The Curry Coastal Pilot

Student tests don't show whole picture


John Daggett hits the nail on the head (Pilot letters, March 27) in calling attention to the fallacies in much of the testing/accountability confronting public K-12 schools.

While as a teacher (now retired) I used pencil and paper tests, even multiple choice, they seldom made up over half of my students' evaluations, and frequently much less, even not at all in some cases. (They are very time efficient to administer, and have some value.)

I do think the 3Rs are absolutely necessary to almost all of our intellectual development, and they have been shortchanged in recent decades. Particularly kids struggling with schooling need basic skills, but to herd them through in rote fashion raises the problems Dr. Daggett mentions

The writing assessments Oregon has been using are, in my mind, the epitome of effective mass evaluation, as teachers collaborate in reading and reviewing students' writing and come to consensus about their worth, finding areas of their own disagreement, and learning themselves in the process.

But they are expensive, and raise economic problems, so that extending this to other areas is difficult, particularly in these economic times, but actually in any times.

Further, in the often more abstract areas he asks us to consider, what leads us to believe we should all follow the same standards? Don't we know as adults we depend on a wide variety of community capabilities and understandings, most learned after leaving formal education, to work out our personal lives and civic responsibilities?

One of the most insidious ideas I continued to run across is that if we can't measure it, it's not worth teaching. Such simplistic foolishness derived from assembly line thinking is beneath us, and shouldn't be tolerated.

Thanks for the important heads up. Might help bring us and our educational leaders to our senses.

Dick McQueen


County shown no fiscal responsibility


On Nov. 2, 2010, we, the electorate of Curry County, will vote on a five-year, $2.27 per $1,000, of assessed valuation, Law Enforcement Tax Levy.

I will vote against this levy.

Curry County has had over 10 years to prepare for the eventual loss of federal funding, i.e. OandC Funds, followed in 2000 by the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Funds, and has done nothing. During just the past 10 years our entire county budget has skyrocketed from $41,000,000 to $72,000,000 andndash; a 75 percent increase. At the same time the sheriff's budget has increased 73 percent. These increases have occurred during the time our county had to plan for no longer receiving federal funding. Still, as of today, the county has not gone so far as to institute a hiring freeze. Every week we see additional people hired. The current level of staffing can no longer be sustained. Anytime the county is the region's largest employer, its residents are in for a wild ride, and as of now, because of no planning, not poor planning, we are poised to go over the proverbial cliff.

At some point our elected county officials must become economically responsible and realize we cannot offer all of the programs and services the county has provided in the past.

I have seen no fiscal responsibility on the part of the county but when they run short of money, they come to me and ask for increased property taxes. If this levy passes my property taxes will immediately increase 27 percent. Some people will see an even larger percentage increase, depending in which part of the county their property is located.

I need to see drastic action, i.e. personnel cuts, closures, consolidations, and other dramatic cost cutting measures before I vote for higher taxes.

Greg Empson

Gold Beach

Caughey story lacking content


Your article on Gary Caughey, on the front page (Pilot, June 12) caught my eye as being a bit of overkill.

The paper did not disclose the content of the letters, thus leaving the public wondering what in the letters that were never sent, merited sending this man back to jail.

Is the general public aware that it is to the financial benefit of the local jail and county to put men and women in jail? Does the public know how much money from the federal and state governments goes to the county and officials for incarcerating a man or woman? If this is true why not let us know? If it is false let us know that also.

Are the protective custodians willing to come out and tell the general public all the truth of this matter? Perhaps the public ought to know since allegations not proven are just that andhellip; allegations! It is so easy to smear people in the eyes of the public by making allegations and then publishing them in a community paper.

In older times no crime is committed unless there is a victim who is a damaged party. Is this 18-year-old a victim? If so, how? According to the paper this 18-year-old lives in the Philippines. How has she been damaged, injured or diminished? Have the authorities here contacted the authorities in this young lady's hometown or her family? These are some of the questions we have in this community.

Sincerely, without prejudice,

Douglas Cross