Letter: Teachers should remain balanced | February 6, 2009 | Pleasanton Weekly | PleasantonWeekly.com |


Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - February 6, 2009

Letter: Teachers should remain balanced

Dear Editor,

I fear for my country after reading the "Around Pleasanton," ("2nd-graders comment on the inauguration," Jan. 23, page 3) I hope Ms. Vernon was not telling the children what to think or write. Where are the counterpoints?


*I fear for our country because Obama appears too reconciliatory towards this nation's enemies.

*I fear that Obama will create a new socialist country where I will be required share the fruits of my labor with those who choose not to work.

*I distrust a leader who gives salary increases to cabinet members one day only to announce the next day they agreed to a salary freeze.

*I fear a leader who holds closed meetings and releases only his version of the dialog and photos.

*I fear for our representative democracy when the new president signs more executive orders in the first few days than other presidents.

*I wonder where the equity is when the person I must send my taxes to claims to have made "simple mistakes" whereas if I do the same, I must appear in court.

*I wonder why the president didn't ask for the money donated for the extravagant inauguration activities by large corporations be donated to charities.

*I wonder what our president believes the meaning of "volunteer" is, when he speaks of "mandatory volunteer work" for our youth.

I firmly believe the editor has every right to offer their opinion to the readers. An elementary school teacher needs to be balanced and not allowed to brainwash our children.

Richard Schwaninger


Posted by RS, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Feb 6, 2009 at 1:40 pm

TERRIFIC POSTING Mr. Schwaninger!!! It is about time this paper posted some opposing views on "The Messiah" and his vision of transforming this once great country into a much weaker country based on failed principles of Socialism.

Since this Pleasanton 2nd Grade teacher (in a former Pleasanton Weekly feature article), and no doubt many other Pleasanton teachers, are so concerned about giving the Messiah Obama enough visibility to your students, I hope this teacher will also please educate the students on how Obama will "change" this nation's economic foundation from that which has made us great...namely free-enterprise and capitalism to his preferred base of "socialism."

Now that I mention it, teachers please educate yourselves on "socialism" and how it deprives the human spirit of motivation, innovation, hard work and yes, reduces private sector jobs significantly.

Ronald Reagan inherited a much worse economy and unemployment rate, thanks to the miserable failure of Carter and his administration, and Reagan turned the US economy around very very quickly by reducing government interference and regulation...just the opposite of what Obama has in store for the US.

Teachers, are you spending one-tenth of your time teaching about Reagan compared to how much time you are spending on Obama?

Think about it.


Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 6, 2009 at 7:07 pm

Y'all are still living in the republican ideological neverland, the policies of which have now produced what is turning into the second GREAT DEPRESSION. Reagan, two Bush's, and a Republican controlled Congress (1993-2006) have now ruined our economy with their silly practice of trickle-down and Milton Friedman theory. Friedman's disciple Alan Greenspan can only say now that he is in "shocked disbelief". The experiment was run, it failed, and we now are suffering with the results, which will persist for many years. And our children will inherit it. By the way, is RS=Richard Schwaniger?

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 6, 2009 at 7:14 pm

I haven't quite figured out the self-delusion of the right-wingers who call Obama the "Messiah", as if liberals see him that way.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 6, 2009 at 7:23 pm


You forgot to mention that this is the SECOND time this experiment has been run and failed! Don't forget the robber barons and monopolies of the past followed by the Great Depression.

Posted by RS, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Feb 6, 2009 at 7:44 pm

Excuse me, Mr./Ms. Pleasanton Heights. Please do your homework, write a report on the following and get back to me. Or...must I presume that you've been "educated" ...oops, I should say "indoctrinated" in liberalism by our local school system.

