published Sunday, July 20th, 2014

Experience produces effective teachers and other letters to the editors

Experience produces effective teachers

The writer July 9 seems neither an educator nor someone familiar with that world. The issue is not effective vs. ineffective teachers, rather experienced teachers vs. first-year teachers. I saw this while teaching in newly integrated schools near Atlanta, as the oldest at 32, 11 years experience, working with large numbers of first-year teachers. Politics play a part as principals go to great lengths to keep good teachers who don’t want to relocate anyway. Placement policies at district levels are known to put unaware first-year teachers in the worst schools. Teaching effectively requires natural talent, content knowledge, motivational skills, good discipline tactics, wisdom and good judgment, which come with experience. Researching the culture of poverty, note that vicious cycles of poverty create “lifelong handicaps that are passed from one generation to another.” We have to overcome the challenges the poor face, regardless of race. Our political divide prevents this. One side believes in solving problems, while the other seems to believe their values are automatic to all and says, “Just get a job!”


Keep Galloway on school board

Joe Galloway has been a teacher, a coach and a friend of education in our community for years. He visits his schools in his districts; reads to students; and talks with administrators and teachers about their needs and concerns. Mr. Galloway is approachable and makes himself available to his constituents. Observing his votes and remarks at school board meetings, Joe makes decisions based on what is best for kids. Re-elect Joe Galloway to the Hamilton County School Board. He does a great job!


Write in Thurman to county panel

Rhonda Thurman is a write-in candidate for the District 1 Hamilton County commission seat. Her history on taxes is clear. Remember when she led a small group of people who collected signatures, got it on the ballot, and defeated a wheel tax? As a school board member, she has constantly advocated for fiscal responsibility and accountability. Her opponent, Randy Fairbanks is kind of squishy on taxes. In his campaign literature, and I quote, “He will oppose any unnecessary tax increases.” The problem is every potential tax increase is deemed “necessary” by the people asking for funds. These are just slippery words which will be used when he, along with his cohort, Marty Haynes, votes for a tax increase for the schools and the sheriff’s department. In addition, if Fairbanks lives up to his primary promises, he will need a tax increase to pay for the fire halls and school equipment he promised. District 1, the choice is yours. Rhonda Thurman, a straight-talking conservative with the guts to hold the line on taxes or Randy Fairbanks, a smooth-talking politician who is soft on taxes and used Democrats to win a Republican primary.


Keep Tidwell in clerk post

When voters consider law and order issues in local elections, they naturally focus on the actions of law enforcement officers, prosecutors and judges. Less well known are the crucial services provided by the Criminal Court clerk’s office, currently led by Gwen Tidwell. Every criminal case filed in Hamilton County — about 50,000 new cases a year — generates records that must be maintained according to state laws that govern every aspect of the office’s operations. The reason for that is obvious: If records are improperly maintained, especially when convictions are appealed, justice can suffer. The victims can be the defendants, whose lives are often on the line, and Hamilton County citizens. Since Ms. Tidwell was elected in 1994, the day-to-day efficiency and effectiveness of the clerk’s office has reflected her leadership and professionalism, and the work of her fine staff. She has ensured the clerk’s office complies with all legal requirements. Gwen Tidwell’s two decades of service to Hamilton County citizens should not be lightly discarded for purely political reasons. Electing an unqualified person to this office would likely have grave consequences for the criminal justice system.


Elect Dean for Criminal clerk

I have known Vince Dean for years and know he is an honest, compassionate, conservative Christian family man. That is not why I am supporting Vince. I am supporting Vince because he is the best person for the Hamilton County Criminal Court clerk position. Vince’s opponent has served years in the position and she is to be commended for that. However, longevity is not always a reason to keep someone in a position. There is a lot to be said for new vision, new perspective, new ideas, new goals and new administration. Do you want a Hamilton County Criminal Court clerk who will take the job seriously, who understands law enforcement and the challenges of the court system, who has experience with legislation, policies, budgets, managing people and getting the job done with ethics, responsibility and efficiency? If you do, then I ask you to join me in casting your vote on Aug. 7 for Vince Dean for Hamilton County Criminal Court clerk.


Support Smith for public defender

It is a privilege for me as Steve Smith’s pastor and friend to recommend him for election as public defender. Steve is the kind of person of high character and integrity we should all want in public leadership today. Steve and his wife, Mary, have established their home with their four children in the secure manner of love and devotion to Christian principles and support for each other which is a foundation of hope for the future of our country. Steve has excellent qualifications, having served as an assistant district attorney, but is also one who lives his daily life as a member of his church council, is a gardener, and one who recently took his 12-year-old daughter on a motorcycle trip from Chattanooga to Dallas as a special time for them together. He is a leader who cares deeply that all persons who come into the courts system are treated fairly. I know we will be happy to have such a person in this significant position.

