Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - November 19, 2010

Letters

'Humbled by your faith'

Dear Editor,

Congratulations to all of the candidates and volunteers who stood up for their beliefs. Good government and a strong community take constant attention. I love Pleasanton and I am humbled and honored by your faith in my leadership. I want all of Pleasanton to know the privilege of serving is something I do not take for granted, and I want to thank you for allowing me to do so for four more years.

As issues arise please do not hesitate to let me know your thoughts and concerns. I will continue to be accessible to every resident of Pleasanton. Thank you again for all that you do to ensure the quality of life we enjoy in this beautiful city. I look forward to the challenges. Thank you.

Cheryl Cook-Kallio, Pleasanton City Councilmember

Double standards

Dear Editor,

Why is it that the police appear not to be subject to the same laws of the road that we as private citizens are? Today (Oct. 9) I watched an officer make an illegal U-turn to pull over a green Toyota pickup one block off of Main Street on Peters because the driver was not wearing a seatbelt. I would almost understand this if there was speeding involved or a sense of urgency but there wasn't. After the ticket was issued and the officer told the driver to "drive safe" (evidently not realizing that when one modifies a verb one needs an adverb), he made another illegal U-turn to go back to whatever he was doing before the traffic stop.

I saw no sense of urgency so why not just circle the block? I realize that due to overspending the city is desperate for the income from tickets but at what cost? How many tickets might the police force have to write to pay for a lawsuit when an officer makes an unnecessary illegal U-turn and injures or kills a child? Who is policing the police? Driving like this from one of Pleasanton's finest moments after telling a motorist to "drive safe" seems disingenuous at best. I truly am at a loss.

Bo Walle

Dealing with ineffective teachers

Dear Editor,

One of the criticisms that we see constantly levied against the teachers unions is that they protect bad teachers at the expense of their students. As president of the Association of Pleasanton Teachers, I feel that it is my duty to defend the union's position. The community is understandably interested in maintaining the quality of their educators. We as an association also believe in accountability but our priority lies in supporting teachers in their efforts to improve their skills rather than simply getting rid of them.

In order to prevent arbitrary firings, we must have a fair and consistent evaluation process. This process already exists in both the California Education Code and our Collective Bargaining Agreement. The key is for administrators to conduct rigorous evaluations and to document the underperforming teachers.

Some believe that teacher evaluations should be more closely linked to standardized test scores. The California Standards Tests were never designed to measure teacher effectiveness. They measure mastery of grade level standards, not student growth from the start of the year until the end. Test scores, on their own, are not the answer, but when combined with more thorough evaluations, they can be helpful in determining a teacher's effectiveness.

Trevor Knaggs, President, Association of Pleasanton Teachers

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