This financial meltdown was the absolute DIRECT result of DEMOCRAT policy ranging back to the failed Carter administration when the Community Reinvestment Act was passed. This fostered risky mortgage loans to people who couldn't otherwise afford the homes. Then Clinton EXPANDED this program exponentially. FannieMae and FreddieMac were created without necessary regulations, DESPITE the conservatives in congress (including McCain--tho he's not much of a conservative) blowing the whistle to warn of major problems ahead. Democrats Barney Frank, Frank Dodd and several others (including Obama) were WARNED repeatedly by the conservatives. Yet they did NOTHING. We all know the rest of the story. It was the DEMS and their liberalism that have brought us to this low point.

This videoclip is an accurate chronology of the banking crisis ...

Web Link

and below is a letter signed by McCain and others WARNING about the impending crisis if nothing is done. (BTW: NO Democrats signed this letter. surprise. suprise.)
here's a letter signed 2006 by John McCain and other repubs requesting more regulations on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Web Link

Your thoughts NOW, Mr. Pleasanton Heights lib?


Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 6, 2009 at 8:56 pm

Knock off the name calling. You undermine your presentation, which you are offering as intelligent and reasonable.

I knew you would recite Carter and the Community Reinvestment act as the direct cause for our second GREAT DEPRESSION. I knew this because this has been largely the ONLY rebuttal that the ideologues could come up with to try to blame the democrats. The think tanks put this accusation out early on. Little new has been argued since then.

You and them would have us believe that one 30+ year old action caused a financial calamity in year 2008 DESPITE the operative control of Republicans during the interim, DESPITE nearly 30 years of a practice of a hands-off policy of our financial system by our leaders in Washington, DESPITE the acceptance of ideology of how free markets are supposed to regulate themselves through natural forces such as protecting shareholder interests ("shocked disbelief" by Alan), and DESPITE the successes of Reagan and two Bush's to reduce government, while they in turn swelled the national debt to record levels. Only Clinton reduced it. This one act supposedly forced mortgage brokers to sell loans to people who never should have qualified. It supposedly forced wall street investment bankers to package high risk mortgage loans into non-transparent derivative debt instruments along with standard risks loans and re-sell them to high-interest-rate- seeking investors who have been stiffed year after year by Alan Greenspan and his low interest rate policies, which in turn produced the appearance of national economic growth. After the two bubbles have now burst (stock market 2000 and housing 2008), we are in deep trouble.

This paragon of free enterprise, the financial system, and the whole of capitalism has now been brought to its knees because of......... now pay attention folks, JIMMY CARTER, FANNIE MAE, AND FREDDIE MAC!!! And during the whole time since the late 70's, not Reagan, nor George Bush, nor George Bush, nor Clinton, nor the Republican Congress saw this coming!!!!

I don't think the majority American public buys your argument. And thanks for the providing the soapbox. We need to shine a lot of light on these issues and your mouthing the party line of the think tanks helps a lot.

Posted by rs, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Feb 6, 2009 at 11:07 pm

Since you obviously do not like to live in a capitalistic society where free enterprise (with some regulation) has created this wonderful country (albeit weakened...thanks to liberalism), please tell me which socialistic country do you admire most? Please consider improving this country by moving there.


Posted by rs, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Feb 7, 2009 at 11:40 am

PS...You mentioned that I was "name calling." What "name" do you find offensive? Is it the term "liberal / lib" ? I am a proud "conservative" and would prefer being called by that name.

Or would you rather be called "progressive"? How clever. Who wouldn't want to be considered "progressive." That is...unless you scratch the surface and learn what on earth Democrats feel they are "progressing toward." The only thing Democrats are progressing toward is a whole new system called the "political class" where the only thing that matters is big government, big brother, reduction of liberty, control of the communication airwaves, central banking, centralized healthcare, control of energy, government seizure of private property (i.e. eminent domain), further dependence of the people on big government, regulation upon more regulation, and a socialist/marxist form of rule like that of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.

The above defines the Democrat party ... which could more accurately be called the American Socialist Party.

Tell me where I am wrong.



Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 7, 2009 at 11:57 am

RS's deft avoidance of all the points Frank made do not go unnoticed. Thanks for the laugh.

