Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor, Feb. 3, 2019 | Not just students who are under stress

Creating stress in classrooms

Re “Modesto teachers asked to rethink quick decisions to suspend students of color” (Page 3A, Jan. 27): In Prof. Jason Okonofua’s explanation of why students of color are suspended, I hope his study takes into consideration the pressure teachers of core subjects are under. First, we have to teach the same curriculum to all students in the same class regardless of their reading or writing abilities. We have special-education students, non-readers and advanced college preparatory students.

The curriculum is mostly non-fiction, very difficult essays from professional writers. We have to create interest and make the subject relevant to each student in the class.

Then, we have to follow a pacing calendar, which forces us to complete a unit within nine weeks. Each unit has vocabulary studies, reading and writing skills, and at least 10 pieces of literature to be read closely. There is almost no time for remediation in a class of basic, average and advanced students.

Finally, we have to use the district teaching method to engage all students in the lesson. They are to sit next to each other, discuss questions posed by the teacher who then has to check students for understanding.

A one-size-fits all curriculum and teaching method creates pressure and stress on teachers everyday – not to say anything about stress on our students.

Gordon Chan, Modesto

Do we choose, or do supervisors?

Residents of Denair, Empire, Hickman, Keyes, Knights Ferry and Valley Home might soon lose their right to vote on who represents them on their local town councils. Each council, known as Municipal Advisory Councils (MACs), is voting on a proposal by the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors whether they want to change from having representatives elected to the MACs or having all of them appointed.

MAC boards in Salida, South Modesto and Wood Colony have voted against this change. Denair, Knights Ferry and Valley Home voted for it, but were not provided differing opinions from those of the county at their meetings. They might not realize they will never again be able to vote on who represents them. They are encumbering future generations with not being able to choose either.

We already know what the future holds. Castro Valley is fighting for an elected MAC because theirs is filled with cronyism and campaign donors. If you live in the aforementioned communities, it’s not too late. Let your MAC councils know you wish to retain your right to vote on who represents you. The Board of Supervisors votes on this change on Feb. 12.

Katherine Borges, Salida

Is there a candidate for us moderates?

It looks like both parties are unhappy because Howard Schultz is thinking about running for president in 2020 as a centrist independent. I am a moderate and usually look for the most moderate candidate to vote for. I would have probably voted for John Kasich in the last election if he’d been on the ballot, though I’m registered as a Democrat. I feel like both parties have gone so far to the extreme that neither one has anything to offer a moderate like myself.

While I would welcome a moderate candidate in 2020, I worry with three viable candidates we could be electing someone with less than 50 percent of the vote. I wonder if that is a good idea.

Pat George, Turlock

Editor’s note: Neither Donald Trump (46.1 percent) or Hillary Clinton (48.2) won 50 percent of the popular vote in the 2016 election.

We’ll stop the hate, starting with ...

Re “Stop the craziness, stop the hate” (Page 3B, Jan. 27): I couldn’t agree more with columnist Jay Ambrose. But did he really go far enough? Our fearless leader, who, as president, sets the example for our children as well as all Americans, preaches hate almost daily. Hate for minorities. Hate for Gold Star mothers. Hate for the press. Hate for just about everyone who disagrees for him.

I still agree with you about stopping the hate, but it sounds like you are just a mite biased, putting all the blame on Democrats and the left. Your opinions would be much more credible if they weren’t typical Republican propaganda, placing all the blame on anyone but themselves and their fearless leader, who sets the example with his countless lies and preaching hate daily.

Bob Schmitz, Oakdale

Official departures not all fans’ fault

Re “There’s a shortage of high school referees and many feel parents are to blame” (Page 1C, Jan. 27): I have officiated local high school baseball, softball and basketball for 35 years, and football for 25. I love officiating, and I try to do my best every time I step on a court or field. I have also been a parent and now grandparent of athletes, and a coach. Parents and fans have every right to voice their dissatisfaction with calls. It’s part of the passion we want in sports. All good officials can handle being told we are blind, deaf and general idiots. We understand the heat of the moment. That said, profanity and threats are always wrong.

But sports officials leave for many reasons. Some don’t like the evening meetings required to keep our skills and knowledge current. Some don’t like the toll it takes on a family to be gone evenings. Some don’t like not being able to take their phones on the field! Some have internal issues with personnel or how and where they are assigned. The article is just a bit simplistic. Parents and fans are an easy target.

Carlos Maldonado, Sonora

Harder vows to represent everyone

My wife and I attended a town hall meeting with Rep. Josh Harder. We were highly impressed with his enthusiasm and inclusiveness. It was a largely supportive group, but people who didn’t vote for him also came with their concerns. Josh quieted the audience after a contentious question about the current administration, explaining he’s here to represent all his constituents – Democrat or Republican, whether they voted for him or like him or not. He stated his office hours and how he could be otherwise contacted and he was genuinely concerned about everyone in District 10.

He said that after initially arriving in Washington, one of his first tasks was to seek out 10 newly elected Democrat and 10 new Republicans in congress to get together informally and get to know each other with the intent that it would become a regular event.

He finished with praise for Jeff Denham and all the good work he has done on water issues for the Valley.

This is the kind of all-encompassing representative we need in Washington. Good luck, Josh. We’re behind you.

Peter Firth, Modesto