Letters to the Editor
Trapped in traffic
In a Dec. 7 letter, Robin Welch asserts that those who approve of the I-526 project do not live on the sea islands.
I live on James Island, but I don’t work there. I have a long commute every day.
Many of my neighbors commute as well, as I can see from congestion on Harborview Road, Folly Road, the James Island Connector, the Crosstown, Savannah Highway, Maybank Highway, and St. Andrews Boulevard.
Recently, it took 53 minutes for me to drive from South Windermere Shopping Center on Folly Road to my home on James Island. A disabled truck at the intersection of Folly Road and Maybank Highway brought Folly traffic to a virtual standstill.
Once past that, the usual confusion of Harborview resulted in a scary road rage incident during which one man tried to run another off the road into the marsh.
Fortunately, the drivers exchanged insults rather than shots. All of this traffic horror happened in the dark during rush hour.
While I sat in traffic on the Wappoo Bridge, it occurred to me that when (not if) we have another emergency, all of us on the islands will be trapped there because we would not be able to evacuate.
As it is, we can’t even get home on an average night.
Old Plantation Road
Could it be that Warren Buffett supports increasing taxes on the rich because he employs a group of tax lawyers to find and use loopholes to avoid paying taxes?
What is a loophole?
An ambiguity or inadequacy in the law or a set of rules.
Why are Democrats opposed to eliminating loopholes?
They have exploited them.
Can we have a compromise here? Raise taxes and eliminate loopholes?
I know: That’s too much to ask.
A new teacher evaluation system is being tested at some schools. This system is very concerning to me as an early childhood teacher because 30 percent of my evaluation would be based on test scores of students who are not in my classroom.
I could be a perfect teacher, but if I teach at a poorly performing school I could receive a 70 percent on my evaluation — a D letter grade.
It seems unfair, so two weeks ago I went to a State Department of Education meeting to ask about it. Unfortunately, no one was allowed to ask a question, only to write down questions to be read by someone else.
Only 10 minutes were allowed for questions, so many questions, including mine, were not answered. I was told all questions would be posted and answered on the Department of Education website. This has not occurred.
After the meeting I asked the presenter my question. She gave all the body language of someone who did not want to speak with me.
After a brief conversation she admitted that the Department of Education did not have time to address student testing in the field of early childhood education and did not have the resources to create assessments to measure growth for every subject and grade level.
She suggested that I get together with other teachers and create a proposal for how to measure growth in my field.
How can you ask a teacher to solve a problem that the State Department of Education does not have the time or resources to solve?
I saw Superintendent Mick Zais in the parking lot and asked him my question. He did not have an answer either. He had an assistant take my email address. I have not heard from him.
The Department of Education should be able to do better than this. To evaluate teachers based on the test scores of students they haven’t taught is absolutely absurd.
Either the department is incapable of creating a fair evaluation tool, or doesn’t care enough to put forth the effort to make a fair evaluation tool. Either way, the students, teachers and the communities of South Carolina lose.
Superintendent Zais and the Department of Education need to swallow their pride, admit their plan has too many errors and go back to the drawing board.
And this time they need to include teachers in the process.
Angel Oak Elementary School
As of Dec. 9, it was reported that Hurricane Sandy caused about $65.5 billion in damage in the northeastern United States. Support from Americans nationwide flooded the area with billions of dollars of relief.
Countless charities and churches poured support into the area. Additionally, insurance companies are reimbursing customers with billions and billions of dollars to cover the costs of repairs.
And yet Connecticut, New York and New Jersey have asked the federal government for 82 billion taxpayer dollars to help their “recovery.”
Let’s check the math: $65.5 billion in damages minus billions of dollars in charitable support minus billions of dollars in insurance reimbursement equals $82 billion.
President Obama is going to ask for only $50 billion to send them. That must be all the excess money he has sitting around in the Treasury gathering dust.
The only problem with American government is the politicians.
Terry L. Watkins
My sister Faye Bernstein Schupbach is a Jewish person who shows the true meaning of the Christmas season.
For several years, Faye has graciously purchased the supplies out of her own pocket to write and mail letters to children of her family and friends.
She addresses them by name and mentions anything special that the child would like or that the parents would like for the child to do, such as clean their room, do homework or even learn to use the potty.
The letters are signed by either Santa Claus or Hannukah Harry, and the children are so excited when they receive their letters. Photos on Faye’s Facebook page show children full of joy and wonder.
This year alone, almost 200 letters were mailed to children across the country.
Many of these Faye has never met, but their days are brightened to open a letter addressed just to them.
It is easy to know Faye’s motive — to show the spirit of giving and share the feeling of happiness.
I am lucky to have Faye as my sister and now have a new nickname for her — “Santa Fe.”
Marcia B. Shealey
Forest Lakes Boulevard
During this season of numerous holiday concerts, let us not forget to recognize the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and its members’ talent and achievements during difficult economic times.
Several months ago The Post and Courier reviewed a concert for local public school students at Charleston Southern University.
The parking lot by Lightsey Chapel was packed with school buses. A photo showed the conductor full of energy. The program for young people sounded so appealing I wish I had been there.
As you write your end-of-year checks, do not forget the CSO and its involvement with the musical education of our young people.
Music is the international language of hope and peace. It is a life-long pleasure worth our support for student endeavors.
MARTHA F. BARKLEY
Waste is ugly, too
In the Dec. 10 Post and Courier I read where consideration is being made to replace the FBI building in Washington, D.C.
This 2.4 million-square- foot-building is only 38 years old and is said to be too ugly along with other minor deficiencies.
If we decided to rid ourselves of every ugly thing, I might not be here much longer. But joking aside, the sensible question is: What does ugly have to do with functionality?
The building originally cost $136 million to erect in 1974 and would probably cost three times as much to replace today. Although this one building may not sink us into the abyss, it would be very helpful in kicking ourselves toward the fiscal edge.
It’s this kind of thinking and planning that put us in this current mess to begin with. It’s time to stop such craziness.