Posted by Carl, a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 7, 2009 at 10:58 pm

Regarding Mr. Schwaninger's comment on executive orders. Here's one that was just issued on 2/6 that can require project labor agreements (PLA) on federal construction projects, effectively shutting out any firm that does not use unions and labor agreements. It is well known that PLAs cause on average a 10-20% greater labor cost on projects due to the use of union negotiated wages, policies and practices.

Web Link

There is no need for any name calling or posturing. We only need to watch what President Obama does. By his actions shall we know that socialist policies are being enacted.

Posted by Carl, a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 7, 2009 at 11:28 pm

"Fannie Mae will drop some credit-score requirements, reduce income-documentation standards and waive the need for appraisals in some cases, according to a notice yesterday to lenders posted on the Washington-based company’s Web site. The changes apply to loans that the company owns or guarantees."

While President Obama berates the 'old tired policies of the last eight years' the federally run Fannie Mae is loosening mortgage standards. By his actions shall we know.

Web Link

Posted by Carl, a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 8, 2009 at 10:04 am

And President Obama considers you 'unpatriotic' if you don't support the $1 trillion stimulus package.

Web Link

No need to post anymore. Just read *all* the news with open eyes.

Posted by Qwerty, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2009 at 7:19 pm

One major reason why we are having huge budget problems in california is that the state got drunk on the doc com revenue in the 90's and then did not curtail spending when many of those companies failed. Now we are paying the price for the democrats not controlling their spending habits.

Posted by Ben F., a resident of Birdland
on Feb 10, 2009 at 12:24 pm

RS and Carl,

I agree with both of you. Beware the Unified Socialist System of Amerika, a.k.a. U.S.A.A.

Laugh at your own peril. This country is changing radically, for the worse.

Posted by Angry, a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Feb 10, 2009 at 8:03 pm

This is absolutely ridiculous!! My son was in this class. This was nothing more than a sharing circle amoungst a group of bright, innocent children proud to share in the momment. Take your politics elsewhere- get a life.

Posted by js, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 10, 2009 at 8:09 pm

I'm responding to the, "I hope Ms. Vernon was not telling the children what to think or write." portion of Richard Schwaninger's letter. I have a hard time believing you think this is true, and find it sad that you would drag her into this as a spring board for your political thoughts. She deserves an apology.

Posted by KN, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2009 at 8:20 pm

What you are all failing to mention is the absurdity of Mr. Schwaninger's letter -- he is actually calling out a group of second graders and challenging their sweet and innocent remarks. It was supposed to be a heartwarming column, with the hopeful insight of unbiased children who still believe in rainbows and fairies. The teacher did nothing wrong, unless trying to instill a love of our country's democratic process is a crime. Grow up, Mr. S. You could learn a lot from Ms. V. and her kids.

Posted by DJ, a resident of Lydiksen Elementary School
on Feb 10, 2009 at 8:33 pm

"with the hopeful insight of unbiased children who still believe in rainbows and fairies"

What are you smoking, "KN"? Ms. V. "brain-washed" those poor souls and gave them nothing but false hope. That seems more like Germany in the 40s to me. All hail Prez Obama!

Posted by Mike, a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Feb 10, 2009 at 8:40 pm

Unfortunately, Mr.Schwaninger's original letter is painfully, and perhaps even purposely misleading given the ridiculous implication that Ms.Vernon may be "brainwashing" the kids. She did cover the Presidential election and the subsequent Inauguration in her class. And as she occasionally does with various topics discussed in the class she recorded the kids' comments and sent a summary to the parents - a practice which provides parents with valuable insight to the classroom.
So where is the implied brainwashing? Where is the teacher's evil liberal socialist spin? It’s simply not there.

And no, RS, just because the recent election and inauguration were covered in the schools, the kids do not therefore need to be taught about your personal favorite random Republican ex-President in order to have a "balanced" curriculum. Reagan? What about Ford? Where's the love for Jerry??? Or why not Nixon, or Hoover, or Harding? Those guys never get their fair share of elementary school coverage. The fact is, no teacher is spending class time trying to convince kids that Obama and his liberal ideals are going to save the planet. The critical microscope that teachers work under would thankfully never allow it.

