Don’t blame teachers!
EDITOR: As a substitute teacher in the Valley for over two decades, I have witnessed a wide range of classroom dynamics. Without exception, I have never left from a day of teaching thinking: “That teacher wastes so much money.” There is no money to waste! Teacher money for classroom supplies is highly deficient. Teachers receive nothing from the district and about $150 from the site budget, if that is even available! Such a small amount does not go very far. Neither do teachers’ salaries in this district. Living in the Valley, on a teacher’s salary, is a struggle. If you are married to a teacher, two jobs is a necessity. If you are single, a teacher always is looking for ways to supplement their income. I rarely hear, “How come every teacher drives a new BMW?” Teachers are wise users of money because they have to be.
Yet, the administration has been stating that the financial woes in this district are due to the burden teachers place on the school budget. Go into any classroom in our Valley and what will stand out is not what teachers have but what they lack. It is disturbing and highly insulting to pin the financial missteps in this district on those who are in the trenches, every day, trying to get by quietly spending their own money to provide for their students — whenever the district cannot. If you see a teacher give them your support, your gratitude and, if you can, let the Sonoma Valley School District know that teachers deserve to be praised not blamed.
Not the time to ignore science
EDITOR: The letter to the editor by Ron Gillis (“Global Warming Good for the Earth,” Dec. 15) expressed a series of misguided premises that frequent public criticisms of human-caused climate change.
First is the assumption that increased CO2 is “beneficial to plant growth.” In fact, plants do not respond uniformly well to increased CO2. About one-quarter of all plant-respired CO2 occurs in plants which cap the amount of CO2 they use and are thus unaffected by rises in CO2. Experiments show that other plants show about 15 percent increased growth, but then are limited by available water, nitrogen and increasing temperatures and insects. So, no, the CO2 we add to the atmosphere will not be beneficial for plants.
Next the letter contends that “such natural changes have occurred and met with adaptation…” Natural changes in solar illumination of the earth have been recognized since the early 1920s, after the work of Milutin Milankovic. His work explained the rise and fall of ice ages. Mr. Gillis appears to accept this “scientific” discovery. Thus he must accept that such climate variations have resulted in the extinction of species, and the next extinction could be ours. Assuming that our species does not want to go softly into the night, “natural changes” should not be taken glibly, especially when we may still be able to influence this change by reducing CO2.
Thirdly, the letter suggests that only fossil fuel power can supply the people rising out of poverty in “Asia, Africa, and South America.” During 2017, China ceased working on 100 coal-fired plants. South America has increased its investment in renewable energy 11-fold since 2004. Africa is seeing that the cost of renewables is now competitive with fossil fuels, and considering pollution, renewables are far cheaper. The rest of the world is choosing renewables for a lower-cost solution with less danger to the climate.