Letters to the Editor

This is Viewpoints for Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Registered nurses

Monday’s reporting on the shortage of nurses was very informative. However, the photo and caption are in disagreement with the reported requirements to be a registered nurse. Shalunda Williams, a lovely lady, is shown with an RN ID card, however it states she has a two year degree. Seems there is an error somewhere.

-- James A. Graf Sr.

Warner Robins

The minimum requirement to become a registered nurse in Georgia is an associate degree in nursing from an accredited college or university approved by the Georgia Board of Nursing and successful completion of the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses.

-- Editors

Bias alert

Concerning the article “Iran nuclear agreement risks projecting U.S. weakness.” You might offer a disclaimer that the author, Dan Perry, resides in Jerusalem, has written articles in support of Prime Minister Netanyahu, and this article first appeared in the Israeli newspaper, the Jerusalem Times. Perhaps this is not the impartial “analysis” it appears.

-- Robbie Collins


No city debt?

The current problems the Macon-Bibb government has meeting the required 5 percent per year reduction for the first four years of consolidation are self-inflicted by the new government’s decisions. During the public meetings prior to the consolidation vote, the voters were repeatedly told that the residents of the then-unincorporated portion of the county would not subsidize or pay taxes to cover the debt of the city. There was no mention of a schedule for elimination of the city portion of taxes and the meeting statements led voters to believe the city tax would remain in place until the city debt was paid off.

After consolidation passed, the government decided to continue the current city tax for a six month period, then cut the tax in half for 12 months before eliminating it completely. This decision is not required by the consolidation law and is the source of the current budget problems. It contradicts the statements made prior to the consolidation vote. Does anyone believe the former city’s debts have been paid by paying reduced taxes until January 2016? I am confident the debt has not been paid off and commissioners have stated in several articles that elimination of the city tax is the source of the current budget problems. They will not admit that they are now essentially transferring the debt to all taxpayers by eliminating employees which will result in a loss of services to all residents.

I understand the editor of the Monroe County paper penned an editorial at the time which stated that Jack Ellis was the best thing that ever happened to Monroe County. He can now accurately write a similar editorial stating that Macon-Bibb consolidation is the second best thing for Monroe County and for the other surrounding counties.

-- James Dennard


Support clean water

Last night I had the opportunity to attend a town hall meeting hosted by Environment Georgia in celebration of World Water Day which featured a clean water panelist forum and discussion about clean water issues. Through the meeting, I was able to learn more about the EPA’s Clean Water rule as well as other water-related issues from the local to the global level. As a student, it is great to attend these kinds of events and learn more about policy affecting the water sources in my community.

From business owners to sportsmen, and environmentalists to children, the people of our state rely on waterways like the Chattahoochee. Recognizing the value of clean water, last March the EPA proposed a rule that would clarify federal Clean Water Act protections to nearly 40,000 miles of streams here in Georgia.

I’m concerned about protecting clean water so that the actions of polluters today won’t destroy the water sources that I and future generations will rely on.

Studying Environmental Science in my classes has helped me better understand the need for this type of legislation given the severity of environmental issues today. I urge lawmakers to continue to speak out in support of EPA efforts to restore protections to our state’s streams and wetlands.

-- Jamie Landa


Raise standards

The all-wise Georgia General Assembly approved, and the governor signed, relief for students from 1994-2011 who did not get their diplomas due to failing one portion of the graduation exam. Let’s review the bidding. When they were students, the Georgia High School Graduation Test was a known requirement. It has since been superseded by other measures of their competence, but for them it was a valid requirement. They were denied their diplomas if they did not pass all elements of the GHSGT. Fast forward to my personal experience with any number of these students as a Georgia high school teacher during that period.

Those who failed the test were given: a) multiple opportunities to retake the test, b) extra help and coaching along the way, and c) no end of encouragement. The results were consistent. They continued to fail. Why? In a nutshell, either they did not care, or were unable to master the content despite desperate measures. A news comment that these students had “good grades, but just failed a portion of the GHSGT” makes me question exactly how they got these “good grades” if they could not master the content sufficiently to be able to pass the test. I saw it daily. Some were passed to keep them moving along. Others were passed to get them out of the classroom. Some were passed because their age reached the maximum.

If there is to be any value to a Georgia high school diploma, the standards must be upheld. There is no point in just giving someone an unearned diploma. It cheapens each diploma actually earned. In my time as a high school teacher, I saw us coddling students, accommodating vociferous parents and stressing the fun aspects of high school instead of the hard work necessary to be successful. We saw the results in poor graduation rates, high discipline rates and low school system ratings.

If Georgia needs anything in education, it is to raise both its standards and expectations. Stop coddling students and demand performance out of them. This lackadaisical attempt to allow backpedaling on Georgia high school diplomas is a step in the wrong direction. Life does not reward back-pedalers.

-- Peter Christensen

Warner Robins

Comply Wal-Mart

The FY 2013 Pay Plan for Wal-Mart employees, confirmed by Lynette McNeil, indicates that the definition is “Base Pay Rate: Associate’s hourly rate of pay comprised of facility start rate, any position pay grade incremental value, applicable annual increases and applicable work experience credits. Base Pay Rate does not include differentials.”

Wal-Mart needs to comply with its own Field Non-Exempt Associate Pay Plan.

-- William Smith