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RG Letters to the Editor Fall 2016

RG Letters in the editor's mailbag

DeVos poor choice for education,

Dec 5, 2016

DeVos has strongly advocated for reducing government spending for public schools. She favors spending state and federal funds on vouchers for private charter schools. This helps private businesses make tons of money at the expense of our nation’s youth. She has no real experience in education, but her family has personally invested more than $1.5 million toward privatization.

The public is grossly misinformed about the voucher system. DeVos claims that vouchers make private education more accessible to impoverished families. In reality, vouchers never cover the entirety of tuition, so families are left to find other means to split the difference. Paying for school out-of-pocket is frankly not an option for many working families, with or without vouchers.

Despite crushing evidence of charter school failure in her home state of Michigan, DeVos has worked to stifle lawmakers’ efforts to implement checks and balances for failing schools. Her inability to recognize the value in public schools — which serve more than 90 percent of the nation’s youth — makes her unfit for office. No wonder teachers unions oppose her nomination.

The Department of Education’s purpose is to ensure equal access to quality education. DeVos plans to guarantee the opposite, but the Senate has the power to veto her appointment as secretary of education. We do not need another billionaire-turned-politician in office. Please contact your senators to express concern with this poor choice.

Sarah Wyckoff, UOTeach Cohort 8

RG Letters in the editor's mailbag

Challenge students to speak up,

 Dec 2, 2016

As a graduate student at the University of Oregon, I was asked a question in one of my education classes. “Would you wear a Black Lives Matter shirt as a teacher to school? Why or why not?” This question left me with a blank look on my face. I’ve never been asked a question like this, and was afraid to admit I didn’t know enough about the Black Lives Matter movement to yell out yes or no. Then I began to think of the students in our schools, elementary through high school. Are we teaching them these difficult topics? Are we teaching them how to have authentic conversations in a safe space? In my class, it was proved that I was not alone in this feeling of blank-ness. Many of us had not been asked questions such as this to provoke feelings or make educated choices as to why we may or may not agree with this.

Our students are asked questions such as this on social media, so why can’t we have these conversations first in our classrooms with teachers who open these discussions and facilitate them in a protected space rather than the unprotected space of social media? We must be bold and teach our students skills to participate in these dialogues to set them up to go out of the classroom and feel educated on what’s happening in the society around them.

Taylor McCord, Cohort 8