Letters to the Editor

School psychologists, CSU, Senate, drought

School psychologists needed

Re “Region hit by lack of substitute teachers” (Page A1, Feb. 23): Substitute teachers are not the only credentialed school personnel in shortage crisis mode. So are school psychologists.

During the recession, school psychologists were among the first professionals laid off. With few job prospects for graduates, several of the state’s universities reduced or ended their school psychology graduate programs.

Now there is a new recognition of the need for professional mental health services in the schools. Funding is now available, but there are not enough school psychologists to go around. Many school districts are desperate to hire school psychologists and have turned to employment agencies that even offer signing bonuses.

Instead of increasing places in master’s programs in school psychology, the California State University and the University of California are reducing and, in some cases, dropping programs. It’s time for these outstanding institutions to take another look at this rewarding profession and rebuild their programs.

Heidi Holmblad, Sacramento, executive director, California Association of School Psychologists

Lecturers benefit students

Re “CSU hurts students by hiring too many part-time lecturers” (Viewpoints, Feb. 18): I’m weary of columnists bemoaning the use of lecturers in the California State University system. Lecturers – mostly dedicated part-timers – are the lifeblood of teaching. I was educated in the CSU system and after 20 years in the professional world, I taught four classes a semester for 15 years as a part-time lecturer.

Too many tenured faculty members downplay teaching because promotions are based on research rather than on student learning. So you have all these full-time faculty members burrowing away at breathtakingly unimportant research, frantically trying to get published in journals no one reads – all to advance within the system.

It works well for them, just not for anyone else, such as students, the community or the state. What a waste.

Jan Shaw, Fair Oaks

Bill backlog nothing new

Re “Blame Reid for Congress’ woes” (Letters, Feb. 24): The letter writer cites the GOP’s talking points correctly, given that the Senate under Harry Reid had nearly 350 bills awaiting action after being passed by the House. However, the points themselves are flawed, since historically there is nothing unusual or unique about bills queued in the Senate.

According to data from GovTrack, 11 of the past 19 Congresses had more than 300 bills waiting for Senate action at adjournment. Indeed, there were nearly 200 or more House bills pending in every Congress of the past 40 years.

The worst example? The 110th Congress, when more than 700 bills passed in the House were ignored by the Senate. Why wasn’t this an outrage then? Because Democrats controlled both the House and Senate. So if anyone should have been upset at the Senate, it should have been then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Richard Brown, Orangevale

Deal swindles taxpayers

Re “California will pay $24 million to settle lawsuit over building sales” (Capitol & California, Feb. 23): California taxpayers should not be on the hook for this $24 million. The deal that the court decision addresses was put together by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and one of the world’s largest real estate companies, CBRE. On CBRE’s board of directors is Richard C. Blum, husband of Sen. Dianne Feinstein and University of California regent.

CBRE was to handle both the sales and the leaseback of the public buildings for sale, so it would make money coming and going. In this legal settlement, Blum’s outfit will profit at the expense of California citizens. No wonder California First’s attorney Angela Agrusa crows that “It’s an excellent outcome.” For Blum’s investment partners, it is. For California taxpayers, it’s a swindle. Can’t the state auditor investigate this?

Kathryn A. Klar, Richmond

Many teens are overloaded

Re “Pampered high school kids” (Letters, Feb. 23): I suggest those of you who think kids are pampered, lazy or irresponsible watch the film “Road To Nowhere.” Most students are not exhausted from staying up with their video games and TV programs, but from the heavy loads of homework and activities imposed by teachers, parents and themselves.

This movie is terrifying. I saw it at my grandson’s high school and encourage you to have a screening at your child’s school. Or at least watch it online. But please stop generalizing and calling all of our young people lazy.

Stephanie Surber, Sacramento

Build a water pipeline

Re “Hope on fallowed fields” (Page A1, Feb. 22): Every year, the Mississippi River and its tributaries wreak hundreds of millions of dollars in damages from flooding. If we can build an oil pipeline from Canada to Texas to transport the dirtiest oil on the planet to be refined in Texas, wouldn’t it make more sense to build a water pipeline from the Mississippi River to Lake Powell in Utah, a huge, half-empty impoundment on the Colorado River that drains into another half-empty impoundment at Lake Mead, which serves millions of acres in the western states?

If current weather patterns are to be the new norm, I’m surprised this hasn’t been considered sooner.

Sam Rolin, Auburn

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