Letters to the Editor

From July 8, 2006

Harrison Medical Center

Staff made stay pleasant

Recently, a situation occurred resulting in my being admitted to Harrison Medical Center for a seven-day stay on the orthopedic floor, 3-West. In the past, my experience at various hospitals has been that it can be a lonely, grim, stressful and a very trying time.

This stay however was truly an incredibly remarkable experience. Never have I found myself in such a competent, caring, upbeat, and compassionate environment. The team nurses, nurse assistants and support staff always greeted me with smiles, words of encouragement, laughter and most importantly, incredible compassion. Any call for help was immediately answered, during the low days people were there to encourage me, when the pain got too intense and tears flowed, there was always a hand to hold, words of comfort or a hug.

The nurses and nurse assistants that worked with me went way above and beyond what was expected of them. When I returned from my first surgery (after not eating for more than 18 hours) I was ravenous, but the hospital cafeteria was closed. Without even asking, one of the nurses went out to a deli and got me a big tasty sandwich and bowl of soup. A few days later, as I was brought up from a second surgery, a very special nurse met me and tucked a velvety little bear in my arms. When I looked at the bear, I saw that it had its little foot wrapped up just like mine. When I thanked her, all she said was, “You looked sad going down to surgery, I just wanted to make you feel better.”

I cannot sing enough praise to all the people on 3-West who cared for me during my stay. I am also extremely grateful to Dr. Duff and Dr. Herman for all their hard work and dedication. From the bottom of my heart I thank you, I will always remember your kindness.

LISA KIRKEMO

Port Orchard

26th Legislative District

Seaquist a natural leader

Recently, I attended a party on the deck of the USS Turner Joy to kick off the campaign of Larry Seaquist, running for Washington State Representative from the 26th District. Larry Seaquist served as a competent and effective naval officer, retiring as a captain after thirty years of distinguished service which included command of the destroyer USS David R. Wray and later, the battleship USS Iowa. Capt. Seaquist expressed his concern that the sister ships we call democracy and the American dream are headed for the rocks if action isn’t taken quickly to steer them back into deeper, calmer water.

Capt. Seaquist spoke of the danger posed by our faltering health care system and the growing number of our fellow citizens young, old and folks in the prime of their lives, who aren’t covered by health insurance. This uninsured group of fellow Americans places a heavy financial and resource burden on our entire society. He emphasized the need to achieve health care coverage for more citizens and for preventive measures to prevent the development of catastrophic medical conditions later in life.

The condition of education in our state is another key concern of Capt. Seaquist. He stressed the importance of education and training to prepare our people for the challenges of the present and those of the future. Capt. Larry Seaquist reminded the audience that the training, education and life-long learning of the people of Washington, like that of a ship’s crew, is essential to helping citizens reach their full potential while maintaining a functioning, healthy democracy and vibrant, competitive economy.

As a 13-year Navy veteran, I recognize effective, rational leadership when I see it and I see this in Capt. Larry Seaquist. Therefore, I pledge my support to him and urge all thoughtful, concerned citizens to give their support to Democrat Larry Seaquist as our next 26th District state representative.

ROY RUNYON

Bremerton

WASL … Where is the common sense?

On June 8, 2006, State Superintendent Terry Bergeson released preliminary “Class of 2008” WASL scores. Congratulations to our local school districts that saw some encouraging results from their WASL scores. Unfortunately, that does not change the fact that the WASL and our state’s educational system are failing our students and their families.

OSPI (Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction) has repeatedly claimed that there would be a 20 percent “motivation bump” (the idea being that students would take the test more seriously if it was tied to graduation). Sadly, no such miracle has materialized.

The Washington Education Association has projected that approximately 40,000 “Class of 2008” students are now in jeopardy of not receiving their high school diploma. This seems to have taken Ms. Bergeson by surprise. At a recent press conference, Ms. Bergeson admitted, “We have under funded K-12 education for a long time.” She also said she lacked a solution, especially in math, “I don’t have any brilliant schemes today, but I know we have a challenge.”

The students did not fail the WASL, the WASL and the state’s system failed the students. There is definitely something wrong with the system when 50 percent of the students across the state are not deemed “proficient” enough to graduate from high school –- that is an average of 1 out of every 2 students in 430 high schools across the state. Does this make any sense at all?

Washington state has not invested in its students; instead, an unfair and unjust testing system has been imposed on our public schools. The WASL provides no diagnostic information about a student’s strengths or weaknesses, which make it nearly useless as a tool for improving individual student achievement.

Students who have failed the WASL (were) notified in mid-June that they will have to attend “WASL summer school.” OSPI cannot even provide accurate statewide WASL statistics at this time. Results of the WASL will not be available until the fall, after the summer remediation programs and August WASL retakes. Where is the common sense?

The WEA will continue to advocate locally and at the state level for common sense improvements in student assessment and how the WASL is used.

Instead of informing parents that their kids might not get a diploma, OSPI should apologize for holding students accountable when the state system is appallingly flawed.

SUSAN LEAVELL

WEA Olympic

Poulsbo

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