Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Future hangs on quality education

To the editor:

As a recent Baker High School graduate, I follow the recent sparring over the Jan. 2 school day with frustration. I'm not interested in what the district did or did not do wrong in holding school on that day. I'm a lot more interested in the actual problems the district faces. I'm a lot more interested in the fact that 40 percent of my fellow classmates did not receive a diploma within four years. I'm a lot more interested in the fact that 50.4 percent of all 5-J students are on free or reduced lunch. I'm a lot more interested in the fact that we've lost an entire school day on Fridays, and I'm a lot more interested in the fact that the number of full-time teachers at the high school has been falling since the 1990s.

Make no mistake: The future of Baker County hinges on the quality of education the school system can provide. Young professionals with families will not move to a community where their children cannot receive a good education. This isn't going to be just outsiders who decide not to come here, the young people of this county will have a massive incentive to not return to Baker after graduating from college. The ongoing loss of young, educated professionals means that the tax base will continue to fall, leading to less revenue for the school district, and turning a bad situation into a continuous downward spiral.

I'd encourage every parent in the Baker School District to look at the statistics about our school district provided on the Oregonian's website (http://schools.oregonlive.com/district/Baker/.) You should be angry about the failure of our state and our school district to properly fund and operate our schools. You should be angry at Mr. Knight and Ms. Burroughs for petty infighting over an ultimately irrelevant issue. And you should demand that every educator, administrator, board member, and legislator do better. There's plenty of blame to go around. Rest assured that I won't return to a community where my future children cannot receive a decent education, and neither will my peers.

Elliott Averett

BHS Class of 2011

St. Paul, Minn.

What the capitalists leave out

To the editor:

On the "Today" show, Republican candidate for president, Mitt Romney, said of those like Occupy Movement protestors: "It's about envy. It's about class warfare."

Yet even Romney's Republican colleagues accuse him, as head of Bain Capital, of "looting companies" and call him a "vulture capitalist."

Critics of the American form of capitalism turn Romney's complaint around: It's all about greed and short-term gain and maximizing investor profits with no regard for the welfare of their fellow man.

"I am my brother's keeper," is NOT a Wall Street slogan. If I'm rich, I deserve it. If you're poor, you deserve it.

When Romney and other capitalists sing "America the Beautiful," you can bet they leave out a couple of verses of that patriotic song.

America! America!

May God thy gold refine

Till all success be nobleness

And every grain divine!

and this stanza....

America! America!

God shed his grace on thee

Till selfish gain no longer stain

The banner of the free!

Gary Dielman

Baker City