25th Annual Leaf Lookers GEMBOREE :: Friday, October 17 - Sunday, October 19 at the Macon County Community Building

- published 8/21 (Larry) old link: http://www1.cfnc.org/applications/NC_Community_College/apply.html?application_id=1527

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Opinion Letters

Recently “SSI Surveys” popped up on my caller ID and in a moment of curiosity I answered my phone. I figured it was a political questionnaire and it was. What I didn’t anticipate was a veiled attempt by Jim Davis and/or his operatives to misrepresent Davis’s Senate voters while misquoting and selectively editing the positions of his State Senate opponent Jane Hipps.

For example, would I be more or less likely to vote for Jim Davis knowing he voted for an 11 percent raise for North Carolina’s school teachers? Left unsaid was this was a one time raise given at the expense of tenure and future raises and would cut teacher assistant jobs. I replied less likely. How about if you knew he “lowered your taxes?”

Truthfully, this “tax cut” benefits only the wealthiest 20 percent in our state. Poor and middle income citizens will see higher taxes with the repeal of the Earned Income Tax Credit and the movement to a flat tax system where 4 of 5 North Carolinians will pay more in taxes. I emphatically replied, less likely.

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This is a follow-up to my comments in the letters column printed the week of June 26th in which I pointed out that we were doing quite well when it comes to poverty.

The poverty level in 1972 was $4,137 and the poverty level for 2013 was $23,550.

Wow! Big difference. But, let’s take a moment and connect the dots to see what we have.

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I would like to offer some empathy to Gary Puckett of Franklin (MCN 7-3) although I have to say he has somewhat burst my bubble. I have long thought Jackson County harbored the most reckless and inconsiderate drivers on the planet, with one possible exception (Italy). In Italy they drive with one foot on the gas, one foot on the brake, both hands on the horn.

I will also state (perhaps this will comfort Mr. Puckett some), driving in Sylva and Dillsboro these past 14 years has made me a better driver, and most certainly a more cautious one.

It is common knowledge that you drive in accord with road conditions and the circumstances are (in Jackson County at least) that if you drive you are going to be tailgated and if you're on a road with curves you must assume the next car you see coming at you will be speeding and on your side of the road.

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What is the Macon County school system thinking with its $500,000 lease/purchase of 750 iPads for their new “oneto- one” initiative for every high school student? That’s $662 per iPad!

I love technology, having owned iPhones, iPads, Macs and PCs over decades. However, I have also been concerned about how our education system has been spending over those decades on “technology” that has not been shown to improve student outcomes. That spending has greatly improved the bottom lines of computer manufacturers, educational software developers, and recently, electronic book publishers.

I recommend Todd Oppenheimer’s book “The Flickering Mind: Saving Education from the False Promise of Technology.” It could be summarized in one sentence from the book: “If computers are so great, why aren’t we seeing great things by now in our schools?” Exactly!

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