Your Voice: Drive sober & the problem with schools
Jun 27, 2014 | 3255 views | 6 6 comments | 54 54 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Welcome summer, liberty; stay safe behind the wheel


Picnics and watching fireworks are a few activities people enjoy in summer and when celebrating America’s independence. But America’s freedom does not allow people to drive drunk. Ironically, driving drunk is one our country’s deadliest problems.

A drunken driver hit me head-on in April of 1992 when I was 16. My active life ended. This collision put me in a coma, paralyzed, and I had multiple broken and dislocated bones.

I spent a month at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Stockton and then six months at a rehabilitation hospital in San Ramon. Therapy followed at San Jose and at the Tracy hospital for 17 months.

I have injuries that challenge me daily. My hearing capability is damaged. I do not walk as gracefully as a Hollywood star or talk like a news reporter. Even with these injuries, I can get my point across.

As a proud partner with the CHP, I am determined to keep drunken drivers off the road. My constant work teaching people to drive sober will not end.

Choose a designated driver before drinking starts at any gathering. This person avoids drinking alcoholic beverages and drives those who do. Saving lives and preventing injuries and penalties, along with embarrassment, is what this driver does.

I firmly demand all drinking people to find a sober driver. If you drive drunk, it will bring a future you and others will regret.

Lori Martin, Tracy

Program to educate poor a waste of taxpayer money


Coming to a school near you, free preschool and day care for Tracy’s poor children. Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing $264 million in his latest budget for this purpose. Surely the overwhelming Democratic legislature will pass it. Who could be against such benevolence? Don’t you care about the poor? It will provide immediate jobs for teachers and day care providers. It will provide an additional year or two of free baby-sitting for poor mothers. Statistics also show that these students enter regular school with a first-year advantage. The federal government during the Great Society around 45 years ago created a program called Head Start for the same purpose and got the same results. However, by third grade, whatever benefit was derived from early preschool for the poor was completely gone. Even after 45 years of results showing that preschool had no long-term advantage for the poor, the program continues, because it sounds good and makes us feel good. Apparently, the quality of parenthood and teaching counteracted any benefit derived from this “head start.” The definition of stupidity is continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results. Spending $264 million on day care and preschool for the poor falls into this category.

Scott Hurban, Tracy

Broken homes real problem with society, schools


Regarding Scott Hurban’s letter published June 13, “Ending teacher tenure good for schools,” I couldn’t agree more, Mr. Hurban, with your last sentence: “there is a long ways to go to ensure our public schools get better.”

But do you really think that changing pencils will cause this story to have a better ending? Some of your conclusions make you sound so young and immature in your perspective of how or why education — to use your word — is a catastrophe. From my perspective, from being involved in public education for over 53 years, the reason it will be a long way is because broken homes are so hard to fix. Are you aware of the attempts that have been made throughout the decades, and that are still being made, to fix poverty? How is that working for you? Which is to say that solving monumental human problems caused by personal choices has the lasting effect of becoming more complex and monumental.

A home in which two involved parents, Dad and Mom, provide and nurture psychological and emotional support is much more likely to produce a child who wants to learn. Have you checked the statistics on how kids are doing when they have these kinds of homes? I believe there are men and women out there who know this. When they bring a child into the world, they plan to be involved in providing that child with real parents. I know “life happens” and “the best-laid plans” etc., but that isn’t what made education the disaster it is today. The federal government taking an ever-increasing role in parenting the population has no promise of fixing schools, hospitals, the economy or broken homes.

It’s personal dignity, integrity and self-worth and a sense of responsibility that only dedicated parents can build into a child in a caring home that will slow the downward spiral of all of our cherished institutions that once made America great.

So, Mr. Hurban, go ahead and fire some more teachers. Let’s see what happens while another generation of children from broken homes go down the tubes.

