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July 1, 2014     Cape Gazette
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July 1, 2014

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Cape Gazette VIEWPOINTS TUESDAY, JULY 1- THURSDAY, JULY 3, 2014 7 Letters )) Continued from page 6 column anything but what is wrong and who is at fault - Re- publicans/Conservatives. Think back; has this column ever men- tioned any of the following and who may be to blame - other than Bush? IRS scandal; VA scandal; Benghazi whitewashing; foreign policy - Ukraine, Iraq, Middle East; AP wiretaps; Fast & Furious; Trade five terrorists for a traitor but can not get one Marine out of a Mexican jail; Dumping illegal Immigrants around the country; and let's not forget the big one - Obamacare - keep your doctor - keep your plan. Mr. Flood talks about the poor job prospects because their elders wrecked the economy. I sure hope he put himself on that list. Let's see if he ever mentions the Clintons and how dead broke they were when leaving-the White House. They must have done something right - now millionaires - and they Can afford to hire lobbyists to protect their tax breaks. Now in one of his upcoming columns he might want to mention an area that the head liberal Democrats in Congress feel is so important that he will not attend another Redskins football game until they change the name. This is a sub- ject Mr. Flood can get his teeth into. It would be great if the Cape Gazette would find a good conservative reporter and have them included in the paper. Robert W. Kuehnl Lewes The federal insanity must stop now! Sen. Tom Carper is now calling for an increase in federal taxes on gasoline. Another elected official calling for more tax money from the people. Unfortunately there's nothing new about that. It's been going on for far too long. Why? Because most politicians refuse to even consider living within their means. They.refuse to balance the federal budget. They refuse to even' consider cutting the size of the federal government in order to cut spending. Like drunken sailors on a perpetual bender, they wantonly throw our tax dollars away in ever more insane and frivolous ways. Need proof?. Google: "federal tax dollars wasted." Do you need even more proof that they are completely profligate? Consider how they capriciously give away our tax dollars to nations that hate us, in the form of foreign aid.Their mantra is always "more money, more money." So much so that over- burdening the people they were elected to serve with ever-higher taxes is not enough. They must have even more dollars to spend. Their solution? They borrow billions of dollars in order to finance their ongoing orgy of spending. Never mind that they are mortgaging away our children's and our grandchil- dren's futures. Never mind that they are making us debtors to our enemies, the communist Chinese. Politicians of this ilk refuse to DELAWARE CAPE REGION HISTORY IN PHOTOGRAPHS )) THE BANDSTAND AND GREEN IN REHOBOTH BEACH IN 1934 REHOS0TH AVENUE SNOWING BAND STAND AND GREEN. RENOBOTH BE)I.CH, DEL. y DELAWARE PUBLIC ARCHIVES/DELAWARE HERITAGE COLLECTION THIS PICTURE POSTCARD from the collection in the Corbit-Calloway Memorial Library in Odessa shows the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand and Green as it appeared in 1934. This weekend, when so many people will be in town to celebrate the July Fourth weekend, they will notice that things at the.end of Rehoboth Avenue have changed considerably over the past 80 years. see what they are doing. (There are none so blind as those who WILL not see.) They are so deep in denial, they consider anyone with a common sense approach to budget and spending to be "out of touch," or "naive." I believe that it's long past time that we the people say no more. The insanity must stop. No more money from us. No more tax dollars, period. Furthermore, we must demand that our elected leaders cut federal spending, balance the federal budget, and pay down the national debt. And if they won't do it, we must elect people who will. Nothing, other than this will save our nation. Lawrence McSwain Rehoboth Beach Coalition has a vision, but we'll have to see nuts and 00lts he good news: Dela- ware's educational system has come a long way. The bad news: It still has a long way to go. The good news: A group of educational and business leaders have formed Vision Coalition of Delaware, which will be presenting a plan early next year to improve the state's educational system. The bad news: They still have a long way to go. That last part is my impres- sion after attending a "commu- nity conversation" last Wednes- day at Sussex County Council chambers in Georgetown. About 20 people attended, including several retired educa- tors; Rep. Ruth Briggs King, R-Georgetown; her opponent, Democrat Paulette Rappa; Sus- sex County Council members Joan Deaver and Vance Phillips; and Charlotte King, president of the League of Women Voters of Delaware. Coalition member Kurt Landgraf, a former president of the Educational Testing Service and, before that, a president of DuPont, outlined where we have made progress and where we fall short. On the plus side: Delaware ranks among top states in rate of improvement of student achievement scores. More Delaware students are going to college. Delaware's dropout rate is at a 30-year low. But the weaknesses are strik- ing: Only about a third of eighth- grade Delaware students are proficient in reading and math. The ethnic achievement gap is huge. In fourth-grade math, 57 percent of white students are rated proficient, compared to 27 percent of Hispanic students and 21 percent of black students. While many students move on to college, only 55 percent fmish within six years. Given the high cost of college educa- tion, this reflects an enormous waste of money. To help resolve these prob- lems, the Vision Coalition, Landgraf said, plans to present "three or four things" to the state Legislature by January 2015. That, of course, is a wor- thy goal. But, after attending Wednesday's meeting and reading the coalition's draft document, I was impressed with the complexity of the problems we face. Let's start in the classroom. Not surprisingly, everybody acknowledges the need for ef- fective teachers. Larry Koch, a former assistant superintendent in Maine who attended Wednesday's meeting, said studies show that "a quality teacher can make a 15 percent difference" in student achieve- ment. But how do you fend them? Attract them to the profession? Keep them? Landgraf, who has lived abroad, talked about countries where teachers are venerated. "There are countries where being a teacher is a much more prestigious job than being a physician," he said, mentioning Finland and Singapore. "The very best, the very brightest become teachers." But let's face it, how is that possible in this country? This is America. For a job to be prestigious it has to pay a lot of money. This year Delaware legisla- tors - reflecting their constitu- ents' wishes - refused to vote for higher gas taxes to pay for needed roadprojects. I can't imagine them voting big raises for teachers. As Landgraf noted in his opening remarks, Delaware is facing tight budgets. And could be for years to come. Delaware's slot machine parlors, a former cash cow, now come to the state for help. With resources limited, Land- graf said, "You have to do better with the money you've got." But I didn't get any idea about how that would work. Then there's the flip side of finding good teachers: Getting rid of the bad ones. Admittedly, I attended Cape Henlopen back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, but I suspect the situation remains the same. Some teach- ers are terrific; some are OK; some are burned out. Koch spoke of his experience as assistant superintendent trying to remove bad teachers. Because of tenure, he said, "it's a massive, massive job." He asked Landgraf how many Delaware teachers have been fired for being ineffective. Landgraf said he didn't have the exact figures, but agreed the number was minuscule. Landgraf acknowledged the problem of removing ineffective teachers, saying, "I agree with you 100,000 percent." But again, this would likely come back to money too. Teachers giving up tenure would expect something in retum. That's a very brief look at one aspect of one problem. There are many more. Equally difficult questions include how to get parents engaged and how to make school funding more equitable. I support the efforts of the Vision Coalition of Delaware. They have good people work- ing on the plan, including Susan Bunting, superintendent of Indian River School.District. They are volunteers who de- serve much credit for tackling intractable problems. On Wednesday, Landgraf said the coalition needs "buy-in" from the public for its efforts to succeed. The current draft doesn't provide me with enough information to do that. Hope- fully, we'll have a better idea by Oct. 29, when the coalition will announce its next draft to the public. For more information, search online for "ED25 by Mind- mixer." That will take you to the coalition's website, where comments are encouraged. Don Flood is a former newspaper editor living near Lewes. He can be reached at