Marin IJ Readers Forum July 18, 2022 – Marin Independent Journal

Caring parents should have a say in the curriculum

I think Marin Voice’s recently published commentary by Mark Phillips (“For provocative educational issues, complex answers are needed”, July 11) was well written and defined some issues well.

However, I disagree with him on one point. This involves Phillips’ statement on teaching American history. “Select the most qualified teachers,” he wrote. “Parents should have no say in determining the curriculum.”

Who determines the most qualified teachers? Teachers are the product of a higher education system loaded with politics and fads. Some examples from the recent course include “new math” and “reading whole words”. These are or have been questionable teaching methods, nevertheless, they were taught in order to “qualify” the teachers.

Thoughtful parents are those who see that the results of the program are wrong. From my point of view, parents add a certain value in determining the program as well as in the evaluation of teachers.

—Nick Clark, San Rafael

Organize Starbucks employee support

Starbucks coffee workers at Mill Valley’s Strawberry Village mall lost an application to join the Western States Service Employees International Union by a vote (“Union Effort Fails at Mill Valley’s Strawberry Starbucks,” June 11) . After reading the details of the vote, I believe the circumstances surrounding the outcome are circumspect. Nonetheless, Ella Clark, the 17-year-old barista who initiated the vote and led the campaign, worked very hard to organize the employees for a successful outcome.

In December, Starbucks stores across the country began to unionize to raise starting salaries for baristas, extra pay when the store is short-staffed, advice on credit and debit cards, and a voice on issues such as whether or not to allow mobile orders during a rush or understaffed.

So far, employees at seven Starbucks in California have unionized. More than 100 Starbucks in 25 states have unionized and more are in the process. The momentum is building.

I encourage everyone to join our local groups Freedom Singers and Mill Valley Seniors For Peace when they lead the public on July 22 at 5:15 p.m. in a demonstration in support of Strawberry Starbucks employees. We will meet at Starbucks at 45 Camino Alto in Mill Valley. We plan to sing three widely known union songs to support their efforts and bring some solidarity to their actions: “Solidarity Forever” (1920); “Joe Hill” (1936) and “The Union Maid” (1940). Bands will lead the way and anyone who wishes to join the event is encouraged to sing along.

Be at the forefront of employees seeking to speak out about their working conditions in our own Mill Valley. Express your forever solidarity support as we sing for those who make and serve our lattes every day.

—Deirdre Fennessy, Mill Valley

Appointment process, court size to be set

The recently published letter to the editor by Michael Hartnett implies that he and his fellow Republicans are dedicated to the Constitution and the Supreme Court. From my point of view, Republicans are simply dedicated to controlling the Supreme Court – democracy and the Constitution be damned.

When he was Majority Leader, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell broke with long-standing precedent by denying a hearing to former President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, ostensibly because c t was a presidential election year. McConnell’s “majority” in the Senate was 42 million fewer Americans than the Democratic minority.

The role of the Senate, according to the United States Constitution, is to “advise and consent” on the President’s nominees for the Supreme Court. By denying Merrick Garland a hearing, McConnell violated the Constitution and the rights of the majority of Americans who voted for Obama.

Just four years later, McConnell reversed and slammed into President Donald Trump’s nominee. Amy Coney Barrett was endorsed just days before the 2020 presidential election and after millions of Americans had already cast their ballots.

Americans recognize that the current tribunal is a threat to democracy. He has a 36% approval rating. There is nothing sacrosanct about nine judges. Congress changed the number of people who sit on the court seven times. Adding four seats would bring the size of the court in line with the number of circuit courts and restore a necessary balance. Justice and democracy require an enlarged court.

—Ruth Dell, Tiburon

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