Letters to the editor April 28

Gun snobbery
Dear Editor,
The Brandon Area Gun Snobs, an organization committed to unfettered gun ownership and use, is issuing certificates to members and non-members to speak on firearm control.
“Only people with certified knowledge of the ratio of black powder components can talk about the safety of school children and their community,” stated Dorinda Hackenback, spokesperson for BAGS and longtime Brandon Township resident. “We have established a written and an oral exam that focuses on arcane facts about firearms and their use. We want only likeminded persons to speak on firearm safety. The rest better be silent. We patterned our approach on the 1960’s debate on car safety.”
Readers will remember those Golden Days when only people knowledgeable of camshaft actuators could express their fear of injury and death in a car collision.
“Yes, those were the days,” MS. Hackensack sighed. “Arguments that you are just as dead if you died in a crash in a straight eight or in a straight six were blown away by focusing on brake caliper settings. Today, in this gun debate, we hope to shut up people by using gun esoterica. People who fear the gun related deaths of children can be silenced by arguments that they cannot be afraid, cannot express those fears, cannot call for firearm safety unless they can speak knowledgably about shotgun gauges. This can work for a while as a distraction from the goal we should all be sharing: that we make our world safer.”
Bonnie Beltramo
(In response to, “Lawmaker takes aim at attracting teachers,” The Citizen, April 14, page 1)
No solution to teacher shortage
Dear Editor,
I am writing in response to the article in the April 14th edition of The Citizen about legislation being introduced to give industry professionals a path directly into the classroom, teaching career and technical education (CTE) classes, prior to receiving any teacher training. This will result in teachers with no experience teaching our children and will never solve our teacher shortage problem.
I left engineering to teach. I completed a post baccalaureate teaching program where I had hundreds of hours in the classroom, supervised by master teachers, where I learned to plan lessons, manage classrooms, and assess learning. I felt well prepared to enter education. I worked very hard for six years earning my CTE certification in engineering, but my salary peaked in year two due to pay cuts and wage freezes, and when I left, I was making less than when I started. Ultimately, I couldn’t afford to stay in education.
This proposed legislation would provide a way into education for industry professionals to teach CTE classes with no initial training required. Consequently, the quality of this instruction, at least early on, would be suspect. With few exceptions, it will not attract private sector professionals because in this climate, they will not come near to being adequately compensated for all they bring into the classroom. Instead, let’s appropriately fund and manage education so anyone, young person and professional alike, can enter this noble, important field to provide a rich educational experience to our youth.
Patti Dzbanski
(In response, “Arming teachers bad idea,” a letter by Thomas Flickinger, The Citizen, April 21, page 6)
Defensive force only
Dear Editor,
Thomas, I read your post and found it to be well written, well thought out and with the “just right” amount of honest emotion. Very nicely done sir. Your post contained several statements/questions which begged for more information so perhaps I can help you out with that. You disagreed with me on the arming teachers idea on several fronts so I’ll go into a bit more depth for you.
I don’t think arming every teacher is a good idea. I don’t think using them as an “Offensive Force” is a good idea either. I agreed with you that not every teacher has or could be “specially trained” for an active shooter scenario. A teacher’s participation must be voluntary, they would need to pass some additional testing and firearms training for proficiency and complete a “hands on “mock” training scenario at least twice per year. How many of your teachers are ex-military, ex-police. They would make excellent candidates. However, they could be a defensive force DEFENSIVE (only). They would be trained to basically lock down the classroom and protect the students under their immediate control and would not exit the room until the police knock at the door. If a shooter tries to gain entry then they would be called upon to act to protect their students. Their identities would remain secret known only to school administrators and the police. To answer your clothing question there are numerous different types of equipment that address that very issue and concealment isn’t that big a hurdle to cross.

