs education and values and use discipline when nedded. Then you have the rest who look to blame everyone else for thier disfunctional lifestyle and values that they pass on to thier kids, who in turn pass onto thier kids etc,,, . In Nevada it's hard not to be the disfunctional ones with all the distractions we have to lure in tourist and end up using it ourselves, but it's not impossible to achieve and the blaming game would be no more.

  12. Get over it. Try being an auditor. Investigator. Cop. MANY occupations face the finger pointers. Teachers are SUPPOSED TO BE teaching, not networking, misbehaving at public meetings, crying for more money, more money, more money.

  13. Future obviously has a mind like a steel trap. Once closed it will not reopen for any reason whatsoever. Facts are immaterial.

    The final straw is his repeating, yet once again, the Republican't canard that "the SEQUESTER was Obama's idea". True, the idea did originate in the White House - as a measure so severe that NOBODY would allow it to take effect. That idea passed both houses of Congress with large majorities, the Republicans voting overwhelmingly for it. John Boehner specifically stated that "When you look at this final agreement that we came to with the white House, I got 98 percent of what I wanted. I'm pretty happy."

  14. Okay. We've heard from the shill bunch and a few of the concerned ones.

    Let's hear from the more reasonable/intelligent bunch.

    Anybody?

  15. LastThroes - "Willard Romney was on Fixed News today, whining about the "liberal media" that ended his impossible dream of becoming the first Mormon president."

    Real news is news regardless of the source. It's never GOP candidates, policies or social issues, it's always the media that's the scape goat. That is why a few, very few Republicans have spoken up and said the GOP is the party of stupid. Just think about the fact that the most popular Republican governor in the country wasn't invited to the CPAC because he had the audacity to work with Obama in helping the citizens of his state. This CPAC will have the same, old, tiring, string of losers speaking about the evils of government: Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Allen West. Saying the same tiring BS about the "commie/socialist/nazi" president in the White House. The rest of the real world is looking at these people saying, WTF? The GOP will suffer for years to come because their leaders are stuck in self made bizarro world.

  16. Part 1 of 2
    What part in American history President Barack Obama has played, will be determined over time, when the dust settles, ad his "legacy" is then established. Until then, it is all controversy, subject to change, and evolving. The United States of America never had a "perfect" president, even one without some controversy surrounding him, so what is the big deal?

    Blame: A state as resource rich as Nevada, should have been able to adequately fund its infrastructure, yet it has neglected to do so for over a century. Lawmakers need to get with the program and change the Nevada Constitution and update tax laws regarding the MINING industry, closing loopholes and excessive exemptions. MINING needs to pay a FAIR tax to Nevada, at least an average of the tax amount they pay to the other 49 states.

    Put some perspective into unions/associations: any organization/association, "representing" (people) its members, cannot possibly 100% represent each and every person/member. Those working daily in their positions, cannot leave all the time to negotiate their contracts, nor travel across the state or country to voice their political concerns with issues.

    Most teachers will tell you that they much rather be at their workplace, doing their job, than to have a "substitute" in their classrooms. When a "sub" comes in, the substitute usually is NOT certificated, nor is a highly qualified teacher, and rarely do they follow and TEACH the lesson plans left for them. In a nutshell, having a "substitute teacher" to replace you (when you are outside the classroom negotiating a contract, for example) is a nightmare!!! So teachers rely on union representatives to be there representing in their stead. Can you blame teachers for wanting to have a representative travel and do negotiation business? Reasonable folks would certainly understand why.

    Blessings and Peace,
    Star

  17. Part 2 of 2
    It COSTS school districts MORE in lost productivity and it results in reduced high stakes(CRT & HSPE) test scores, when full-time employees are replaced with low quality substitutes. None of us want that.

    The regular classroom teacher usually returns to a hot mess, lessons not taught, students requiring special services possibly not serviced, and a long list of problems with students. So the next best alternative is for teachers to have a union or association "representative" in their place, to deal with contract negotiations, legal matters, and politics. Is that so bad?

    Are unions, associations, or even clubs perfect? NO. Where ever you have human beings, you have differences.

    A good old saying: You can't please all the people all of the time, but you can please some of the people, some of the time.

    Quality of life is as good as the effort one puts into it, vests their personal energies into for their own betterment. When it comes down to it, we are witnessing the values each individual holds and lives. The blame begins with personal responsibility...that is where the "buck stops" my friends. And to Nevada Lawmakers: no more kicking the can down the road.

    Blessings and Peace,
    Star

  18. Agustin,

    You started your letter with an irrational untruth -- "Everything that is wrong in the U.S. is blamed on the president." A totally emotional non sequitur that begat the obvious inane pablum.

    Then later, you lament the lack of response from the "more reasonable/intelligent bunch."

    Quite frankly, no reasonable person should comment. I have already given you more time than your letter warrants.

    Purgatory

  19. ReNV,

    "Unfortunately Nancy, teacher unions are a "special interest" group..."

    I'm sorry but everyone belongs to some form of "special interest" group, organized or not.

