A sampling of readers' letters, faxes and e-mail.

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Teachers’ strike

Micromanaging a problem in schools

Editor, The Times:

Good for the Bellevue teachers! They stuck to their conviction that cookie-cutter lesson plans stifle the teachers’ creativity, neglect the individual learner and ignore the fact that each class is different, even on the same grade level [“Bellevue teachers ending walkout,” Times, page one, Sept. 15].

I retired from teaching high school after eight years, not because I did not like it, but because of administrative interference. Constantly, new ideas were trickling down from the superintendent, the school board and other administrators — the very people who were not in the classroom. And with every new principal or superintendent, different methods were introduced. What existed — considered the best in education two or three years ago — was thrown out for something even “better” or “newer.”

The Bellevue School District does not have an excellent reputation because it has a standardized curriculum, a micromanaging School Board and superintendent. Its students are well-prepared for college because of excellent teachers and caring parents, and because students are taught how to think independently.

— James Behrend, Bainbridge Island

Monitor progress in Bellevue schools

Now that the Bellevue School District has given in to the demands of the district’s teachers and their union, I think the school district should be required to list all of the lost programs and increased class sizes due to the lost revenue.

Also, they should now have to post, on a regular basis, the academic standings of the district by school so that the public can see if they improve, or at least maintain, their high levels of achievement.

The residents of Bellevue are entitled to see what their money is getting.

— Robert Oberlander, Issaquah

Presidential election

Palin unqualified, underprepared

Republicans should immediately withdraw the nomination of Gov. Sarah Palin for vice president — much less president, should McCain die while in office.

It is clear that Palin is completely unqualified and unprepared for this job. I say this not because she is a woman but because it is well-documented that she is socially narrow-minded, poorly informed about complex current events, both nationally and internationally, and scientifically illiterate.

She may be a media goddess and a good shot, but she lacks even rudimentary awareness of the complex realities of the world today and only parrots simplistic answers provided by the backroom crew, even when those answers don’t match the questions!

And the “bridge to nowhere” line? Do they think that if she repeats it enough times that people will believe it’s true? Sounds a lot like the Bush approach, doesn’t it? Some reformer. A better term would be “hypocrite.” What does Palin really believe? It’s hard to tell when you can’t trust what she says to be true.

The bottom line is, militarism and condescension toward other nations, divisive culture wars and political deception at home is the Republican message — the real bridge to nowhere! This year, we have a real alternative to four more years of Republican tricks. Sen. Barack Obama is, at his best, a truly visionary leader — a man who has a coherent, inspiring message of hope, intelligence and compassion.

I believe Obama will become the first great leader of the 21st century — he articulates the very best our country has to offer. I believe he can unite us and bring reconciliation both here and throughout this troubled planet. As for the limited vision and petty insults of the McCain-Palin campaign, I say, resoundingly, “Thanks, but no thanks!”

— Mark Egger, Seattle

Be afraid, liberals

Gov. Sarah Palin’s arrival on the political scene has liberals in fits. They simply can’t stand the possibility that a happy, God-loving, gun-toting, abortion-rejecting professional woman may derail the Obama coronation train.

Imagine: This feminist antithesis, complete with lipstick and high heels, may bring about four more years of “disastrous” Bush policies. You know, those policies that threaten to upset the balance in the Supreme Court and win the war in Iraq? To hear them whining, you would think it was Marx or Chavez who was overrunning the country. No wait — that would make them happy!

Instead of feeling joy with the possibility of the first woman vice president, they are beside themselves, attempting to find any dirt that will prevent such a historic event from happening. Scores of Obama supporters are descending upon Wasilla, Alaska, in hopes of finding the death pill for her campaign. Biased media “journalists” are now throwing smoke when Hillary only got softballs.

Obama didn’t “get it,” but his audience did when he uttered the lipstick comment. What will smokin’ Joe Biden have in store?

You want to make this campaign about issues? Fine. Let’s talk about the senator’s record of accomplishments and not Palin’s lipstick.

— Mark L. Bowers, Issaquah

Make GOP fix deficit mess

I had a dream that after voting Democratic in presidential elections for 44 years, this year (groan) I voted Republican. After reading David Broder’s “The next occupant of the White House will have to pay the piper” [syndicated column, Sept. 14] in Sunday’s Times, the logic of voting McCain-Palin-Bush-Cheney back into office came to me.

Broder states that the Congressional Budget Office announced that whoever wins the White House will inherit a budget deficit of at least $500 billion. I say, since Republicans have been in control for at least 28 of the past 44 years, they could be aptly called the “party that wrecked America.”

When I was raising my kids, there was a popular method called P.E.T. or Parent Effectiveness Training, which teaches, among many things, that children must be held accountable for and suffer the consequences of their actions. In other words, if they make a mess, they have to clean it up.

It makes perfect sense to me, then, why not let the Republicans clean up their mess? Why worry if Sen. John McCain, at age 72 and a so-far cancer survivor, shouldn’t be able to complete his term? We would have Gov. Sarah Palin. After all, she doesn’t even know what the Bush Doctrine is, so how could she possibly continue to carry it out?

Sadly, this is not just a dream, this is a nightmare!

— Phyllis Waldenberg, Port Ludlow

GOP values at fault for failing economy

Republican Sen. John McCain acknowledges that our economy is in serious crisis, but has he not been in Congress for the past 26 years? Did he not hire his good friend, Phil Gramm, the king of deregulation, to be his chief economic adviser?

It is McCain’s own Republican values that are the root cause of our economic woes.

— David Vold, Poulsbo