Morning, folks. Here’s our weekly wrap of the opinions shaping this weekend’s breakfast conversations around the North Country.
The Glens Falls Post-Star is arguing that it should be easier to fire incompetent teachers. They cite a recent case in Queensbury, where dismissing a Spanish teacher required a lengthy process that cost $340,000.
It shouldn’t be very easy to remove a teacher. School boards and administrators have been known to capriciously target unpopular or unconventional instructors….
But given that the sole focus of our educational system should be to provide a safe and healthy learning environment for our children in which to learn, it shouldn’t be so difficult to remove incompetent or inappropriate teachers either.
The process needs to be fair to the employee. But it shouldn’t make so many allowances toward the employee as to be unfair to his employers, the children, or the citizens footing the bill.
The Plattsburgh Press-Republican looks at the history of the debate over a “rooftop highway” running between Plattsburgh and Watertown, and concludes that this may be an idea whose time has come and gone.
While the Rooftop Highway is a great idea in theory, it is unlikely to secure the needed federal funding in these days of budget constraints.
The effort was started back in different times with different priorities and different resources. There have been 50 years of lethargy on the proposal for a reason.
The Watertown Daily Times is weighing the value of an informed electorate, pointing to a recent poll that showed a lot of Americans woefully ignorant about the basic tenets of their own government.
Three out of 10 did not know the president headed the executive branch, while even more — 40 percent — did not know that the legislative branch makes law. Just 55 percent knew it was the role of the Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of laws.
Only 42 percent of respondents answered all three questions correctly.
(We know In Box readers would ace this quiz…)
The Albany Times-Union points out that a property tax cap at 2% would have triggered far deeper cuts of salaries and programs in many Upstate school districts, describing the approach as “a deceptively simple solution.”
We’ve supported a tax cap, just as we supported the need for the state to rein in its own spending. We understood any meaningful reduction had to include school aid.
We’ve also maintained that a cap must come with intelligent reforms. Like relief from mandates handed down by the same Legislature that lambastes schools for spending too much. Like a look at relying more on income taxes than property taxes.
Don’t be fooled, New York, by sound bites that promise to solve all your cares in 30 seconds or less. For those of us for whom school has long been out, there is still a ton of homework to do.
And finally this morning, the Burlington Free Press weighs in against a measure in Vermont that would allow physician-assisted suicide.
Proponents of the bill call it patient choice or death with dignity. Opponents call the act physician- assisted suicide or doctor-prescribed death.
In this debate, all labels are loaded with meaning. The disagreements about what to call the act reflects the great unease many people on both sides feel about allowing even terminally ill patients to end their own lives at a time of their choosing with a doctor’s help.
Choice and dignity are powerful words, as is suicide.
Is Vermont ready for an act when people are uncomfortable calling it for what it is?
The bill as written is a charade. We need to call the act for what it is.
The Adirondack Daily Enterprise’s opinion page wouldn’t load this morning, so I haven’t included them in the morning round-up. I’ll check back later to see what they’re thinking about.
So have at it — any thoughts to share? Any other opinion pages you think others should know about? Comment below.