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QUICK KUDOS

The new landscape format of The Explorer is greatly appreciated by readers of all ages. It's much easier to read with the paper lying flat on the table, especially by readers with progressive focal eyeglasses.

Thanks for everyone there who fought for the change!

—Michael Neidich, Catalina 

EDUCATION MATTERS

Our world would be much better if everyone had great educations. Great, meaning factual-based knowledge, emphasizing integrity and kindness. Therefore, educating our children and young adults properly should be our top priority. Better teachers make better students. Using current, improved and scientifically-proven learning and teaching methods (pedagogies) is important. Interleaving, metacognition, scaffolding, spaced-learning, low-stakes testing/retrieval, formative assessment and Standards-Based Grading are some examples of effective, important, scientifically proven pedagogies that are used by state-of-the-art institutions of learning.

Please look-up scholarly articles on these pedagogical terms and their evidence-based research. There are some excellent videos on the internet which explain “Standards-Based Grading.” Please refer to Chapter 5: “Standards-Based Grading” in the book: “What We Know about Grading: What Works, What Doesn't, and What's Next.” K-12 educators should search on “The challenges of Standards-Based Grading” for information on working with concerned parents.

Standards-Based Grading can require a little more time and effort by educators but motivating students to learn and then grading on what students know as opposed to grading on what students do not know is extremely important

—Ray Barnes, Oro Valley

IMPROVE PUBLIC SCHOOL

Arizona is failing our students and our economy. 

Public schools were created to serve and maintain our society. Yet, year after year, our Arizona legislature continues to fail our students, our economy, and our state.

In 1990, Arizona ranked 34th out of 50 states in per pupil funding for public education; in 2009 Arizona ranked 26th; Arizona now ranks 48th. Year after year, we pay our state and federal taxes to support public education; year after year, those funds are systematically diverted elsewhere. Since education supports all other occupations, this misuse of public funds harms a majority of our students, our work force, and our ability to attract new business.

Of all the children in Arizona, 85 percent attend public schools. Every one of those students, every one of their underpaid teachers in overcrowded classrooms, every one of those schools struggling to provide adequate textbooks and safe facilities is being shortchanged. Consequently, all of us are being shortchanged. 

We must demand that our legislators restore funding for our public schools. Arizona’s future depends on it.

—Jacolyn Marshall, 

Oro Valley 

WHERE WAS CHIEF?

At a recent Council meeting, Golder Ranch Fire Chief Randy Karrer addressed the council.  During his address he stressed that if the town did not maintain the golf courses, then property values would go down.  This supposed reduction in property values is speculation.  However, Chief Karrer stressed that if property values were reduced, then county assessments would be reduced, and, therefore, property tax assessments would be reduced.  If all this would occur (remember this is speculation) then the monies attributed to the Golder Ranch Fire District would be reduced.  This could result in a reduction in service.

Not a bad scare tactic, but where was Chief Karrer in December 2014?  On Dec. 17, 2014, the council was to vote on the purchase of the HSL properties.  The properties included, according to the power point presentation, a 31,475-square-foot building located on La Cañada, a 5,600-square-foot building located at the Pusch Ridge course, 324 acres of land, assessed at over $30,000,000, 31 tennis courts and two heated swimming pools. The property tax assessment for all this was around $40,000 per year.

The second the town closed escrow on the property, the county, and therefore Chief Karrer, lost $40,000 in property tax revenue.  

Today Chief Karrer stresses over the speculation of a reduction in property values along the golf courses.  Where was he in 2014 when the Town removed $40,000 in tax revenue?  

—Mike Zinkin, Oro Valley

Editor’s Note: Mike Zinkin is a former member of the Oro Valley Town Council who voted against the acquisition of the community center and associated amenities in 2014.

WATER WORRIES

In reviewing the general plan for the Town of Marana, I was struck by the term, “sustainable,” presumably in reference to development over the next two decades. 

If there is a projected need for a “454 percent increase in water production” requiring an “additional 47 wells with a capacity of 1500 gpm,” how do they plan to implement this with the declining water table in most of Marana? The retention ponds have stabilized the water table east of the Tucson Mountains, at least for the current population density. Along the Santa Cruz corridor, there has been a continual decline in the water table. This does not seem like sustainable development. Will we look like Chaco Canyon in another century?

—Ellen Shopes, Tucson

Want to see your opinion in the paper? Send letters to logan@tucsonlocalmedia.com or to 7225 N. Mona Lisa Road, #125, Tucson, Arizona 85741. Submission does not guarantee print.

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