Bea Culton, Tracy

Comments-icon Post a Comment
June 29, 2014
With all due respect to Ms. Culton and Mr. Hurban, I believe the problem with our education system is much greater than just single parent homes, or teacher tenure. I believe the problem with our schools is multifaceted. It includes both of the items you have mentioned, but is not exclusively created by just those issues. In order to find the root of the problem the entire education system needs to be torn down, examined, and rebuilt with the student in mind.

Today's education system is looked at as a business with the bottom line in mind. Unfortunately the bottom line, in this case, focuses on the budget and not student success. Every interest group has their constituency in mind and unfortunately more are looking out for their own interests that the interests of the student, who is the victim in many of these situations.

Do single parent households have an impact? That depends on how the parents interact with each other. Unfortunately, to many divorced parents are to busy focusing on how to use their children to get back at the other parent, and not focusing on the needs of their children. Until these things change, the education system will continue to be only below average.
June 29, 2014
"In order to find the root of the problem the entire education system needs to be torn down."

I don't know what the above citation means or might entail, but I do know the heart of the education system lies with the primary adults who care for a child in the home. If these adult care-providers (parents) aren't interested in a child's academic success, than the child is at a disadvantage.

When people talk about a "broken system," the unexamined statistics cited in support of this claim seldom include the reality of uneducated adults. Millions and millions of uneducated adults with their children have been crossing the southern border unabated for over three decades. Do you suppose the children who have just arrived here from Central America have any formal education?

Now, this is one of our issues--but I don't feel like discussing the others right now.

Still, education is good in America, if you want it.

June 30, 2014
You're partially right victor_jm.

The education system is not good, it's average. I say this not because the information available is substandard, but because we must consider the entire system before we can make any determination on the quality of the system.

That is where I believe the letter written by Ms. Culton misses the mark. If we continue to pick only single aspects of the system and try to fix things we will never be successful at improving it. I'm not sure how we would go about doing this but it would certainly be worth looking into.

Unfortunately, there are way to many interest groups involved in trying to fix the system, and they are only (in my opinion) looking out for their own interests. That's why I'm inclined to think that we probably need to scrap the entire system and simply start over.
June 30, 2014
I don't know if you are familiar with Mortimer J. Adler, but he was (yes, my opinion) an extraordinary philosopher; I like to say he was an amazing metaphysician. He viewed philosophy as "everybody's business" and that we are all "called to one common human vocation--that of being a good citizen and a thoughtful human being."

When I listen to people talk about education, they seem to talk as if education is strictly about having requisite skills to compete and succeed in the marketplace. Think just a moment about Wall Street, The White House, Banking, the Auto Industry, Monsanto, etc.--a lot of educated people (including lawyers and scientists) involved in corruption, wouldn't you say?

What aspect of education in this country is really "broken"?

June 29, 2014
Mr. Hurban,

Your analysis about the ineffectiveness of providing earlier education through taxation to the poor of this country with the expectation of fruitful, future results may be true. Many of us don't want to admit the poor children in this country are supported by benighted parents, but this doesn't hold true for all parents. Our son completed the academic requirements of kindergarten before he entered this grade. He reads and writes and does arithmetic daily. He did (does) so because his parents demanded this of him. A child's support system is 24/7. The supposed do-gooders of our country would actually like to remove all disadvantaged children from their homes and have them immersed in a more constructive environment. Also, these same do-gooders want the flood of immigrants from other countries pouring into this one. What is fundamental to our human nature are boundaries, but we are also quite cognitively plastic, which means we can be twisted to believe just about anything.

June 27, 2014
I haven't been commenting since I have been very occupied. I am still teaching people to stay sober when driving, as you can see in my letter. I wish you all a wonderful Fourth of July, stay cool and out of trouble!!! Enjoy summer!

We encourage readers to share online comments in this forum, but please keep them respectful and constructive. This is not a space for personal attacks, libelous statements, profanity or racist slurs. Comments that stray from the topic of the story or are found to contain abusive language are subject to removal at the Press’ discretion, and the writer responsible will be subject to being blocked from making further comments and have their past comments deleted. Readers may report inappropriate comments by e-mailing the editor at