  20. Nancy, good article and comments. Keep being an informative source!

  21. Purgatory:

    Then why bother.

    You're not one of those whose ideas this country needs, nor the one I am hoping to comment. OBVIOUSLY!

    Sorry. You're not in this club.

    Thanks anyway.

  22. Please. If you have nothing to contribute, don't hurt yourself.

    Thanks to you Peacelilly. You are one of those I really admire, not because of your support, but because you are one of the sanest and the most logical.

  23. Peacelilly: I'm sorry but everyone belongs to some form of "special interest" group, organized or not.

    Thing is that most special interest groups don't have monopoly privileges granted to them by the coercive force of the federal government.

    There's absolutely nothing wrong with collective bargaining or special interest groups, so long as they don't prosper at the expense of the everyone else. Why should union violence be ignored by LE upon those trying to earn a living? It's all about politics and campaign contributions.

  24. Pat, I don't condone violence by any individual or any group. It is the responsibility of leaders and membership to stop those who would be violent.

    It isn't difficult to locate the reason for governmental involvement to secure the safety of union members and their efforts. The is a history of anti-union violence as well as efforts to interfere with the rights of people to organize for very just reasons.

    I also don't like monopolies. Residents, ratepayers, and voters are the one's who need to weigh in en mass and be heard on that account. Even political parties are a form of unions.

    IMO, Citizen's United needs somehow to be reversed in giving corporations and unions "personhood" status.

    The reference to profiting "from everyone else" has broad implications which could become very extreme in any direction. In our society, someone is often profiting off someone else, rightly or wrongly, in one way or another.

    Viewpoints often depend on who is the profiteer and who is the one profit is derived from. That is simply the effect of a capitalist system.

    It is human nature to not want to be exploited, and the result is people joining with each other to prevent that. It is almost impossible to do it as an individual. However, violence is not the way to achieve justice, in my view.

    We have to move beyond that basic capitalist concept, and join it to a balanced societal reference and values. We need to be able to bend and blend.

    The term "special interest" is a term that should never have been coined. It has resulted in serious divisions in our society, rather than an effort to unite and seek justice as one nation. Sadly, we have allowed this political tool of manipulation to become a power saw in our nation.

  25. Agustin,

    I sometimes fall into the irrational category, that is why I commented. Respectfully, the next time you write a letter to Mr. Sun, please take the time to make it coherent and with a stated point that you wish the rest of us to understand.

    Or don't.

    And, Peacelilly, please revisit your comment - "Nancy, good article and comments. Keep being an informative source!" There was not a scintilla of information in the entirety of her words. It was all...well, never mind.

    This is what "we" need from you: Less emotion and more logic and reasoning. "We," your fellow citizens and fellow earthlings, will need your energy spent better directed if we are ever to get ourselves out of the mess caused by the emotional folks who came before.

    Purgatory

  26. The buck does NOT stop at the President for everything. It stops right here in Vegas for unacceptable K-12, for unacceptable / ineffective higher ed, for unsustainable compensation to local government employees. The buck stops at the Legislature for failure to reign-in unconscionable city / county / SD budgets on a recurring basis.

  27. RefNV,

    No need to repeat my answers to your copy & paste quote. You can look it up easily enough, if your memory fails you again.

    Purgatory,

    I can only express my personal thoughts in my own way, as does everyone else. I also try to refrain from insults of other commentors.

    How people react to other's comments can reflect their own emotional state, rather than the actual comment or presumed appearance of emotion.

    What I consider informative may not be the same for you. Again, my comments relate to my own response to what I read.

    The mess we are in took a great many people to create it. I don't see many signs of any individual or group with the ability to clear it up.

    Sometimes, things have to get to the worst possible effect before people will join together to find a solution. With so many huge divisions & problems, it is going to take a huge response.

    I don't see that on the horizon, and I'm not even sure it can be reversed.

    Perhaps that is the inheritance to the 'children and grandchildren', to clean up the mess of their ancestors.

    I've had a long life, and from a young age onward was involved in helping and serving others, being involved in political and social activism. Now, I am very limited in my abilities, so I share my thoughts and enjoy reading those of others.

    Best wishes to both you and RevNF!
    Peacelily

  28. Nancy,

    It seems like your an attraction to distractions. The opposition to your posts remains consistence. Now you know what to expect from a future Nancy Agustin post.

    Have you notice each time you post, the same commentators attack and attack. Your a magnet for the unreasonable. Plus your a nice fighter. Throwing soft ball and turning the other cheek.

    There is an old saying, "don't argue with idiots, they will beat you with experience."

  29. Oh, I am not writing to win. I do not know them so I can not possibly care about what they say. Many of them are just plain ignorant of what really goes on in our schools.

    I know I will never convince them to think otherwise, because conservatives do not even attempt to think about other ideas. They tend to stick to what they believe as divine truth.

    I write because I want the actual truth to have equal exposure - a repudiation of their propaganda and lies.

    Thanks.

  30. Dwight Jones is quitting!

    I hope it was something *I* said. Tee Hee!