Letters to the Editor 2017-04-27


Earth Day has become something of a joke, an ineffective gesture now pretty much forgotten. But nobody told Eugene Weekly.

Last week’s “Sustainabilty Issue” (4/20) is about consumer choices and an overall acceptance of environmental disaster – really nothing at all in terms of stopping it. Tiny moves like collecting rainwater and a new fiber-optic internet system for downtown.

The only thing this orientation “sustains” is the basic set-up that drives the continuing disaster. Global warming is caused by industrialization.

And mass production produces mass society, which becomes ever more unhealthy; the daily gunfire, waves of opioid ODs, chronic disease, a cyber landscape of isolation, loneliness, depression, anxiety – community and even friendship markedly on the wane.

A superficial approach, which accepts the basics of techno-industrial modernity, guarantees the catastrophic result. Every civilization has failed, now there’s only one left, with everything at stake. Let’s look deeper and challenge the deep-seated course of ruin.

John Zerzan, Eugene


Since the inauguration of Donald Trump, LGBT protections have come under fire from all branches of government. Nowhere is this more blatant than at the departments of education.

As a college student and a member of the queer community, this is deeply personal. No student should have to worry about encountering discrimination or intolerance on campus. As a community, we have an obligation to fight back on a grassroots level, and school boards are the first line of defense.

I support Matt Keating and Melanie Muenzer for Lane Community College’s Board of Education because they are both proven advocates for LGBT rights and protections. By returning Keating and Muenzer to the board, we send a strong message that Eugene will not allow bigotry and intolerance to take root.

Jordan Golder, Eugene


I am truly disturbed by the Board of Education’s decision to close the Early Childhood Education program at Lane Community College.

This should not happen for a numer of reasons, including:

Oregon State’s “Quality Rating and Improvement System” raises the bar for those working in Early Education. The only way to get 4 or 5 stars is through higher education.

Portland State’s Oregon Center for Career Development has also been working for years to increase the education level of those working in the field of Early Education. To rise to higher levels in the “Oregon Registry,” college credit course work and/or degree is a must.

To be an assistant or aide in a Head Start classroom now, you are required to have college coursework or a degree in Early Education.

Our students go into the community for practicum experience, which benefits the community. Childcare programs will no longer have this opportunity.

We need educated professionals working with our children.

Parents need to know that professionals are caring for their children.

Please join me in supporting the Early Childhood Education Program and contact the Board of Education at Lane Community College with your concerns.

Pamela DuVall, Eugene


“In science,” my chemistry professor told me, “there are no ‘alt-facts.’ Thorough investigation produces hard evidence.”

President Obama’s administration invested in science education. Conversely, Donald Trump treats science as opinions and “alternative facts.”

Since science is not a priority to the GOP in Washington, D.C., we must rely on local leaders to support Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs. Lane Community College board candidate Melanie Muenzer fought for STEM programs during her seven years in Obama’s Department of Education. Matt Keating has done the same in his years of service on the LCC Board.

With the Geographic Information Science (GIS) program on the cut list, LCC’s recent budget woes are another example of science education under fire. I hope Muenzer, Keating and their board of education colleagues continue to support science at LCC; that’s one of the many reasons why they have earned my vote.

It was nice to see Muenzer and Keating march with Rep. Julie Fahey and Congressman Peter DeFazio in support of science last weekend at the UO. It will be even nicer to return Muenzer and Keating to the LCC Board of Education this May.

Michael Tobin, Eugene


The Willamette National Forest and the Eugene BLM have planned more than 8,000 acres of logging within Eugene’s municipal watershed, the McKenzie Watershed. Most of these timber sales (Green Mountain, Goose, McKenzie Landscape, McKenzie View) are composed of pristine native forest.

The Forest (Lumber) Service and BLM have learned to deceptively label logging of natural stands as a “thinning.” This assures them that local forest protection groups will “go along to get along.” To a forester, the term “thinning” only applies to management of tree plantations.

Many Eugene residents know the McKenzie River’s pristine water is derived from the Collier Glacier and other diminishing glaciers on the Three Sisters peaks. However, the Collier Glacier is predicted to disappear within a decade or two.

When this happens, the thousands of miles of small streams flowing off native conifer forests and ancient soils will become vital to the McKenzie and Eugene’s citizens. The toxic tree farms on the lower McKenzie will not sustain our community with a safe supply of water.

The Willamette National Forest and Eugene BLM, through these ecosystem-destroying timber sales, are mounting a direct attack on our community’s resiliency to future climate extremes, Eugene’s safe water supplies and economic stability.

Shannon Wilson, Eugene


We support Judy Newman for 4J School Board, position 3. As teachers in Eugene for over 30 years and leaders in the teachers’ union, we met and worked with committed community leaders and educators who stand up for kids and who understand and respect the role of teachers as professionals. Judy Newman is one of the leaders at the top of that list.

