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Outsourcing can save the day

Readers' Letters

Regarding the sale of the Mount Tabor yards (Mt. Tabor repair yard has seen better days, Nov. 21), once again the Mount Tabor neighborhood comes to the rescue of taxpaying Portlanders.

There is no question that having a central maintenance yard used to be standard fare. No question either that some of the structures need replacing.

If one looks at a couple of advertiser periodicals like The Capitol Press or the Nickel Ads, they'll find that metal pole structures are very reasonably priced and can accommodate the existing use at the yards.

In the event of a major catastrophe like Hurricane Katrina, having submaintenance yards throughout the city makes some sense, but there are numerous contractors throughout the city that are equipped to respond to any emergency with a myriad of equipment.

Why not outsource? In an emergency, would we really care whether a backhoe shows up with 'the City That Works' painted on its side or 'Fred's Backhoe Service'?

Greg Schifsky

Southwest Portland

On writing, teachers share common goals

Jennifer Anderson's Nov. 14 article 'Rote is out, written is in' contrasts three teachers regarding Portland Public Schools' writing reforms. In truth, we share strikingly similar beliefs.

We believe reform depends on the expertise, leadership and professional growth of the teachers implementing the changes. We believe the most effective path toward teacher excellence and student growth begins with carefully planned, teacher-led professional development.

We believe that children need relevant and rich literacy experiences and that teachers are the most qualified to tailor this instruction.

One-size-fits-all assignments can never replace quality instruction. In fact, district-mandated, common assignments - without meaningful collaboration among teachers - will only lead to less reflection, less refinement, a weakened collegial culture and rote achievement from our students.

Mark Hansen

fourth-grade teacher

Clarendon Elementary

Steve Brand

fifth-grade teacher

Chapman Elementary

Katharine Johnson

sixth-grade teacher

Irvington Elementary