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The Digital Debate

I just wanted to share my enthusiasm for your article on digital literacy (“Turning the Page” October/November). I find myself frequently facing an uphill struggle as one of only a few proponents of technology in my district. I firmly believe that engaging the digital native is critical to developing the skills needed for future success. My fourth-grade students all have their own wikis. They post and manage their own content, share resources on collaborative projects, and post weekly book reviews. Thanks for reminding me that I’m heading in the right direction!

Dave Mendell, Wallingford, PA

Technology is a subject matter all unto itself that should be respected, and we all should be challenged to develop those skills, particularly when the situation demands it. Looking at the total picture, however, balance is the key so that we can have the best of both traditional and tech methods. I have seen a few teachers integrate both strategies very well, so it can be done. I’ve also seen others use technology as a bit of show business. I hope it never replaces a great teacher who teaches with passion, connects the dots, tells funny stories, and prods kids into a great conversation.

Pat Collazo, La Grange Park, IL

Governor Henry Deserves Better

I was completely surprised to see that you gave Governor Brad Henry (“State Report”) an "F.” Teachers of Oklahoma have received more under the watchful term of Gov. Henry.

Recently, teachers came together to voice opposition to Senate Bill 834, which would have deregulated state mandates, placing control in local boards of education, thus possibly limiting negotiation on contracts and due process rights. Gov. Henry vetoed this bill. If anything was going to hurt teachers and the strength of the Oklahoma Education Association, as well as local Associations, that bill would have been the force.

Please reconsider your grade until you have graded all of Gov. Henry’s homework.

Becky Irwin, Muskogee, OK

A Hidden Agenda

I was so disappointed to see NEA promoting churches as a resource for public schools (“Intersection of Church and State,” October/November). The separation of church and state is fundamental to our democracy. If we, as an organization, promote the idea of using religion as a resource, where do you draw the line? Is it really the stance of NEA that there is no agenda behind the help that churches are providing? We need to be creative and seek other types of help if we are so desperate for support.

Erin Cianciolo, Salem, NH

Is Health Care a Basic Right?

I read “The Right Thing To Do” by Dennis Van Roekel (“President’s Viewpoint” October/November) and agreed with everything until he asked if health care should be a basic right.

I do not feel it should be a basic right. It is something we earn in place of money in our workplace or something we pay for to provide our families. If we take this responsibility away from families, what will we take away from them next?

I do, however, believe government health care agencies could come up with a way to help families and individuals who need health care support because of financial difficulties.

Diane Shovan, Cottrellville, MI

Put Your Money Where Your Values Are

“Retail Offenders” (October/November 2009) demonstrates important ways that we can support people who work. I would add that using a local credit union adds good value to your local community while offering superior services.

Also, while supporting labor and economic justice, my socially responsible mutual fund has actually outperformed my other similar funds in the current crisis by a substantial margin.

Robert W. Clore, Columbia City, OR

 

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3-Jan-10

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