An Honest Teacher Evaluation by BLAKE R. BOWMAN Dad and Principal, Lakes Elementary School I was given the opportunity to write this article because I am the principal at Lakes Elementary School, but the inspiration to write this article comes because I am a father at Lakes, too. I’m in a unique position to examine education from two very unique perspectives. I can watch what happens through the lens of my office, and yet I’m also privileged to see it through the eyes of my daughter Melanie and my son Brennan. Both vantage points offer clarity into the state of education that seems to be missing in most analysis from Lansing and from some media sources. Rockford teachers have shone brilliantly throughout a year in which our profession has been under attack from legislators and the media alike. It’s not easy to consistently give your best each day when you are hearing from all these outlets that your best isn’t good enough. They are wrong! They have never been to Lakes Elementary. They have never spent time in Rockford Public Schools. They have never seen our teachers hug our children, weep over them, whisper in their ears, touch them softly on their shoulders. They’ve never seen our staff wrap their arms around a child who was scared to sing at the talent show and give them the strength to overcome anxiety to realize a dream. They’ve never seen our teachers embrace a child whose father died unexpectedly just a few days earlier. They’ve never seen what time teachers go to bed because they’re still up working. I’ve exchanged e-mails with my teachers between 1:00 and 2:00 in the morning on school nights! Teaching is not an 8:00 to 4:00 job! Critics of our teachers have never seen the pile of receipts for things teachers have bought for their students, or the bills that will go unpaid this month because teachers made sure their students came first. The average teacher spends well over a thousand dollars of their own money on their students annually, providing those things for kids that reduced state funding no longer can. Folks down in Lansing have never seen the adoration in the eyes of our kids when they look up at […]
June 30 2011
A Summary by CRAIG JAMES Over the past couple of months I have written several articles on why I am skeptical over the claim that increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere will bring about catastrophic global warming. Al Gore and others have stated that human-induced global warming “is the most dangerous challenge mankind has ever faced.” Hogwash! That is nothing but a political statement. The correct view of the issue has been summed up nicely by Dr. Richard Lindzen from M.I.T. in his testimony before the House Committee on Science and Technology in November of last year when he stated, “It is not about whether CO2 is increasing; it clearly is. It is not about whether the increase in CO2, by itself, will lead to some warming; it should. The debate is simply over the matter of how much warming the increase in CO2 can lead to, and the connection of such warming to the innumerable claimed catastrophes.” I’ve written about how as CO2 increases in the atmosphere it has a smaller and smaller effect on the temperature—a fact indeed acknowledged even by the alarmists. The catastrophic claims arise from computer models. It has been shown by many in the science community that the models have made false assumptions about what would happen in a warmer world, which leads to forecasts of way too much warming. When we have been able to test those models, we find that the real world temperatures (even if we accept the faulty surface temperature record) are below all of the computer forecasts. The models are wrong. How many more years will be needed of cooler temperatures than forecast before the alarmists acknowledge this fact? Every instance of severe weather seems to send alarmists running to the national media to claim, “It’s even worse than we thought,” or as Time Magazine has headlined, “This is the new normal.” The alarmists seem to have no interest in actually going back through the weather records to find out whether these events have ever happened in the past. They have, and CO2 levels were lower at the time. Several university studies as well as NOAA’s climate science investigators have found no link between any of the recent severe weather events, from […]