Newman will get things done for kids. Judy will fight for public schools. Newman is pro-teacher. Newman is by far as dedicated and effective as anyone we worked with for our kids, and Newman has a track record of 35 years in this town advocating for kids and public education.

Please join us in supporting Judy Newman for 4J School Board, position 3.

Paul Duchin and Merri Steele, Eugene


Oregon’s Working Families Party has endorsed Evangelina Sundgrenz for Eugene 4J School District Position 6 and Jerry Rosiek for Positon 3. Sundgrenz is running unopposed. Rosiek is in a hotly contested three-way race.

All three candidates for Position 3 are highly qualified, but Rosiek stands out because he stands up. Our public schools are at risk, under attack from corporate interests pushing vouchers, testing and for profit charter schools.

Rosiek offers strong leadership. He founded Eugene Parents Concerned About Testing. Rosiek will speak up and work to bring Eugene together to defend and improve our public schools.

With either of Rosiek’s opponents, we’ll get more of the same. This is no time for school district business as usual. Vote for Jerry Rosiek.

Stefan Ostrach, Eugene

Editor’s Note: Go to eugeneweekly.com for a full array of the 4J school board election letters EW has received. 


As early childhood educators for over 30 years, we were dismayed to hear that the LCC Board of Education is considering the elimination of its early childhood training program. How can our community afford to lose this most valuable educational asset?

The demand for early childhood care and education programs continues to increase, with numerous studies demonstrating the critical importance of educational experiences during the early years. A key component of quality early childhood programs is the quality of the teacher(s).

The National Association for the Education of Young Children says: “We can invest now in our children and families and enjoy long-term savings, with a more vibrant nation of healthy, achieving children and more stable families. Or, we can fail to make the investment and pay the price: increased delinquency, greater educational failures, lowered productivity, less economic competitiveness, and fewer adults prepared to be effective, loving parents to the next generation of children.”

Our future preschool educators need to have access to an affordable, two-year early childhood education. All young children deserve excellent early childhood care and education. We urge the LCC board to retain their early childhood education program. Our community cannot afford the absence of this most foundational training program.

Please leave your comments to the Board in support of the early childhood training program online at lanecc.edu/board.

Christopher & Deb Michaels, Eugene



Public education, having experienced more than two decades of underfunding with passage of Measure 5, has eliminated programs (PE, music, arts, librarians, counselors), increased class size and decreased school days while trying to remain responsive and relevant.

These conditions point to the importance of electing school board members who understand the institution and impacts of policy decisions. Jerry Rosiek, experienced and willing to challenge status quo and assumptions, is prepared to assume an active role on the 4J Board of Education.

Formerly a classroom teacher of physics, Rosiek currently conducts education research and assists in coordinating and administrating education programs in the School of Education at the University of Oregon.

Rosiek brings experience-based understanding and sensitivity to impacts of district policy in the classroom. He will be able to ask the right questions in decision-making processes and will take into consideration what classroom teachers know. As a former community college instructor, I value this kind of leadership.

The stakes are high. School districts throughout the state will need to find ways to implement unfunded mandates created by Oregon voters when they approved Measure 98 (reintroduction of vocational classes) but rejected funding in Measure 97 (tax on corporations doing business in Oregon).

I urge readers to join me in voting for Jerry Rosiek for Position 3 District 4J School Board.

Michael R. Rose, Eugene


I had the opportunity to learn and work with Jerry Rosiek as a student teacher in the UOTeach program back in 2012. Rosiek is a compassionate leader and his vision to create equitable classrooms with a focus on social justice is inspiring. His openness to hear multiple perspectives and engage in conversation with different groups of people informs his sincere commitment to education.

As a person of color, I wanted to change the public school experience for others and serve marginalized communities. I chose to attend the UOTeach program because of its mission to focus on culturally relevant pedagogy and equity literacy.

Now into my third year of teaching high school in Portland, I am a stronger leader and educator because of the UOTeach program, and I thank Jerry for his vision and commitment.

Aimee Joe, Happy Valley


I have been teaching in Eugene’s 4J school district for almost 15 years and, while we have had many distinguished school board members over that time, I am especially excited about Jerry Rosiek’s candidacy.

In chatting with Jerry, it became clear to me that he understands the key issues facing our schools. He knows that increased funding is the most important factor in bringing down class size.

Instead of trying to do more with less, as we in education have done for years, he will tirelessly advocate within our community and in Salem to fund our schools at a sustainable level.

What impresses me most about Jerry is his determination to deal with tough issues. He will fight back against unfunded mandates from the federal government and defend our schools against the Trump Administration’s attacks on public education.

While his track record as a science teacher, education professor and parent shows that he can collaborate to get things done for students, he will also speak out and shake up the status quo when necessary.