J.N. HOWARD, Signal Mountain

Headrick best fit for 3rd District

In a recent political ad, Chuck Fleischmann describes himself as “a tireless workhorse” for the people of Tennessee. Really? In his two terms in office, Fleischmann has sponsored only 10 pieces of legislation, three of which were repeats and three of which were original to someone else. Further, not one of those 10 bills was enacted into law. And that is a good thing because Fleischmann sponsored legislation to exempt some highway signs from reflectivity standards (HR2257), end funds for weatherization programs (HR3441) and eliminate capital gains taxes for the wealthy (HR2885). Back here in Tennessee’s 3rd District, Fleischmann has actively hurt many of us by fighting against the Affordable Care Act, by failing to support any increase in the unlivable minimum wage, by accomplishing nothing that protects the environment, or makes sure that children are safe in their schools and homes. He did, however, co-sponsor legislation to create five commemorative coins and award gold medals. Not a bad thing, but not what needs to be done. We need someone who will go to Congress and assiduously advocate for all of us in the Tennessee 3rd District. We need Dr. Mary Headrick.

LARRY CULVER Athens, Tenn.

Protect effective 2-party system

The two-party system is effective. It is designed to encourage both parties to bring forth their competing proposals to make government more effective and offer their solutions to the problems facing our society. It challenges each to define their approach and select their strongest candidate to convince the electorate and most effectively voice and apply their philosophy. Under this system both parties can take great pride in their candidates and their platforms. The system is weakened when a candidate of either party openly encourages voters in the opposing party to “cross over” and abandon their party and candidate in a primary election. Beware when a candidate encourages this practice. They are telling you your own party has nothing of value to offer for this particular office, and that they themselves cannot effectively convince a majority in their own party that they are worthy of their vote. Neither should you be tempted to cast your vote for the other party’s weaker “more beatable” candidate. Both parties should strongly discourage this practice. It weakens our electoral process and asks you to abandon your principles.

BOBBY WOOD, Harrison

It’s time to oust Jim Hammond

I cannot morally or ethically vote to keep Jim Hammond as sheriff of Hamilton County. With no viable opposition on the ballot, I pledge to write-in Chris Harvey for Hamilton County sheriff. I hope people in Hamilton County who feel the same way will join me in writing in Chris Harvey for sheriff. Grassroots efforts are needed in this race and other political races to restore integrity to our government.


Wamp has right experience

I have been reading letters posted here that question the “experience” of 3rd Congressional District candidate Weston Wamp. One recent writer mentioned that he “does not possess the broad-based credentials necessary to effectively represent the citizens of the 3rd District.” I’m really unsure as to what that means other than Weston has never held public office before. What “broad-based credentials” do most citizens need? Previous elected office experience? A desire to stay out of touch with the people one would represent? A desire to put party before principle? It is time we take a look at those we send to do public service and evaluate not only their effectiveness, but the results of having sent them to do public service. Wamp has a proven leadership record of helping entrepreneurs succeed, something we need in Washington. We need someone of the generation that will be called upon to make the future decisions not only in the legislative process, but also in the forthcoming technological arena, which Wamp so keenly possesses. Personally, I would rather have someone from his generation looking out for the next generation because he understands the coming trends our country is facing — science, technology and bi-partisanship. Washington is full of “experienced” politicians already. What we need is someone who understands the future needs of our district and our country.


Wamp remains unqualified

Each time Weston Wamp is confronted concerning his youth and lack of experience, he and his political operatives constantly revert to a used-up claim about his time spent at the Lamp Post organization, as though this is enough job experience to propel him to a taxpayer-financed, $175,000 job in Congress. Incidentally, that equates to a base salary of $3,365.00 per week. This is perhaps four times that of the average 3rd District taxpayer’s weekly salary — with equivalent experience to that of the candidate. Weston suffers from a bad case of “belief conclusion” (he believes it; therefore it must be fact). Opinion is only a thought or speculation which can lead to flimsy, groundless and unsupported experience claims such as those presented relating to his time at Lamp Post. The raw facts support that Mr. Wamp does not possess the broad-based credentials necessary to effectively represent the citizens of the 3rd District. Regrettably, the injection of time spent leaning on the Lamp Post as a substitute for adequate experience is just an inflated convenience claim. The experience light projected from the Lamp Post, to be sure, is very dim!


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sagoyewatha said...

MS. McIntosh: What you have written here is a good example of poor thinking,a lack of knowledge and an incomplete education. (1) Begin with a faulty premise and you will reach an erroneous conclusion. Experience, particularly among teachers, may mean they have spent 19 years repeating the first year's mistakes...that is exactly why the trend is AWAY from tenure. Who are you to say what an "effective" teacher is? To define effective teaching so that it can be measured is something no one has been able to do. You cannot do it with your anecdotal (personal experience) evidence, always the lowest form of research. "WE" don't have to do anything to get over the problems of the poor. The poor will always be poor if they just wait for others to make them wealthy, healthy and wise. It is very simple and has been around for a long time, go to church, work, get an education. Guaranteed to stop the whining.

July 20, 2014 at 3:07 p.m.
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