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UOTeach student teacher Michelle Andrade and second grader Journey Young try to identify pond life captured during an outdoor class in Alton Baker Park in Eugene, Ore. Tuesday, October 3, 2017. Using dip nets, McCornack Elementary School students temporarily captured small fish and invertebrates to learn about their habitat as part of the Classroom Naturalists program hosted by Nearby Nature. (Brian Davies/The Register-Guard)

Letters in the editor's mailbag

Devos not suitable for ed post

Dec 9, 2016

After having donated $9.5 million to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, President elect Trump selected Betsy DeVos as the secretary of education. This decision has been widely viewed as controversial, as DeVos is a proponent of the charter school movement. With Trump’s decision to select DeVos, it’s apparent that his education policy will focus on the privatization of public education.

DeVos is not a suitable candidate for this position, and much more consideration should be taken into who is offered such a significant role within our government and society. DeVos would not be actively supporting public schools, and would commit to advocating for only charter schools or the privatization of education. We need a secretary of education who is an advocate of all teachers, principals, staff, students and families within different types of schools, such as private, charter and public schools. DeVos has also never worked in a public school, and therefore will struggle to empathize with public school students and teachers. In order to hold the position of secretary of education, an individual should have a teaching license, or have some experience working within the field of education.

Belicia Castellano, UOTeach Cohort 8

Letters in the editor's mailbag

Local journalism deserves support

Dec 5, 2016

As we take stock of the 2016 election it has become clear that fake news has become embedded in mainstream media.

With Jan. 20 right around the corner it will be exceedingly important that people have access to credible journalism. With the need to be able to tell fact from fiction, I see the growing importance of teaching students how to evaluate primary sources for authenticity and accuracy.

Educating our students to be critical thinkers and supporting local journalism are our best tools for fighting the fake news cycle.

Supporting local journalism means paying for high-quality news. The shocking headlines of fake news stories draw in views and advertisements, but these online tabloids exclude the stories and facts that actually matter. If we expect local papers to compete with the fake news cycle, we need to be willing to pay for high-quality journalism that gives us not just the stories we want, but need.

With the holidays upon us I know that a subscription to my local paper will be on my list and I encourage other readers to do the same. I believe that good journalism is worth paying for.

Megan Schucht, UOTeach Cohort 8

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, UOTeach Cohort 8

Letters in the editor's mailbag

Teach children to fight inequality

Nov. 18, 2016

In the wake of an election that has started many conversations across the country, there’s no better time than now to begin teaching our children about acceptance, tolerance and especially how to be an agent for change.

The media are filled with news stories about the election and individuals exercising their rights, but also hate-filled rhetoric. Children can hear, see and feel how individuals are treating one another, but they may not know how or possess the tools to take a stand.

As teachers, it should be our priority to teach our students how to change their conversations, classrooms and communities through positive actions that benefit more than just themselves.

These students aren’t blind to politics, and it’s inevitable that politics will find its way into classrooms. If we can teach our children about fighting inequalities and the power of working together to change their communities, maybe we can begin making a change to what’s happening nation-wide. Teaching students these skills will be longer-lasting than any president in the White House.

Bailey Davenport, UOTeach Cohort 8