Letters to the Editor for Feb. 20, 2013

By Baker City Herald readers February 20, 2013 09:09 am

Don’t devalue sacrifice, but keep airport’s name

Thank you, Baker City Council, for delaying a decision on the name change of our local airport.

The bravery in battle, and the ensuing loss of Mabry J. Anders, touched us all, and I do not devalue in any way his sacrifice.

However, I prefer the name of Heilner Field to remain as is. Those of us that knew the Heilner family recall their donation of land and monetary assistance to develop this historic entity. Let’s keep the honor bestowed earlier.

Phyllis Badgley

Baker City

Superintendent puts personal spin on school proposal

The governor’s plan states that by 2025, Oregon will ensure that: (1) 40 percent of adults will have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher; (2) 40 percent of adults will have earned an associate degree or post-secondary credential; and (3) 20 percent of adults will have earned a high school diploma, modified high school diploma or the equivalent. Which means Salem will “ensure” 80 percent of Baker County residents will have a college degree by 2025, and 100 percent with a high school diploma. This requires an annual compact agreement from each of Oregon’s 197 school districts, 17 community colleges, and 19 education service districts. The compact is a nonbinding agreement with the state regarding our plans to accomplish the 40-40-20, and would carry no financial rewards or penalties.

I personally feel this plan has good intentions, but unrealistic goals. Oregon would have to send about 650,000 Oregonians back to school to reach 40-40-20 by 2025. Be advised the 40-40-20 plan is not funded or set in stone.

Sending eighth-graders to the high school for advanced high school credit is the superintendent’s plan, not the governor’s plan. Exploiting parents by encouraging them to send eighth-graders to the high school is completely spinning the 40-40-20 plan. Wegener saying “it’s part of the governor’s plan to reform education in Oregon” is spinning the truth. Eighth graders’ taking high school credit is not required by law, it is allowed by law. Sending numerous amounts of eighth-graders to the high school for advanced credit is unwise, unsafe, and unrealistic.

Our primary focus in the 40-40-20 should be 100 percent graduation from high school, not graduating high school with a college degree. Setting quotas and pressuring unprepared students to take college credits may be “financially” rewarding to the district, but damaging to the student.

The superintendent’s attitude in relation to these changes is disheartening, recently stating “I have a personal spin, of course, about cause, effect and results.” The community deserves honest information, not a personal agenda. I encourage the community to research the 40-40-20 plan, and not rely on biased information from the school district.

Kyle Knight

Baker School Board member

Baker City

Choose another local site to honor Mabry Anders

A proposal may come before the Baker City Council on Tuesday, Feb. 26, to rename Heilner Field (Baker City Municipal Airport)  to honor US Army Spc. Mabry J. Anders, who was killed last August while on active duty in Afghanistan. 

Baker County has had many soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our freedom, including U.S. Army Cpl. Jessica Ellis in Iraq in 2008, and Medal of Honor winner U.S. Army Sergeant John Noble Holcomb during the Vietnam War. There are many others, as evidenced in the listing of war dead at the Baker County Courthouse and in our local cemeteries.

I wish in no way to diminish the sacrifice of Spc. Anders.  But I feel it would be more appropriate for our City Council to designate a currently unnamed street, grove of trees, or other site after Spc. Anders than to override the Heilner name which has deep ties in our community and our local heritage. 

Joyce Badgley Hunsaker

Baker City