Letters to the Editor – Weekly Issue of April 12, 2010

Readers write in about teacher's jobs, where to put nuclear waste, and the US attitude to war.

Teachers know best

Regarding the March 22 article "Teachers' jobs tied to student tests": The article points out some of the risks of using benchmarking tests and student achievement to assess teachers' performance.

However, school districts must find some way to slough off teachers who are not making the grade.

My wife and I, both educators of many years' experience, have seen teachers unions shield teachers who, because of negligence, sloth, or simple incompetence, should be fired.

Every teacher in a school knows who is not pulling his or her weight and not giving our children the education they deserve. The good teachers are just as frustrated with these colleagues as administrators and parents are.

Unions must find a reasonable way to help administrators effectively weed out underperformers instead of trying to protect everyone's jobs at the cost of a better education for all our children.

Matthew A. Wyszynski Akron, Ohio

Where to put nuclear waste

Regarding the March 22 article, "What to do with nuclear waste?":

The piece suggested several single methods that might be used to dispose of high-level nuclear waste since the Yucca Mountain facility has been taken off the table by the Obama administration.

May I suggest we employ two of the methods suggested in the article? The first is to treat the spent-fuel rods by accelerators as fast-neutron reactors.

The second is to bury the nearly radioactively inert fuel rods, just as we do with low-level nuclear waste at Barnwell, S.C., about 40 feet below ground. That way, spent-fuel rods could be buried within the state where they were generated.

Scientists at the Yucca Mountain facility, after 23 years of study there, were doubtful that the rock can contain the high-level nuclides for a million years. The approach I am recommending renders the high-level waste to low-level status. After 100 years, there will be no significant activity in the rods.

Ron Bourgoin Edgecombe Community College, Rocky Mount, N.C.

US attitude to war

The March 22 cover story about our society's attitude toward current war efforts, "An American town talks about war," was very necessary. Public indifference is inexcusable. We could achieve real progress if we pulled together.

We should support the families of our gallant military. Why do we throw away millions on sporting events while ships and planes await vital repairs?

We must demand that our legislators eliminate pork-barrel spending and finance crucial military equipment.

Marjorie Wallace Redwood City, Calif.

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