I am thrilled at the prospect of having Jerry’s voice on 4J’s school board and I hope you will join me in supporting him.

Kyle Yamada, Eugene


Jerry Rosiek is exceedingly well qualified for 4J’s School Board. Jerry takes the cake, in my mind, for three particular reasons.

First, he is more multi-culturally aware than almost any white man I know. Jerry is at ease talking about micro-aggressions and the causal factors leading to socioeconomic and ethno-racial disparities in schooling.

These are sophisticated topics that few people are comfortable addressing. His research on school segregation and emotional scaffolding is groundbreaking. (The latter refers to how teachers can bridge academic concepts through student-centered metaphors.)

Second, Jerry has spent a life in service to narrowing disparities such as those aforementioned. This began at least by his early 20s, when he was teaching calculus to immigrant and first-generation Southwest youth, facilitating their academic growth beyond what anyone else in their community thought they were capable of.

More recently, he has committed himself to exposing potential pitfalls of the standardized assessments that are currently being employed across our state.

This brings me to my third point: Jerry brings a world of nuance to education through his ability not only to see how decisions might impact struggling and marginalized students, but also because he knows how to follow the money.

Who designs our children’s tests, their motivations, and the ways in which the results they produce are used to make decisions about students matter. Jerry knows this and, as a 4J board member, will bring our community into deeper, richer, and more illuminating conversations on all the topics mentioned, and many more.

Jenoge Khatter, Eugene


I am a retired elementary teacher who has taught hundreds of Eugene children and gotten to know their parents. In some ways I feel like all of Eugene is my extended family.

I want my Eugene family to know that Jerry Rosiek has my hearty endorsement in his campaign to be elected to the 4J School Board. He is highly committed to equity and will help us work even more toward our equity goals. He is supportive of teachers, of hands-on learning, of science education, of teaching in a way that is developmentally appropriate, yet highly educational.

Jerry Rosiek is a professor in the University of Oregon College of Education in the Education Studies Department. I enjoyed getting to know Jerry and his wife, Alison Schmitke, through teaching their daughter in kindergarten. They are huge supporters of public education for all kids and have ideas to keep our school district sound and progressive, no matter what happens with the current administration in Washington, D.C., and the recent appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education.

Please join me in voting for Jerry Rosiek for Eugene 4J School Board!

Polly Moak, Eugene


We are proud to endorse Jerry Roskiek for Eugene 4J school board, position 3. We have known Jerry for more than 10 years and know him to be the social justice advocate that our schools need. Jerry does not just talk about inclusivity and quality education for all; he has the record to back it up.

Evidence of his commitment and track record include: having written an award-winning book on class and race segregation in public schools; having taught in a 90-percent Latino school district where he received national media coverage for his science and math program that helped first generation students earn admission at flagship university programs; and securing more than $1 million to support the education of indigenous students to become future teachers.

Our local schools face many challenges and we need a leader who is unafraid to advocate for change so teachers can have the necessary resources to meet the needs of all children.

Lisa A. Mazzei, Phillip C. Prince, Eugene


4J School Board candidate Judy Newman cares about kids. She has dedicated her life to doing everything she can to ensure children get what they need to be successful in school.

Judy has worked collaboratively for 40 years with the partners that provide the supports necessary for kids to maximize their potential. She respects individuals and institutions that play essential roles in kids’ success, and helps form partnerships that provide the stability and structure to navigate changing times.

Judy’s work with the Oregon Department of Education, Lane Educational Service District and individual school districts is highly regarded and deeply respected. These experiences and relationships will inform her work with the board and help address the serious challenges ahead.

The work Judy does in the Early Intervention world as founder and co-director of EC CARES helps create a foundation for all children to make progress and enter school ready to learn.

The school board’s goal is to give students an excellent education by investing in them because they are our future. Judy will contribute to these goals with her fiscal, policy and administrative skills.  

These times require creative solutions, strong and caring leadership, and passion for the highest quality education for all children. Elect Judy Newman to the 4J School Board!

Katy Bloch, Eugene


This year we have the opportunity to elect someone to our school board who we truly know will stand by our students and our teachers. Jerry Rosiek is a strong candidate for position 3 because he has made education his life’s work. From his experience teaching science and math in the public-school system to his leadership in the University of Oregon’s teacher training program, Jerry has proven that he is deeply committed to a strong, healthy, and just education system.

As a graduate of the UOTeach program, and now a high school teacher and university professor, I in many ways have Jerry to thank. Jerry helped shape a program that taught me how to support students within an education system that often fails them. He taught me to fight for equity no matter how difficult the struggle, and his leadership inspired me to be a staunch student ally and a teacher activist.

It is obvious that we need Jerry on our school board, and we need so many more like him.

Sam Krop, Eugene