Reader letters, April 2
Brown will long be remembered
To the editor:
While I was waiting at the funeral home the afternoon before the funeral of Robert Brown, I saw hundreds of friends who loved him. We stood in line for hours to pay tribute with loving words to his family.
The funeral service was filled with meaning and beauty as so many remembered a special man who had blessed this world in powerful ways.
And to top it off was the magnificent tribute written by editor Vicki Hyatt in The Mountaineer (March 26 ). Her words breathed life into memories that will never go away from his many friends.
The pictures are beautiful and will keep the memory of this hero alive forever to his dear family and to our country. There is overflowing thanksgiving for his life that was lived in power and love. We are blessed to have read so much of it in our newspaper. Thank you.
Lucy N. Adams
Education is being sabbatoged
To the editor:
Thank you for your splendid editorial last week, “Don’t watch silently as public education is diminished.” As you said, the repair of the massive damage that’s being done to our schools begins with the November election.
Haywood County voters may want to consider that Rep. Michelle Presnell and Sen. Jim Davis are too much a part of the problem to be trusted with the solution.
No external enemy could reasonably hope to do more damage to the United States than to sabotage our most universal and most important institution: the public school.
Why, in state after state, are Republican legislatures doing this? The pattern is the same. Reduce per pupil funding. Siphon money to unaccountable private and charter schools, sometimes owned or managed by profit-seeking corporations. Demonize, demoralize, disempower and divide the teachers.
To hear the perpetrators, one reason is to tax less so as to improve the state’s economy. But, as the North Carolina Justice Center reported just last week, it didn’t work in Kansas and it won’t work in North Carolina.
Another excuse is “choice,” the mantra to rationalize flight from the public schools. But the aid offered poor students is far less than the tuition charged by quality private schools. It is simply a subsidy for wealthier families.
A 2013 film, “Now You See Me,” made the point that the secret of a magician’s deception is to distract the audience from what’s really going on.
The anti-education black magic act is a cynical and venal plot to reward rich contributors with huge tax cuts, to fatten the bottom line for private school corporations, to destroy the teaching profession because its members tend, for good reasons, to support Democrats, and yield in the end a population too poorly educated to look for the charlatans behind the curtains at Raleigh and other Republican capitals.
Martin A. Dyckman
Case for education was well-presented
To the editor
Thank you for your editorial in the March 28, issue of The Mountaineer.
Dr. Nolte made the positive statement “Every Child” should have a “free and appropriate public education”.
My definition of an appropriate public education is that every child should have the opportunity to develop his/her abilities to their highest level. Our schools were accomplishing that with “No child left behind” at one end of the spectrum and Governor’s School at the other.
That progress was effectively stopped by state funding decreases since 2008. The state has eliminated class size above the 3rd grade.
Dr. Nolte reports that in Haywood County instructional supply funds have been cut a third.
Teachers have had no pay increases. The general assembly legislative initiative includes changes in tenure, issuing vouches and setting up charter schools without supervision of educational content.
I see two courses we can take. Individuals, parents, PTA/PTSA/support groups, community organizations, civic, social clubs and fraternities, churches and businesses can provide the needed provisions and funding for our schools. This will help regardless of what the state might do.
The second and very important, we must know the legislators for whom we vote. Not what they promised or said they have done but what they did or will do.
Doris B. Hammett, MD
Be wary of labor statistics
To the editor:
North Carolina’s unemployment rate fell again in February, and the Republicans in charge of North Carolina are crowing. However, when you look at the numbers behind the statistic, there is nothing to crow about.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs available is actually down 11,300 since January, after the state lost more than 7,000 jobs in January.
The reason for the dip in the unemployment rate is because the state’s labor force decreased.
Many people, some of them the long-term unemployed, are dropping out of the job market and are no longer counted in the unemployment rate calculation. More than 60,000 people gave up and left the job market since February 2013. The jobless are moving out of the labor force instead of into jobs.
I fear that North Carolina’s recovery from the 2008 recession will continue to be anemic until Republican policies, including tax cuts for the rich, tax increases for the poor and middle class, funding cuts to education and infrastructure, and refusal to expand Medicaid which would have added 25,000 jobs, are reversed.
Please vote for your pocket book in 2014.