Cover, April 16: “Time’s Out for the Rio”
Drip, Drip, Drip
Yes, clocks are dripping, and time is running out for the negligence shown our sacred rivers. As a community, we have failed to show the proper amount of outrage toward the development of Santa Fe and the political powers that seem eager to rubber-stamp this rampant growth with little or no acknowlegment of a water crisis. Laura Paskus’ wonderful exposé should be required reading for Santa Fe city and county officials. Whether future generations will enjoy the river is in their hands.
I live in Rancho Viejo, where we have been at odds with the developer and county politics that would seem to be in collusion in declaring open season for runaway residential and commercial development. All of this with no clue as to the sustainablity with regard to water issues. Given what Paskus has stated, there should be a moratorium on further development until there is a comprehensive water plan for our future. Instead, the powers that be are building while Rome burns (translate: while the Rio dries up).
Reading the article on the Rio Grande stirs vivid memories of paying regular visits to its wonderful places in the 1990s. While in Albuquerque, I studied the river, birded, photographed and marveled at the profuse verdancy, which contrasted so starkly with surrounding aridity. Sadly, New Mexico’s riparian ecosystems are rapidly becoming more like those surroundings as a result of human activity.
An avaricious species has no right to dam and divert the earth’s rivers. We have not mismanaged the river; we are outright destroying it, while complaining that it can’t seem to meet our endlessly increasing demands. Regarding “fish versus farmer,” based on our behavior, the wildlife should win its fruits, not humans. Unfortunately, it is too late and we are all losing.
Water rights are inherently inequitable because they depend on the utilitarian model of natural capital, inviable in a world divorced from nature. That is why there is a problem with people using the river for mindless entertainment, because this attitude falls short of the collective appreciation needed to preserve an ecosystem for the long term.
Scott M. Smith
Cover, April 9: “Education Exodus”
I Need You
Appeal to teachers and employees of Santa Fe Public Schools: Don’t resign or retire just yet. Your community needs you.
Teaching is an honorable profession that deserves respect and support. Together we can take back our status as education professionals dedicated to our students and our discipline from the profiteers who want to privatize our public schools, demanding high-stakes testing in the name of so-called “reform.” They value only the bottom line. Students and the art of teaching and excitement of learning are of little concern to them.
We need to take back our profession from the administrators who challenge proven teaching methodology and replace it with an avalanche of unnecessary paperwork and the latest fad-of-the-month strategy that will supposedly turn it all around. We need to take back our profession from our superintendent and his “cabinet” who have little faith in our expertise to “engage” our at-risk students. For years, we have asked the district to create many different alternative placements for middle and high school students, such as technical and vocational programs that will lead to higher-paying stable employment. Our proposals have been ignored.
Many of our students are dropping out because they need to support themselves and their families financially. When we allow poverty to disrupt a student’s potential, we are failing them. I challenge our newly elected mayor to address teenage homelessness and poverty and find concrete solutions from our community members themselves.
Superintendent, we are not insubordinate employees when we assert our professional opinions about what curriculum is best to teach children, what the length of our lesson plans are, what texts we select or assessment tool we use, because we know those professional decisions do not shame students, but build them up while measuring growth. We can’t allow principals following directives from upper administration to ban field trips to museums or national parks or to ban recess or celebrations in a classroom, such as birthday parties. These simple acts of kindness are extensions of learning and socializing that keep our students grounded and excited about learning. It indicates to them that we care about them even if their family circumstances are not ideal. For many students, their school is home in the best sense of the word. The safe, loving environment they crave sadly is being eroded away because of constant standardized testing and ridiculous mandates that strip teachers of their professional judgments.
Please join us in the revolution to take back our profession and unleash our students’ curiosity and help them find the joy of learning about the world around them and compassion for each other.
Mayer is the National Education Association New Mexico’s Santa Fe president-elect.
Cover, April 2: “I Saw it on Facebook, it Must be True”
While the CDC says we need more research to determine whether using a cell phone increases risk of brain or breast cancer, we might ask why the US has no studies that speak to this question. To begin, our telecom companies won’t turn over subscribers’ usage data to epidemiologists.
Besides the CDC’s assessment, wireless technology users might consider that underwriters like Swiss Re warn of “unforeseen consequences of EMFs” to health from wireless technologies and advise insurance companies not to provide liability for such damages.
Or, consider the American Academy of Pediatrics’ warnings that pregnant women, infants and children should not use cell phones. For more research, please visit www.electronicsilentspring.com
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