Coudray Mrs. Alice Coudray, age 94, of Lowell passed away on Monday, June 20, 2011. She was a very loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother. Mrs. Coudray is survived by her daughters, Mrs. Olga Boos of Rockford, and Barbara and Larry Walls of Florida; nine grandchildren; several great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren; sister, Mrs. Lydia Gullo and her husband, Robert of Staten Island, N.Y.; nieces and nephews. Private family graveside services for Mrs. Coudray will be held at Courtland Township Cemetery. Arrangements were made by Pederson Funeral Home, Rockford. Cook Mr. Alan David Cook, age 49, of Cedar Springs passed away on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 after a brief battle with cancer. He was a 1980 graduate of Rockford High School and studied building trades at Grand Rapids Junior College. Throughout his life, Alan worked for several local contractors and was a past member of Iron Workers union as a welder. He lived life to the fullest and loved outdoor activities, music, operating construction equipment, and was dedicated to hard work. Alan is survived by his children, Kristin and Pvt. 1st Class Chris Barrett of Ft. Hood, Texas, Elizabeth Bonafacio of Zeeland; grandchildren, Grace, Jude and Jovante; his parents, David and Helen (nee Powell) Cook of Rockford; sisters, Susan and Tom Ambrose of Dade City, Fla., Darcy and Thom Rosely of Rockford; nephew, Thommy; and a very special friend, Theresa Burlingame, and grandchildren Taylor, Beau and Cameron of Cedar Springs. Honoring Alan’s wishes, cremation has taken place. The memorial service for Alan was Monday at 11:00 a.m. at Pederson Funeral Home with Reverend Gary Meyers officiating. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to God’s Kitchen or North Kent Community Services. Arrangements were made by Pederson Funeral Home, Rockford. Leys Mark Jason Leys embarked on his crossroads on Sunday, June 12, 2011. He had a brief hard-fought battle against Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) for the past six months. He will be greatly missed by his wife, Naesha; parents, Carroll and Delores Leys of Rockford; siblings, Pam and Lester Cooke, Dan and Mary Leys, Mike and Kari Leys, Gordon and Linda Leys, Shane Buitendyk; nieces and nephews, Michelle Ellsworth, Jeff Ellsworth, Joseph Ellsworth, Breanna and Brendan Leys, Abigail and Nathanial Leys; many dear friends. In December 2010, […]
by JUDY REED A serious accident at the intersection of 15 Mile Road and Shaner Avenue on June 7 in Courtland Township have neighbors wondering what it will take to get a four-way stop put in. “Does someone have to die?” asked Sharon Parker, a neighbor who was at the scene of the crash, and helped lift the SUV off of a teen pinned underneath the tire. Several people have complained to the Cedar Springs Post that it is hard to see at the intersection if you are traveling on 15 Mile. But does that warrant a four-way stop? According to data on the Kent County Road Commission website, traffic volume in the area has grown little over the last several years, and sees about 2,000 cars in a 24-hour period. That’s two-way traffic, so could be 1,000 cars going then coming home. Traffic counts have actually dropped on 15 Mile through that area, between 2005 and 2008, and increased only slightly on Shaner. Tim Haagsma, P.E., director of traffic and safety at the Kent County Road Commission, said that they have to follow a manual put out by the federal government called the Public Manual of Safety Control Devices, when gauging whether an intersection warrants a four-way stop. “We look at both traffic volumes and crash rates,” he explained, “and they have less than one-third of the number of crashes needed.” He went on to say that according to their data, there were three crashes reported at that intersection between 2005 and 2010, and what would warrant a four-way stop would be five crashes in a 12-month period. “That intersection is not near the rate where we’d say a problem occurs,” noted Haagsma. He said that following federal guidelines helps eliminate a proliferation of four-way stops where they could do more harm than good. Haagsma noted that while a four-way stop would reduce right-angle crashes, it would lead to more rear-end crashes. “We always have to look at the trade-off,” he said. But Parker would like to see the guidelines changed, and she is asking concerned residents to call Senator Mark Jansen’s office at (517) 373-0797. “Maybe if enough people call, we can get it changed,” she said. Parker also had a request for […]
In April 2011, Tiffany Michelle Hill was accepted into AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC). She will be based out of Denver, Colo. Hill is a 2010 graduate of Rockford High School as an honor student. During her high school career she was a member of the Rockford women’s rugby team and was in Rockford theater and the pom and dance team. Hill attended her freshman year at University of Colorado in Boulder, where she is majoring in theater. She is the daughter of Tammy Newman of Rockford and David Hill of Kalkaska, Mich. The AmeriCorps NCCC is a full-time residential program for men and women, ages 18-24, that strengthens communities while developing leaders through direct, team-based national and community service. AmeriCorps is an opportunity to make a big difference in your life and in the lives of those around you. It’s a chance to apply your skills and ideals toward helping others and meeting critical needs in the community.