This is one of those stories that makes you feel good about living in Tracy.
Earlier this week, I was having coffee with a friend at Vita Dolce, one of my favorite places in all of Tracy, and while there, Kelly Miller from Creations Salon down the street came in holding the cutest, most lovable little Yorkie. She asked if there was anyone in the shop who knew who the little guy belonged to. None of us did, so Kelly said she’d take him back to the salon and keep him and while doing further investigating. She called a friend to come and pick him up and take care of him while she continued to work with clients. Her friend, Audrey Peterson, said she would “do you one better and take him to Jules Veterinary Center to see if he has a chip.” Guess what? He had a chip and the grateful owner was ecstatic at finding him, after his being missing since February! How’s that for a happy ending?
This is what I love about Tracy. The warmth and concern by all involved was tangible. Thanks to all who participated in making this turn out the way it did.
Maureen Tobin Bastedenbeck, Tracy
Should students decide teacher’s pay?
Should teachers be paid according to results, meaning student standardized test scores?
It must be understood conceptually that such a system would reward one person according to the success of someone else. After all, it’s not the teacher that’s being measured.
Are the scores of students a fair measure of a teacher’s efforts?
A single test can’t separate out what students learned in previous classes, or at home. You need two tests, a pre- and post-test, to reliably measure value added by a teacher.
Also, some students are more efficient learners. If you were paid for demonstrated learning and were willing to game the system, you would want to teach college-bound students, since they offer the best return on investment, to borrow a term from economics. Furthermore, the single most powerful variable in predicting test scores is the education of a student’s parents. If test scores determined pay, you would want to teach in an upper-middle-class school.
Many students have negative feelings about tests because they have a history of scoring poorly. It’s a matter of self-esteem. Test scores will partly reflect the attitude of students about testing in general.
A test that determines one’s salary is clearly a high-stakes test for teachers. But it is a low-stakes test for students, who receive no credit or even a grade.
I have proctored many standardized tests over the years. One year, I noticed something very revealing about students’ attitudes about such tests. Before the math section, the teachers were instructed to provide a blank scratch sheet with the test. At the end, we were to pick up both. When I looked at the scratch sheets, about a third had figuring on both sides. Another third had some figuring on one side, and the remainder were completely blank.
Most students seemed to take the test seriously up to a point that required some difficult mathematical operations. Then they either guessed or answered randomly.
Should a math teacher’s salary be determined by the results of this standardized test?
Mickey McGuire, Tracy
Consider community in rates discussion of Pinkie Phillips pool
The following is a letter I sent to Dr. Casey Goodall, associate superintendent for Tracy Unified School District:
I have been a resident of Tracy for over 12 years now, and I have been a part of the Tracy Tritons Swim Club for 11 of those years. I have gone through so many changes with the team; I have seen them beat some problems that were considered huge when they came up. However, this issue has reaches that I wish to bring to your attention.
I must ask you, please reconsider your plans to raise the prices to use the Pinkie Phillips Aquatics Center. I understand that it is a source of revenue for the district, and I understand that, with the laws changing, it is now a possibility. But, because it is a possibility, that does not necessitate that it should be a certainty.
The people this would be affecting are not the district. They are not even the taxpayers yet. No, it is not even the coaches and the board members of the various swimming teams that this decision would be affecting the most.
It would be the swimmers that would bear the brunt of this. If you raise prices to use the pools as much as is suggested, it would be the parents that would have to come up for the difference, because teams like the Tritons do not have the revenue to keep their membership fees down. And if those fees get too high, people will not be able to pay them anymore. Yes, the district is on hard times. So are almost all of the families in Tracy.
If you were to raise the prices, you would be removing one of the sport options in the summer that so many children that cannot play football or baseball can do. Swimming is a far more inclusive sport, allowing even children with physical and mental disabilities a chance to participate side by side with others, with accommodations made, rather then separating them off completely. It does not require the same commitment to buying equipment that other sports do. A child in a $5 swimsuit can and does swim with those that go for the racing suits, and there is no discrimination based on an ability to pay.
