Experienced teachers part of child-raising village
Recent columns by Merlene Davis about the village raising the child really hit home. She and professor Herman E. Walston make valid points about the importance of experienced adults in our community contributing to the rearing of our youth.
Teachers with experience and dedication are a critical part of that support system as well.
So, why would a school system rid itself of teachers with experience and dedication? Why would a school system let go of teachers who have had great evaluations, been winning coaches, want to serve on committees and are willing to speak up with ideas for improvement?
Why would a school system refuse to give reasons for denying our students community teachers who are a vital part of "the village" that is rearing these children?
All of these things are happening right now in our community.
Is it poor teaching? If so, why were classroom evaluations positive all along? Is it budget-related? Perhaps, but that doesn't fully explain why experienced teachers who are tenured or approaching tenure are being replaced by teachers with little or no experience.
Retaining experienced staff and teachers can provide stability and a nurturing environment so desperately needed for both students and new teachers. If you know staff turnover is more than a handful at your school, it's time to ask school administrators for thoughtful answers to these hard questions.
Raise the dropout age
High school dropouts face a combination of disadvantages, such as lower employment rates, increased poverty rates, and more family instability.
On Jan 7, House Bill 225 was introduced, seeking to raise the compulsory education age to 18, thus demonstrating Kentucky's commitment to addressing our outrageously high dropout rates.
Instead of approving this bill, the Senate chose to let it die, indicating a lack of concern for this issue that negatively affects the entire population of the commonwealth.
The current law provides for a dropout age of 16, too young for a child to vote, get married or make similarly important life decisions. Why then do we allow children of this age to make the decision to leave high school?
Many high school dropouts do not pursue their GED and will be constricted to working in menial jobs, which increases the likelihood of seeking public assistance.
By increasing the compulsory attendance age to 18, Kentucky could go far to increase the overall personal and financial success of students by supporting at-risk youth who make up the majority of those signing out of school.
Why is it that lawmakers in Kentucky refuse to value the education of our young people?
All Kentuckians need to advocate for HB 225 to be reintroduced and passed. Call and email your state legislators to insist that they support this bill. The future of Kentucky depends on it.
Feudal acts foretold
As I read the June 4 commentary by Charles S. Merrill, "America returning to feudal times," it reinforced a number of my own opinions. I also was amazed at the memories of my 1957-58 junior year at Somerset High School.
In my mind's eye, I can still vividly see Woodrow Allen standing before my American history class saying, "You students will not live long enough to see our country return to the feudal state of the Middle Ages, but your closely following descendents will be forced to live in such a state, for that is the direction which our country will eventually take."
At the time, I questioned how this could ever happen. Now even though I remain amazed at Allen's ability to make this prediction more than 53 years ago, I have the answer to my question.
Wanda Stallard Frye
Give me a sign
After a spirited performance of Cat Scratch Fever by Ted Nugent and host Mike Huckabee, playing bass, Huckabee said he wouldn't be running for president.
Unfortunately, tease Donald Trump followed suit.
After recovering from the double dose of bad news I received a robocall from former Gov. Martha Layne Collins asking me to vote for Alison Lundergan Grimes in the primary.
Now I felt confident for whom to vote for secretary of state. Another robocall, from commonwealth commander Steve Beshear, asked me to vote for Elaine Walker.
With my voting decision rocked I was unable to worry if Kirstie Alley would be voted off Dancing with the Stars. Neither did I have time for the final broadcats of Mary Hart, Oprah and Katie Couric.
Who would call next? Would Brereton Jones do as before and say, "We would be foolish indeed not to take up ______ on their generous offer to serve?"
Would Paul Patton say, "My fellow Eastern Kentuckians, I've known _____ for 30 years and she has Eastern Kentucky values?"
Surely I couldn't make an intelligent choice before hearing from other past governors.
While sorting through Eddie Rabbitt 8-tracks I found a 1986 Kentucky map with expired coupons and a photo of Collins welcoming tourists. Was this my sign to vote for Lundergan-Grimes?
After getting to sleep, I fell into a dream and was at Dr./Gov. Ernie Fletcher's office getting a physical. He said, "To maximize Kentucky's unbridled spirit, vote for _____."
Finally, the choice was clear.
I thank the voters of Kentucky for taking their valuable time to vote in the May primary for the Republican nomination for secretary of state. I am grateful for each of the 65,336 voters who expressed their confidence in my ability to serve the commonwealth.
Voting is both a right and responsibility. It amazes me how we Americans take it for granted or simply believe it does not matter.
In 1993, I had the honor of sitting with Prime Minister Mart Laar of Estonia on his country's one-year anniversary of independence from the Soviet Union. That conversation left an indelible mark in my heart and mind. I witnessed the pure joy Estonians felt to have the opportunity to reclaim their country, flag, honor and freedom.
It saddens me to realize that we, in this country, seem to have lost that joy, subsequently relinquishing our responsibility to elect our leaders.
While I would have preferred the outcome of the primary to be different, it is more troubling that only 10.3 percent of my fellow Republicans across Kentucky chose to vote. A mere 555 votes would have changed the outcome of my election, evidence that your vote does count.
I call upon both candidates for secretary of state to be aggressive and proactive in accepting the leadership role of that office and promoting civic education and voter participation.
I ask all Kentuckians to commit themselves to being active and informed voters who value that right and accept that responsibility.
Hilda Humphress Legg