Wednesday, April 17 2013: Charter Schools, elvers, and Boston Marathon

Posted April 16, 2013, at 11:20 a.m.

Charter incomplete mission

The argument favoring charter schools is weak. Jodie Mosher-Towle, in her opinion piece appearing in the BDN on April 8, said, “Charter schools differ from public schools in that they are given increased freedom from regulations to allow school leaders to develop innovative approaches to educating their students.”

What does this mean that they are freed from regulations? In actuality, it points out how legislators over regulate academic processes. Most agree No Child Left Behind, with its testing bureaucracy, is a mistake left over from the Bush administration. To fix this mistake we should give all administrators the freedom that charter school operators have.

The governor’s budget cuts public school funding while increasing charter school funding and demonstrates taxpayer money can’t support both charter schools and public schools.

Charter schools notoriously refuse students with special needs. Some teach religion that disputes evolution, while others educate students ignoring our nation’s founding bedrock policy separating church and state.

In Maine and America we have to educate all children, Protestant, Catholic, Muslim, Jew, gifted children and children with special needs.

Joshua Chamberlain once motivated soldiers to fight for our country by saying that “here we all have value.” It is up to us to ensure his charge remains true, that all children are valued and that they learn to value each other. Charter schools do not complete that mission.

Ken Allan

Machias

Clean-up payments

Oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens started the world’s largest wind farm in Texas. In October 2012 he dumped it – all 500 turbines – due to the declining price of natural gas. Energy giant BP is now looking to sell its entire U.S. wind operation. They do not see sustainable growth.

Wind companies almost never buy the land but rather lease it, enabling them to simply walk away and wash their hands if the project does not sustain a profit. They can simply abandon the turbines, leaving the town stuck with 500-foot tall, rusting and leaking hulks.

Falmouth, Mass., has considered removing the town’s two wind turbines. What is most notable about this? The state would have no obligation to bail Falmouth out, and it would cost $14 million to remove them.

As stated in “Wind Turbines & ‘Green’ Subsidies Under Fire,” in “The New American,” “Despite billions in taxpayer subsidies pumped into the ‘green-energy’ industry, 15,000 windmills have been left to rot across America.”

The wind industry is artificially propped up with taxpayer subsidies; it is not a profitable business. First Wind tried to sell stock in its company. No one wanted it. If First Wind falls by the wayside and abandons Maine two, five, 10 years out, will the $300 a year it has paid Carroll Plantation residents for ruining their landscape be worth it?

They might want to save those payments for the clean-up.

Jack Gagnon

Lakeville

Doomed rationale

It is almost comical when the state of Maine challenges the Passamaquoddy Tribe over who can better mange the elver fishery. Our Legislature and Department of Marine Resources have presided over the monopolization and depletion of inshore groundfish, scallops and sea urchins in a matter of decades, whereas the Passamaquoddy Trive preserved open access to healthy resources for millennia.

I have reviewed the Passamaquoddy elver fishery management plan, and in my opinion it goes to greater lengths to conserve the resource for the benefit of more people. The state, on the other hand, wants to grant a handful of elver harvesters exclusive access to the resource. This is the same rationale that doomed every other collapsed fishery in this state.

Back in the 1600s, European immigrants to Maine embraced the Native American principle that resources belonged to all and resisted Sir Ferdinando Gorges’ claim to a monopoly on fisheries off our coast.

Instead of attacking the Passamaquoddy Tribe, maybe it’s time Mainers returned to Native American principles and managed our marine resources so that many people can harvest a little instead of a fortunate few harvesting it all.

Paul Molyneaux

Whiting

Name compassion

The gun debate is huge, divisive and multi-layered, but I would hope that people on both sides of the issue could come together to denounce the naming of a type of gun as a “suicide special” out of respect and compassion for those among us who have lost a loved one to suicide.

Sara Louise Hessler

Ellsworth

“Can Heartbreak Heal?”

Thirty years ago yesterday, I ran my first Boston Marathon. I was 25-years-old. It was love at first sweat. I cheered with my fellow marathoners as the word began to spread that another 25 year old—Joan Benoit (now Samuelson) was on pace for a record-shattering time.

Like every runner who ever finishes Boston, I remain hooked to this day. With my daughter, who has also run Boston, my granddaughter, my husband, his daughter-in-law and grandson, we cheered ourselves hoarse at Heartbreak Hill as my husband’s son ran his third Boston Marathon. We cheered for every single runner that went past us on their way to the finish.

On our way home from Boston, we heard on the radio that a gutless coward killed three innocent people and injured scores of others at the finish line. I understand an eight-year-old child is one of the dead. The race that I and millions of others love so well is now broken, its purity of spirit tainted.

What will the aftermath of the bombings means? To the runners? To the fans?

This I can say for sure: Next year on the third Monday in April, somewhere between Hopkinton and Boston, you will find me along the course. I’ll be cheering, clapping and shouting encouragement to the runners as they run past.

Next year, for the first time, there will be tears of sadness. That thought breaks my heart. But as I learned from running Boston, heartbreak is just part of the course.

Susan Pope

Bangor

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/04/16/opinion/wednesday-april-17-2013-charter-schools-elvers-and-boston-marathon/ printed on August 22, 2014