My point is this - I'm ok with hard-core conservatives frantically offering their opinions to anyone who will listen at this point. Their ideological panic is entirely understandable given the circumstances. But taking political frustrations out on teachers is unjustified and desperately misguided. Teaching is an admirable profession, and difficult to do well. The good ones work diligently to provide appropriate content and experiences in their classrooms. And I can assure you, Ms.Vernon is one of the good ones.

Posted by Parent, a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Feb 10, 2009 at 10:30 pm

Absolutely ridiculous! These are SECOND GRADERS. I find it pathetic that people are desperate enough to turn this into a political debate, attacking an excellent teacher simply allowing her students (with seven-year-old mentalities, mind you) to express and share their unbiased opinions. I am proud that my daughter is in Ms. V's class, and was given the opportunity to participate in this thought-provoking 'community circle,' innocently remarking on a historical moment. As for this completely blown out of propotion nonsense, what an embarrassment!

Posted by Walnut Grove Mom, a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 11, 2009 at 7:27 am

Dear Mr.Schwaninger,

I urge you to talk to every single parent in Ms. Vernon's class so they can tell you what a wonderful, creative, caring, passionate, unbiased teacher she really is. Your ignorant comments in your letter are the exact reason why this country is so divided today. Set your political agenda aside and look at the big picture. Perhaps you should take the energy it took to write such a ridiculous letter and put that energy into something that can actually help the community. I am grateful that you aren't my child's teacher.

Posted by Walnut Grove Mom, a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 11, 2009 at 7:29 am

And by the way, Schwaninger.... I voted for McCain you fool.

Posted by rs, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Feb 11, 2009 at 8:31 am

To Stacy from Amberwood:
I am glad that my comments made you laugh. We all need to laugh more as it can have beneficial health benefits. However, please re-evaluate what you are laughing about in the larger sense.

The real person who is laughing AT YOU is Obama who is staking more and more claim over YOUR freedom and liberty (and every other US citizen). He is taking away, drip by drip, your freedom of choice (which this country was based on...remember the "Pledge of Alliegance" too?" What happened to the principles in that Pledge? He is taking away your freedoms ...

- in healthcare (he'll dictate what services you are 'worthy' of and who, and when you can be treated)
- in banking (i.e. nationalized banks)
- in transportation (soon, he'll tell you what transpo is "allowed"
- in energy production and consumption (they already do this in 'production' by blocking oil exploration)
- religion (did you see that the "Stimulus" Plan does not even allow funds to go to religious based schools?)
- in elections (did you notice the strongarmed tactics of ACORN?)
- and in other areas ...

I wish I had more of your "no worries" sense of humor. With the power HE is usurping, and the freedoms that are being taken away by Obama and the democrat party, I cannot share your sense of humor.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 11, 2009 at 9:27 am


I wish I shared your optimism in partisanship, but the truth is I can't ever see myself mentally kowtowing in the name of a political party. Bush laughed just as hard as Obama must be now.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 11, 2009 at 9:28 am

- in banking (i.e. nationalized banks)

P.S. You know that was Bush, right?

Posted by rs, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Feb 11, 2009 at 11:56 am

If a City were to have a mascot, based on the blind faith of the majority of voters in this town, its mascot should be a "lemming."


Posted by SD, a resident of Golden Eagle
on Feb 11, 2009 at 2:34 pm

Why do we assume that 2nd graders can't come up with their own conclusions after watching the inauguration? Just because someone does not agree with what the 2nd graders took from the speech does not mean that Ms. Vernon told them to say that. Ms. Vernon did the right thing by sending home information to the parents on the discussion that day of exactly what was talked about. Stop blaming the teacher for allowing students to express themselves in class. Good for Ms. Vernon for bringing current events into her classroom.