It is as a Brainerd High School alumni, speaking in regards to the proposed BHS sports and activities to be cut next fall, that the only word that comes to my mind is: unbelievable. As a product of ISD 181, and a benefactor of the numerous activities and sports that were offered, I cannot begin to fathom the effects that these cuts will have on the quality of education that students receive. It is tremendously unfortunate that the plurality of the ISD 181 community did not find our area's youth, and their futures worth investing in. What many seem to fail to realize, is that learning occurs outside of the classroom; learning that is not possible within the traditional four walls of the school building. To the students, faculty, and staff (and ultimately the community at large) that will all too soon have to deal first hand with these proposed cuts, I wish you the best of luck, and stand to say that though so many others in our "community" seem not to have cared, there are plenty of us that do.
How much is enough?
My last article on Feb. 24 "School officials can't accept they lost" gave two overly intelligent people a chance to show everyone what they think they know about Brainerd's school dilemma. The Feb. 26 Open Forum was... "oh well." I'm sure he doesn't represent many people in Brainerd. In "Who really lost the referendum vote," the Feb. 27 Open Forum tells us people will lose their jobs. (No kidding).
Do you know how many jobs in this area would have been lost had this referendum passed? Do you know how many families and children would have suffered from double and triple taxation from the domino effect on constant county, city and township yearly property tax raises? You talk about moral responsibility? Everything we buy would have increased in price, even more than it has now. Companies could not sustain $100,000 increases without passing them on to consumers. Yes, I am concerned about teacher and obscene administrative salary increases. How much is enough? Four point two percent on a $50,000 average amounts to $233 a month increase over a nine-month period or $2.57 per hour increase plus other benefits. Yes, if you don't think that's huge...Well, you get my point. I'm sure Merrifield is proud of you. I took my $50,000 average from the Dispatch article Jan. 13, 2002, "Brainerd teachers rank high in pay." "The average teacher salary for a full time equivalent position in Brainerd for the 2000-01 school year was $45,167. The average salary in the state then was $40,577."
Brained teachers pay was $4,590 higher than the state average and they've had three-two year raises since then. I don't envy their salary and benefits, but their constant complaining is sick. How much is enough? They used to be proud of their profession.
Citizens Concerned About School Taxation
Five years of war in Iraq
March 20, 2008, will be the fifth anniversary of the American occupation of Iraq. Nearly 4,000 U.S. citizens have died, and 30,000 have been wounded. 100,000 to 1 million Iraqis have died and 4 million have been displaced. Almost $1 trillion has been spent on this war, with no end in sight. (Figures from United for Peace and Justice Web site.)
We still see the war justified by 9/11, but there is absolutely no link between the two! Most of the pilots involved in 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia, and not one was from Iraq.
Sponsored by Veterans Against the War, www.ivaw.org/wintersoldier Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan will feature testimony from U.S. veterans who served in those occupations, giving an accurate account of what is really happening day in and day out, on the ground. The four-day event, March 13-16, will bring together veterans from across the country to testify about their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan -- and present video and photographic evidence. In addition, there will be panels of scholars, veterans, journalists, and other specialists to give context to the testimony. These panels will cover everything from the history of the GI resistance movement to the fight for veterans' health benefits and support.
Organizations such as United for Peace and Justice have information on how to access broadcasts of these hearings on their web sites.
The Brainerd Area Coalition for Peace will show the video "Yes Sir, No Sir" in solidarity with Veterans Against the War at the Brainerd Public Library, from 6-8 p.m. on March 20.
Please participate in one of these events.
Patricia W. Scott
Member, Brainerd Area Coalition for Peace
No more blank checks
Minnesotans long have made education a top priority, so much so that taxpayers have been willing to dedicate close to half of the state's $34 billion, two-year budget to schools. How much does it cost to provide a Minnesota child with a good education? When it comes to education spending, Minnesota ranks in the middle of the pack nationally. But the state's students place high in performance. Eighth-graders rank second in math and eighth in reading. National education finance expert Eric Hanushek said Minnesota's level of funding, coupled with high performance, proves that higher spending does not necessarily lead to better academic performance. So why all the hoopla about making the state overhaul it's educational funding system?
Education groups say failed ballot measures and state dollars they feel are rising too slowly have added insult to injury and have led to staff cuts, increased class sizes, teacher layoffs, program cuts and increased fees. But what have they done to control rises in the costs of education? Teacher salaries, school executives and administrators salaries outpace the national work force salaries in increases and benefits. They complain about class size...but there has never been proof that large class sizes undermine education. They use our kids as hostages and talk our communities into thinking its the governments fault...but is it really? Can it be that educators have lost focus of what the public school system was designed to do? It was designed to teach children the basics. It was not designed to be a fail-safe system of socialization, indoctrination, and babysitting. Educators and Administrators have got their priorities messed up. This "we want a blank check for education" mentality must stop. It is hurting education more than helping it.
Dale A.P. Anderson
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