Raising the fees would disrupt this. The corresponding bump in team participation costs would soar, and it would exclude all of the people that have learned to love the sport as I have.
Dr. Casey, please. I have learned to swim, and learned to love to swim, through the Tritons, for the past 11 years. Please, consider those that your actions would affect further down the ladder before you make this call. There are other ways that the district can reach the money to fund itself, but there will be fewer options for these children if this plan were to go into effect.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sandra Walther, Tracy
Local citizens should care about next library director
In a recent editorial discussing the recent resignation of our library director, the Stockton Record said our “library needs to go back to the future,” meaning we need to think back to the strong leaders who led our library system in earlier years. The county library system does need a strong leader. However, it is in the city of Stockton’s hands to find that person, since our library governance system puts Stockton in charge of hiring. In order to find the right person, the city of Stockton should reinstate the library director position as a department head — rather than a lower-level position that answers to the community services director. The citizens of Tracy, Manteca and other communities within the library system need to care about this issue, as do our local elected officials. All of us within the county library system will be affected by who is hired by the city of Stockton to lead the libraries. As the Record editorial says, we — and that means ALL the residents of San Joaquin County — need our library director to have the knowledge and power to provide for our libraries. A good start would be to move the library director position back to a department head within the city of Stockton.
Tiffany Heben, Tracy
Fields not yet a good legacy for city
It is hard to believe, driving past Legacy Fields, that so far the city has spent $11.3 million on that project. The expectation was that the sports leagues would be able to step in and finish the project with private funding. If last week’s council meeting was any indication, that will likely not be happening anytime soon. The council voted to spend $100,000 to “assist” the leagues in “fundraising activities” to get the money needed to finish the sports fields. But is that just throwing good money after bad?
As the father of a 7-year-old, I do not even question the need for providing our children with playing fields. The fields we have now cannot accommodate the needs of the various sports leagues in this town. Instead of looking at squeezing the money out of developers, or passing the buck to the leagues, we as a community need to make a hard decision — are we willing to tax ourselves in the form of passing a bond to pay not just for Legacy Fields but also other needed capital improvement projects in this city? The ability of Tracy Unified School District to get voter approval for bonds to improve and rehabilitate our schools is proof of that.
Our forefathers that built the public works we enjoy today knew that if you want nice things, you need to be willing to pay for them yourself. Until the city’s political leadership musters the courage to tell us citizens that if we want sports fields, swimming pools and other public amenities, we as a community need to step up to the plate and help pay for them, I fear we will just see more handwringing and kicking the can down the road from our elected officials. And no sports fields for our kids.
Steve Nicolaou, Tracy
Take drinking, driving out of Labor Day celebrations
Labor Day is the last long holiday weekend in summer to honor our nation’s workforce. The last weeks of summer are dangerous times for our roads.
For over a decade, I have stated how a drunken driver hit me head-on when I was 16 in April of 1992. I was seriously injured and it affects me today. I stayed seven months in two hospitals and then I had therapy, surgery and home teaching for the following 17 months.
Much labor was done to regain daily activities like walking and talking. Due to the fever following my crash, I lost most of my hearing capabilities. This injury upsets me daily.
I unexpectedly lost those skills by a preventable crash. A drunken driver caused these tough times in my life. One could cause these times for you, too. Everybody, including yourself, must stay sober when driving.
I am honored to be a partner with the California Highway Patrol. Every day, especially on holidays, impaired driving happens. We are determined to make all realize that impaired driving is a deadly mistake.
Tracy CHP Lt. Jeff James informed me that Tracy did not have any fatalities from drunken driving on the Fourth of July. Make this continue, Tracy.
At any gathering, choose a sober designated driver before alcohol drinking begins. This person will drive the drunken ones to save lives. Easily said and easily done.
Lori Martin, Tracy