From the pages of
The Sublette County Journal
Volume 5, Number 7 - 10/12/00
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Will This Never End?

County Commissioners Betty Fear, Gordon Johnston and Bill Cramer sure look and sound cute when they pose for pictures in the Pinedale Roundup or give juicy quotes to the Casper Star-Tribune bashing Governor Geringer or ExxonMobil when it comes to the never-ending Exxon valuation case. They certainly relish the media spotlight, and being characterized by oil and gas-hating reporters as small-government crusaders fighting against big government and corporate injustice.

Watching all this play out, I can't help but giggle. My giggling stops when it comes to the bottom line, money. By now, the Commissioners have spent upwards of $250,000 of our money in legal and consultant fees in their crusade. And there's no end in sight. Next month we will be paying a consultant between $75 and $150 per hour to leaf through 2 million Exxon documents from its LaBarge Operations. I can't wait to get that bill.

Will this never end?

Dr. Glas and the EMTs

I have to trust that the Rural Health Care District Board made a thoughtful and correct decision to terminate Dr. Ron Glas' contract at the Pinedale Clinic. I've heard some rumors about the reasons behind their decision, but I have no facts. I only hope Dr. Glas' dismissal was not the result of vicious politics up at the clinic.

Concerning the paid EMTs issue, I fear that we're headed for a train wreck next month. Gary Wilson and the Pinedale EMTs want three paid EMTs for round-the-clock guaranteed service. While the Health Care Board is open to some type of paid service, I'm very doubtful it is willing right now to spend $217,000 per year for the contract Mr. Wilson envisions. If the Board isn't given some other options, their answer could be no. Then what? I'll leave it up to Mr. Doorn and the members of his committee to find some middle ground.

WyCAS and Accountability

I can't let Mr. Terrell's letter to the editor and Paul Rock's column in this issue go by unanswered. First, Mr. Terrell made my point for me. In his long, eloquent letter, he never took professional responsibility for what his students are supposed to be learning. In my editorial, I wrote, "If Wyoming's education professionals don't like the WyCAS as a measure of accountability, then they need to come up with another one."

Here was Mr. Terrell's response, "...I believe that accountability is truly measured by what my students walk away with from my program." Uh huh... Isn't this kind of like having students grade their own tests? Mr. Terrell, a true professional and public servant embraces accountability and welcomes scrutiny. He or she doesn't "sheet-rock" out that scrutiny, or take every criticism as an "attack."

Finally, Mr. Terrell asks me if the paper is ready to be held accountable. As his letter demonstrates, there is no more transparent a business than a newspaper. All my work is out there for all to see. I want and expect to be held accountable. And I welcome and thank Mr. Terrell for his letter and criticism.

Concerning Mr. Rock's column, perhaps he's not concerned that according to the most recent WyCAS scores, 71% of Pinedale's fourth graders are not proficient in math, or that according to School District No. 1's own 1999-2000 Shareholder's Report, just 37% of eight graders are proficient in social studies. Maybe he thinks it's the parents' fault. Maybe he thinks the solution is to send more money to the schools and not expect better results in return. I don't agree.

I do know there are problems with standardized testing as the only measure of accountability. Teaching to the test is one problem. The lure to cheat is another. I'm not convinced the WyCAS is the sole answer, but I do think it should be in the mix.

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Publisher/Editor: Rob Shaul