Worried about our schools? Get involved, Out-of-state interests kill a good bill

Worried about our schools? Get involved

I feel inspired after seeing the great slate of community members who stepped up for the two school board positions and see this as sign for positive change. I have hope that the budget woes will wane in 2012 and that teachers can again be rehired. However, the note I just received from my daughter's kindergarten teacher says there are now 31 students in her classroom. Just try and imagine that daily feat; corralling 31 five- and six-year olds!

Therefore I resolve myself to once again figure out how I can effect change in our school district.

As there must be many people like myself in the community with equal resolve, despite the universal challenges of time, money and interest, I propose some suggestions for action.

• Become a library volunteer for a class for just 1 hour a week to help ease the gap of all the media specialists that were cut.

• Give $40-$125 for an athletic participation fee and you will give a student the opportunity to play a sport.

• Clean out your closets of clutter and donate items for arts and crafts projects, classroom supplies, school events or fundraisers. Call your local school to see if they can use them, or email Connie Potter, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

• Contact a school near you or your child's teacher to ask how you can volunteer your time.

• Love the arts? Volunteer to help in the Art Literacy program at one of the elementary schools. Check out an engaging, self-contained box of materials about a variety of artists like Escher, Monet or Georgia O'Keeffe and present lessons in classrooms.

• Go to the district website, and click on the donations tab to read about specific materials requests from teachers. For example, I saw a need for yarn, healthy snacks, small toys and prizes, copy paper and gently used medical supplies for the athletic trainers.

Just think if each of us did one thing, just one thing . . . what a difference the lasting change we could affect and the differences we could make as individuals.

Elaine Jane Cole

Forest Grove

Out-of-state interests kill a good bill

House Bill 4142, which would have expanded the state's purchasing preference for recycled paper to include giving priority to recycled paper produced in Oregon's paper mills, was killed in the Oregon legislature despite bi-partisan sponsors, grassroots pressure, public testimony and a coalition including [labor and environmental groups].

It was a bill that would have replaced deforestation in Oregon with recycling mills, using Oregon's resources to create jobs in state while protecting our environment.

What is particularly vexing about the defeat of HB4142 is that the powerful interests who opposed it, the paper mills are, among others, Georgia Pacific, which happens to be owned by the notorious Koch brothers.

As a multi-national corporation, Georgia Pacific is positioned to actually benefit from the off-shoring of Oregon's mill jobs, instead of keeping those jobs in Oregon.

You might say this the way things always happen in Salem, and we just need to suck it up and accept it. It's true that the legislative process is unpredictable and sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose.

But what is unacceptable is a system that has become so distorted by corporate influence that common sense legislation can be killed so quickly and quietly by lobbyists who choose to operate behind the scenes.

This gross misrepresentation of the will of the people to our detriment is precisely why the 99 percent has lost all faith in the government's ability or will to serve the majority of its constituents. This 'democracy' is dysfunctional, and it needs fixing, especially if Oregon, or any other state in the union, is ever going to pull itself out of this economic crisis.

Karen Alexander-Brown


Contract Publishing

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