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Letters to the Editor

Candidate forum moderators need to be unbiased in presentation

I make a practice of watching the City Council meetings to personally see how council members lean in their votes and perspectives and I always look forward to the Candidate Night Forums to have an additional opportunity to observe incumbents and new candidates. I so appreciate Stu News Newport for keeping us aware of upcoming election forums and now that we can participate online, it makes it even easier to stay informed. 

I watched the Corona del Mar Residents Association Election Forum on Wednesday evening moderated by Alex Crawford and Riley Hayes of Good Morning Newport. The forum gave us an opportunity to view four of the candidates (Brad Avery, Jeff Herdman, Nancy Scarbrough and Noah Blom) for city council. 

For the most part I was able to get some perspective on the candidates, but I felt that the moderators leaned inappropriately when presenting questions.  Disparaging comments about our governor and state leadership when presenting questions was leading and lacked the objectivity desired when leading a public forum. This biased approach did not support the overall opinions of this community and should have been left out of the moderator’s role.

I hope the future candidate nights will have a more balanced approach to presenting questions and responding to candidates’ responses.

Thank you again for providing this most worthwhile source of community information.

Carol Tomlinson

Newport Beach

Parents want kids back in classroom and a change in teachers’ attitudes

Reopening our schools is imperative for our students and takes the “can do” attitude of students, parents, staff and teachers. Sadly, it appears that “can do” is not the theme of the Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers (NMFT). In the past two weeks, the union has orchestrated letters to the local newspapers, garnered attention from TV news outlets, and organized a caravan through the school community to insist that the Newport-Mesa schools do not open until it is safe to do so. Now the NMFT seeks a legal injunction to force the schools to close back up.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) determined the timing and protocols for a safe reopening and published a Framework for K-12 Schools and “School Sector Reopening Guidelines” to guide the school reopening and mitigate risks for students and teachers. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also recommended in-person learning for students. Multiple experts have concluded that remote learning is not effective for most students, despite the Herculean efforts of teachers, administrators, and parents.

Sadly, this week, teachers from Corona Del Mar and Newport Harbor High Schools violated the trust of parents by using the school email system to ask parents to join them in “demanding the delay in reopening so that a better, safer, and more effective plan for your child’s education is developed.” No proposals for what a “safe” reopening should look like have been in any of their demands, despite the fact that the reopening plan is compliant with the state guidelines.

Included in the letter was an entire paragraph of NO’s and a laundry list of all the things the students and teachers won’t be able to do. They argue that the hybrid learning model with students being on campus part-time is worse than students not being on campus at all.

Does the union think of the teens who are crying out for in-person teaching, crying out to be part of their school community, and crying out against being on their screens all day? Does the union consider the uptick in depression and anxiety that sent at least three of our high school students to the hospital last month? What about the education gap for low-income and minority students that is widened with remote learning? Does the union claim that they know better than the CDPH, the CDC, and the AAP? Do they want virtual learning to continue until COVID is nothing but a bad memory?

As NMUSD parents who love our teachers and our students, we appeal to the very best in all of us...Let’s have our teachers, administrators and district staff work together with one goal in mind: Bring our students back to school. Let’s not focus on the NO, let’s focus on the YES! YES, it will be challenging. YES, it will be extra work, and YES, our students deserve to be with their beloved teachers at their school campuses.

To the Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers – join us in working together to have a successful reopening of our middle and high schools on October 12th. YES!

Respectfully,

Concerned Parents of Corona Del Mar High School and Newport Harbor High School

 

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