Saturday January 12, 2013

What’s the difference? Editor of the Reformer:

I just don’t get it. If I operate my car without a license, and I get pulled over by an officer, I get a hefty ticket or I get thrown in jail.

Now Entergy operates a nuclear reactor in Vermont without a state license. When Entergy bought the reactor, by signing the sale agreement, all parties involved accepted and legally acknowledged the Public Service Board as the state regulatory board, and that the operation of the reactor is contingent upon the operator receiving permissions from the Public Service Board.

That does not mean the parties agree to the state’s regulatory laws when it is convenient for the corporation. It means the operator of the reactor must abide by state laws at all times.

New England Coalition has taken Entergy to the VT Supreme Court to make the state enforce its laws. I sure hope the Court does one of two things: Please make Entergy get out of their unlicensed reactor. Tow the reactor away, and do not let Entergy run it again until they have a license. Or two, Dear Vermont Supreme Court, please fine the heck out of Entergy. Make Entergy pay for each day the reactor is operating without the state license. Make Entergy pay for the total prompt clean up of their site.

If a small business owner pollutes, that small business owner must clean up their mess, even if it is expensive. This is how it should be for the large corporations.


Advertisement

Fortunately in this state we do not have two sets of laws, one for the common man, and one for the rich corporations.

Gary Sachs,

Brattleboro, Jan. 11

Improving
teacher performance

Editor of the Reformer:

Thanks for your thoughtful opinion about improving teacher performance ("Our Opinion," Jan. 11). You are right to balance both feedback and professional learning. One additional element to mention is the importance of student feedback to teachers (which was noted in the Gates report as essential but also potentially controversial). Students know and desire great teaching. When framed properly, student feedback can be tremendously useful for teachers to identify areas for growth and areas of strength.

The second crucial factor for teacher growth is developing strong professional learning communities in schools. A clear sense of school purpose and mission facilitates teachers working closely together to help everyone achieve their best.

Good evaluation involves feedback from many sources -- test scores, multiple formal and informal observations by supervisors and colleagues, and perspectives from the diverse students in our classrooms. Teacher improvement results from faculty who work productively together to support each other and every child.

We all aim to elevate the quality of student learning and professional support. A broad range of feedback is essential to this goal for both teachers and students.

Rick Gordon,

Director, Compass School,

Westminster, Jan. 11

More on gun laws

Editor of the Reformer:

I would like to applaud Gary Mosher for his recent letter on gun laws ("Gun laws don’t work." Jan. 11). He points out that while Vermont has virtually no gun control laws, Washington, D.C., and Detroit with highly restrictive gun laws have extremely high crime rates. He states that "one would surmise that shouldn’t be so because restrictive gun laws work."

What he neglects to mention is that while criminals from Detroit and Washington, D.C .,can’t get guns in their cities due to the restrictive gun laws, they can and do drive to states like Vermont to buy their guns, return home and then commit crimes. So what Mr. Mosher points out is the need for national and not state by state gun laws. Once we have a national gun law we will have a credible way to judge whether restrictive gun laws work.

As for Mr. Mosher’s conclusion that he is very proud of "Vermontahs" receiving a "Big F by Sara Brady’s anti-gun crowd," I might point out that Sarah Brady’s anti-gun organization, not crowd, was formed after her bright and accomplished husband was devastatingly wounded in a shooting while accompanying President Reagan. Sarah Brady knows all too well the horrible results of someone driving to a state like Vermont and purchasing a gun. In my opinion receiving a
"Big F" from her organization is nothing for anyone to crow about, Vermontah or not.

Susan Burklund,

Brattleboro, Jan. 11