To answer your thoughts about outlawing AR-15 type weapons/bump stocks would require more room than I’m allowed so instead let me refer you to a website. Google Brady Bill and it will lead you to all the sites regarding gun laws, past and present, as well as studies on their effectiveness/history etc. I hope this helps you and keep asking questions until you’re satisfied and don’t become discouraged!Once again, GREAT JOB,
Paul S. Lucas
(In response to “Best be silent,” a letter by Paul Lucas, The Citizen, April 21, page 7)
Older and wiser
Dear Editor,
Poor straight shooter, Mr. Lucas shot himself in the foor. I need a clue to know if what he writes is what he means. Apparently he has a problem with the English language. Perhaps summer school at Brandon High School could help. The excellent letter of student Thomas Flickinger speaks volumes of the high caliber of great teachers, underpaid, at Brandon. There is nothing ridiculous about road rage and the shootings on our highways.
Re: Mr. Bills. How sad you don’t know a compliment from a mock. Of course there is no such thing as a 13 guage shotgun. Obvious you never set type. My knowledge is beyond your lack of experience. Keep your powder dry and your gun on safety. Older and wiser,
Dale Bond
(In response to “Lawmaker takes aim at attracting teachers,” by Shelby Stewart, The Citizen, April 14, page 1)
Dear Editor,
In your April 14 edition of the Citizen, you reported about Michigan House Bill 5747 (HB 5748), authored by Michigan state rep., republican, John Reilly. While reading, I could only think “how rich is this?” The essence of this (these) bills(s) is to allow public school districts to use non-certified teachers when certified teachers were unavailable. The purpose of the bull would be to ease the teacher shortage crisis here in Michigan. What I find laughable is the reason(s) for the shortage in the first place.
In the spring of 2010, eight years ago, our republican legislature, with the help of our delusional governor, decided that cheaper education would be better education. They decided that it was in the best interests of our state- and students, evidently- to encourage all eligible public school teachers to retire. At the time, there were approcimately ten thousand (10,000) teachers so eligible. Armed with a bill that both threatened the teachers and offered incentives, approximately seven thousand (7,000) teachers, over the 2 year period demanded by the legislation, were coerced by our state legislature to leave the profession they loved. And what is the approximate shortage of teachers now? Seven thousand. Coincidence??? Only to the naive. Did our representatives really believe that there would be thousands of candidates waiting in the wings for the opportunity to work for an unappreciative public?
In the eight years since, Michigan teachers have been forced to accept drastic cuts in salaries, cuts in benefits, loss of tenure (the most misunderstood legislation ever), loss of funding, and loss of support from parents, administrators, school boards and communities. They are inundated with state testing – and the corresponding district “practice” testing- and are now held responsible for society’s ills. Some communities even want to add to their responsibilities by arming them.
Is it any wonder that there is a teacher shortage? I mean, who would want to slave for a state that disrespects them to such a degree? But teachers do it for love, right? So it’s ok to treat them this way, right?
In the 1960’s republicans across the nation attempted to pass voucher legislation in their states. It was vigorously opposed and the leader of the opposition was the National Education Association. The NEA was highly active and aggressive- and effective- in opposing tax dollars being shifted from the public schools to private -mostly parochial – schools and the movement stalled. Republicans realized that the best way to fight the NEA, would be to attack public school teachers directly; to demonize them. Thus the republican war on public education was born. This, of course, led to the horribly failing for profit charter schools which rob public schools of necessary funds; the inundation of testing and holding teachers alone, responsible for failing schools – slashing funds accordingly (while ignoring the affect of inept and indifferent administratiors and school boards); diminished parental and administrative support, and continued anti-teacher legislation. Add to all that, the growing impotence in the NEA and MEA, you have a potentially toxic teaching environment. The result: a teacher shortage. Seriously, who in their right mind would WANT to be a teacher in this environment?
And Mr. Reilly’s answer – the republican answer? HB 5747 – to reduce the quality of our schools even further by allowing them to hire non-certified staff to fix the crisis THEY created. The answer to this crisis is NOT to continue to degrade our public school further, but to rid our legislatures of the people – and the party – that brought us the problem in the first place.
Roy Johnson

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