Letters to the Editor

Carns mistaken in arguement

In Mr. Carns’ article in the Community Viewpoint on Friday, Nov. 13, he stated that “Not a single legitimate study has ever shown where smaller class sizes have ever increased learning in schools. Never.”

This is an incredulous comment given the fact that there have been numerous studies spanning many years showing just the opposite.

In 1978, a landmark study by Glass and Smith reviewed 80 research reports on the relationship between class size and achievement, obtaining more than 100 comparisons from “well documented” studies of smaller and larger classes using rigorous statistical analysis and found that “as class size decreases, achievement increases.”

Studies have also shown that not only does learning increase but there are also other important outcomes. Dee and West used a nationally representative data base of eighth grade students and found positive effects on non-cognitive skills such as student attentiveness and positive attitudes about learning as class size decreased.

Diane Whitmore Schanzenback in her “Does Class Size Matter?” policy brief to the National Education Policy Center in Boulder, Colorado, in February, 2014, considered the considerable body of research and provided the following: “All else being equal, increasing class size will harm student outcomes and long-run human capital formation resulting in more substantial social and educational costs in the future.”

As a teacher, I have taught classes with 40-45 students and classes with 15-20. The amount of time spent on teaching and guiding individual students in their learning is inversely proportional to the amount of time spent on classroom management as class size increases. Any teacher will tell you the same.

I challenge Mr. Carns to spend a few days in a large-size classroom and a few days in a smaller class and see for himself the difference or just Google class size studies and read for a few days the results of the numerous studies.

This is not a political statement for or against Mr. Oscarson.

Marilyn Swango, PhD

Oscarson should be praised for funding education

So Nye County Republican Chairman Bill Carns thinks State Assemblyman James Oscarson lacked courage by voting for a tax increase designed to improve public education in Nevada.

He also believes the number of children in a classroom has no bearing on how well those students will perform. As a retired educator, I realize people like Mr. Carns consider themselves “educational experts” because they attended school 40 to 50 years ago. My advice to Mr. Carns is to stand in front of 40 students and see how well you are able to educate them.

I applaud Governor Sandoval (remember Bill, he’s also a Republican) and James Oscarson for properly funding public education. When I lived in Wisconsin my property taxes were three times what they are in Nevada. However, for decades Wisconsin students ranked in the top two of all states in terms of test scores. I would explain the correlation to Mr. Carns but I think it would fall on deaf ears.

Sadly, Bill Carns is satisfied that Nevada students rank near the bottom of all 50 states in student achievement.

Bill Carns is satisfied that students are crammed into overcrowded classrooms and must share textbooks.

He is satisfied that teachers are not supplied with the resources they need to properly educate our children in the 21st century.

The Republican chairman is satisfied with the current level of taxation even if the school buildings in Nye County are in need of repair.

I would like to make a simple suggestion to the people of Nye County. If you are satisfied with the current state of public education in Nevada, then vote for the Tea Party hack that Mr. Carns will endorse in the next election. If you think our children deserve a quality education with updated materials and well-trained teachers, then vote for James Oscarson.

Finally, I would like to make it clear that money alone will not improve the test scores of our students. Parents, teachers, administrators, politicians and students themselves must work together and make education a top priority in this state. We can see significant progress if we realize that the status quo is just not acceptable.

Dennis Crooks

Correcting the record

I would like to correct this incorrect zoning info quote attributed to property owner Ray Mielzynski aka “Flagman”.

“When the commissioners approved this back in 2007, they made it complaint-driven, which means you can have the cats and other large animals as long as nobody complains, so you won’t need a conditional use permit,” he said. “There are four other big cat places here that do not have this conditional use permit because nobody complained about them.”

When the Title 17 animal zoning was proposed in 2007, I was vehemently opposing it.

http://archive.pahrumpvalleytimes.com/2007/Oct-26-Fri-2007/news/17517191…

Unfortunately, it passed. Those of us who were at the existing location were grandfathered in and therefore didn’t need a CUP, (Conditional Use Permit) but we still have to be inspected on a yearly basis. If we ever moved, we would need to apply for a CUP at the new location, since the CUP is attached to the physical location, land, dirt, NOT the person who owns the animals in question.

There were no tigers or any other special condition animals on Flagman’s property when Title 17 dealing with exotics (called ‘Special condition animals’ in Nye County code) passed. Therefore his property was NOT grandfathered and that is why his property needs a CUP for tigers, simple like that. It has nothing to do with complaints, and I am getting tired of suggestions and innuendos that some of us, local law-abiding exotic animal owners, are getting some kind of special treatment, or free ride, because nobody complained about us.

There is nothing to complain about, because we are in full compliance in our current grandfathered location where we lived with our exotic animals since 2000, long before any zoning on animals was implemented in Nye County code.

Zuzana Kukol

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