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Outsourcing at ETSU, teacher evaluations and more in Wednesday's Forum

Staff Report • Oct 15, 2013 at 9:47 AM

The state Board of Education has a solution to improve our children’s learning. It wants to place all the blame on the teachers, and enact the teacher reform or teaching license policy. All teachers must pass a test. Then all teachers will be evaluated. A low rating on the evaluation will deny them from renewing their license to teach. I have some questions about the test, doing the evaluations and the state board’s new policy. How long, if ever, has it been since members of the state Board of Education taught in a public school? Do they realize all children do not come from the same circumstances? Do they realize many students come from single-family homes and struggle just to survive? Do they realize many children are abused and live in homes where drugs and alcohol are used regularly? Some children have learning disabilities. Some parents simply don’t care about education. I agree teacher evaluations are good if the purpose is corrective criticism and encouragement to improve is given. However, it would be better if the evaluator had recent classroom experience. Very few people could perform at their best if they worked in constant fear of losing their job, and also have a pile of unnecessary paperwork put on them. If everyone wants better education, put discipline back in the schools, and start supporting our teachers. CHARLES HARTMANJohnson CityRight to bear armsIt has come to my attention that people are being denied their Second Amendment rights in the Johnson City Public Library and in all Mountain States Health Alliance facilities. There are signs on the doors of these establishments that say that carrying a handgun inside the premises is prohibited.Now, I’m sure this kind of thing is happily approved by Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the soft-on-crime crowd, but to me, it’s a life-threatening situation.People must be allowed to defend themselves in the library against those who would try to turn them gay by reading poetry at them or by making them read those “Twilight” books. And in the hospitals, people must be allowed to stop “do-gooder” hospital staff from forcibly implementing Obamacare. If people aren’t allowed to carry their guns everywhere they want, then next thing you know they’ll be forced to surrender their firearms to Communists, United Nations peacekeepers and to atheists. Come on Tri-Cities, let’s do something about this or they’ll take away our right to bear arms.STEVE DENTONJohnson CityOutsourcing at ETSURumors have circulated for several years that custodians at East Tennessee State University would be placed in a outsource custodian contract services. It appears some managers have tentatively sold university officials on the idea that outsource contract services will save money.Rehiring current employees at the current hourly rate is commended, but on the other hand, what benefits do employees receive? Currently custodian employees rely on family medical benefits, some take advantage for education, along with sick and vacation saving plans and occasional overtime hours to augment their income.Granted, saving money is an ongoing issue in all business, however, saving appears as money in the bank. “In a flash” pay raises, bonus or maybe a well-meant project the money is gone.Outsourcing contract services is a great savings idea. If this move is great for the custodians, then all ETSU administrative and support positions need to jump on the bandwagon, accept the current hourly pay rate and benefit from this program.GENE MORGANElizabethtonAffordable insuranceI am currently uninsured and I’ve been researching my options for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Given my income level, I will qualify for a 70 percent subsidy. I will be able to purchase a plan that covers 87 percent of my medical costs for less than $70 a month. This is very affordable for me.I just received a newsletter from Congressman Phil Roe letting me know that he is working hard to defund the Affordable Care Act or at least delay its implementation. That’s fine for him, since he is a government employee and gets very nice insurance coverage from the government. However, if he succeeds, I will be left still uninsured.If something unexpected happens to me, I will be forced to become a burden on the health system because I absolutely cannot afford the cost of paying for an emergency room visit out of pocket. Since he wants to deny poor folks affordable insurance, I say we send him our medical bills over the next year. Let him actually help us out for a change.ALEXIS CLOSEJohnson CitySea level riseGlobal warming’s worst nightmare will supposedly be an acceleration in sea level rise since 75 percent of the global population will live near the coasts by the year 2100. But, is this acceleration real?Sea level rose 6.7 inches during the last century, as measured by a worldwide system of tidal gauges. In the past few years, however, satellites have reported about twice this historic rate. Tidal gauges aren’t seeing it, but this accelerated satellite rate is what’s getting reported in the media. However, satellite measurement of sea level is plagued by numerous problems, such as a significant terrestrial reference frame problem acknowledged by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (see Anthony Watts’ “Finally: JPL intends to get a grasp on accurate sea level and ice measurements”). JPL acknowledged that the error affects calculations for both global sea level and ice.Things got even worse several years ago when satellites began receiving a correction for glacial isostatic adjustment. Briefly, a glacial adjustment is performed because the land has been rebounding since continental glaciers disappeared from the last ice age, so a correction is made to artificially bring the land back to the water. The idea is that sea level rise would actually have been worse without this land rise. One can look at NOAA’s long term tidal gauge data at www.sealevel.info, then click on Data. Detailed information for individual tidal gauge stations can be found at www.psmsl.org/data/obtaining, then click on an individual station ID. The acceleration being seen by satellites just isn’t seen there. The satellite errors and associated GIA corrections make overall sea levels appear worse than they really are at the beaches. For some alarmists, that’s the whole idea. RON McCARLEYJohnson City

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