Letters to the Editor

Posted: Friday, February 21, 2003

Parents, community need to show support for peninsula educators

Be kind. Every person you meet is fighting a hard battle.

As a parent of two young men educated in Nikiski schools, I am concerned and alarmed at the direction our district is taking. As I attended my children's parent-teacher conferences at Nikiski High, I was overwhelmed as I looked into the teachers' eyes thinking of the battles that each of them face. Not only the challenge of teaching so many different children with diverse capabilities. Not just seeking to earn enough money to support their own families. But that after days and years of dedication to teaching young minds, they are seeing bills and laws being put into effect that will result in the lowering of educational standards.

The "leave no child behind" act will eventually take the focus off of rising to the highest potential, to lowering the standard of education. Putting our money into education will do more for our future generation than stocks and bonds will. We are building the characters of future leaders. If education continues to be devalued in this manner, we should fear for our future. I am sad to see the layoff of some real quality teachers next year at Nikiski Junior-Senior High and throughout our district. Teachers full of enthusiasm, professional skill and energy. I hate to see these teachers leave our community, as they surely must do.

I guess I really needed to vent. Please know that you are in my prayers for a fairer contract and action from the community and "the powers that be" to acknowledge your value as educators. Stand up for what is right, even if you are standing alone!

We need to speak now to our more vocal parents. I dislike meetings, but have decided I am attending the next PTA meeting to voice my concerns as a parent. We need to let the community know now that decisions are being made that will greatly affect our children, our teachers, our community and eventually our nation. I am not a politically minded person, I lead a simple life with my family, but even I can see that it is time now to stand up for our schools.

Attend a school board, PTA or union meeting, speak the truth, write a letter to those in power!

"Courage is contagious. When a brave person takes a stand, the spines of others are stiffened." -- Billy Graham

"If you think your too small to make a difference, you haven't been in bed with a mosquito." -- Anita Roddick

"There is no such thing in anyone's life as an unimportant day." -- Alexander Woollcott

Patty Gallien


Nikiski Elementary, Kenai Alternative could be combined

I like the idea of consolidating Nikiski Elementary with North Star Elementary. Maybe we could consolidate Nikiski Elementary with Kenai Alternative School as a hands-on Trade Tech for the students. Possibly, placing kids who have dropped out or are home schooled back in the school system and the formula. Perhaps, we could work with our local trade unions, local industries and retired persons to donate their time and resources.

Some classes that could be offered include: introduction to available apprenticeships; welding (perhaps manufacture and sell a product produced there); introduction to marketing and small business; introduction to hazmat classes and the oil industry; electrical; auto mechanics and small engine repair; carpentry; and CPR courses.

The welding, electrical, auto and carpentry courses could be offered at Nikiski Elementary with Kenai Alternative School in Kenai offering the introductions and CPR course.

I do realize that it is not feasible at this point in time. So until then, we could use Nikiski Elementary as our community/convention/teen center. Either idea I view as a win-win for both the area landowners and our kids.

I hope this idea isn't viewed as a way to incorporate Nikiski. With all due respect, and in my opinion, we do not need the extra expenditure for another layer of government.

Once again, thank you to the Clarion for the Letters to the Editor section, it is a wonderful outlet for our communities to be able to voice their concerns and thoughts.

Vicki Duggin


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