Author: Lyndon Zaitz

Preparing students for work

It has been a few years since we first visited the Career and Technical Education Center (CTEC) on Portland Road in north Salem. Initially, there was residential construction and welding classes only in the massive building. Now, hundreds of students from Salem-Keizer high schools are taking classes in manufacturing, engineering, cosmetology, auto body repair and painting, and—most stunning—drone technology, robotics and video and game design animation. These are classes that prepare our students for tomorrow’s jobs. Salem’s CTEC is the first public-private partnership of its kind. Dozens of tours each month show off the center to educators from around...

Read More

Keep the net neutral

The Federal Communications Commission is on track to end neutrality on the world wide web in December. The public needs to rise up, contact their Congressional representatives and demand that net neutrality be maintained. Net neutrality may be a term that technical folks understand; the term itself is not Average Joe friendly. What is it? Why does it matter? Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers must treat all data on the the same, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication For instance, under...

Read More

For my holiday tradition I’ll say Christmas

By LYNDON ZAITZ We’re in that traditional transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas and other December holidays. On the fourth Thursday of November, many of us gather around a dinner table and solemnly say what  we are personally thankful for: good health, a job, a family, the new Taylor Swift CD and so forth. Then, on the day after, Black Friday and onward through Dec. 24, the focus is on what we want, not what we have. Wish lists are written and rewritten. Our Christmas would be great if only someone would give us the newest widget or the shiniest...

Read More

A glorious holiday for every home

Does anyone need to be reminded that next week is Thanksgiving? Television is filled with soft-focus ads showing families enjoying preparing and eating the holiday dinner. This weekend every store that sells groceries will be packed with shoppers picking the fixings for dinner. Many of us will step back and marvel at the sight of the table with its themed-holiday centerpieces, the ‘good’ china and cloth napkins. After dinner many will either be cleaning up, suffering a food coma or watching a football game. Some, though fewer of us, will be preparing for the frenzy of the Black Friday sales at stores and malls throughout the region. Roll back the tape of that Norman Rockwell-esque scene and start over at a Keizer household where abundance is rarely seen and the reasons to give thanks seem to belong to someone else. In a rich nation there are too many families who can’t take part in the great American pageant of our Thanksgiving rituals. The lucky families are able to get to the food bank for generous donations of food. The unlucky families treat Thanksgiving as just another Thursday. We ask that as Keizer families shop for their Thanksgiving dinner, they add extra items to their basket that can be donated to help every family enjoy the holiday. Every store has a bin for food donations that will be donated to...

Read More

Sex reporting will do more harm than good

Salem-Keizer School District’s decision to enforce a standing Oregon law is causing quite a stir. The law the district is instructing its teachers and staff to follow is Oregon statute 163.315, which says a person under the age of 18 is incapable of consenting to a sexual act. The child abuse mandatory reporting guideline requires teachers and other school employees to report if they believe two students under the age of 18 are having sex, even if one of their own children is involved. The renewed focus on this issue came after a member of the community  asked for clarification of the statute. Every story has two sides. The school district responded to a question and decided that the existing state law needed to be heeded. Teachers were informed by the school district that they would need to take additional mandatory reporting training. The response from teachers and students alike was swift and generally opposed to the school district’s focus. Rightly, some teachers expressed that many students turn to them or school counselors to discuss intimate details of their lives including sex. That’s because some households do not welcome discussions of sex, especially discussions of gender identification. Teachers invite and welcome discussions with students because they understand how home life can be for some kids. Some parents think the schools should take the lead on sex education; others think...

Read More