Letters to the editor on education task force, Ballinger, missing news, transgender woman

10/12/2012 12:00 AM

10/11/2012 4:59 PM

Education task force is a farce

Gov. Sam Brownback’s recently convened task force to address inefficiency in school spending is a travesty. The governor failed to appoint a single educator or administrator to the task force, and the first day of the task force’s work was dominated by the president of an organization that openly advocates dismantling public education.

The governor’s cynical and transparent attack on education funding is a symptom of larger misperceptions by many Kansas policymakers: that one need not know anything about education to decide how schools should be run, and that schools are unsuccessful because they’re inefficient and overfunded.

The truth is that most Kansas schools are effective in spite of insufficient funding and because of the expertise, passion and hard work of educators. Kansas’ own Legislative Division of Post Audit has shown direct correspondence between funds for public schools and student outcomes. It should come as no surprise that Kansas assessment scores have dropped after two years of reduced education funding.

If Brownback wants to starve Kansas’ kids of education, let him at least be honest about it and dispense with this farcical task force. His administration has shown no real interest in educating kids more efficiently, only in reducing education funding, even at the expense of reduced success and opportunities for Kansas kids.

STEVE MAACK

Wichita

Re-elect Ballinger

A Democrat and a Republican are running for Sedgwick County District Court judge in Division 13. Gender and race should not play a part in this campaign. Experience as a litigator in the courtroom is extremely important.

A judge should come to the bench after years of making a significant contribution to both the legal profession and the community. A judge should be active in legal associations, and should have given time for volunteer and charitable work, and spent years in the courtroom gaining experience, arguing cases before a jury and increasing one’s knowledge in the law.

Knowledge about the law, a willingness to delve into legal research, and the ability to make decisions that are clear and precise – reflecting sound judgment and a fair, open mind – come only from years of working in the trenches. A judge should be a good listener, courteous in the courtroom, speak from the heart, zealously follow the law and make a difference in the lives of those standing before the bench. Such a person is Judge Richard Ballinger.

For the past 20 years, Ballinger has been considered one of the best and fairest judges in this state. I ask you to vote for experience. I ask you to vote for Kansas’ own born and bred, and re-elect Judge Richard Ballinger.

DONALD E. LAMBDIN

Wichita

Missing news

I opened The Eagle Tuesday expecting to see a headline stating that Mitt Romney had pulled ahead in the polls, as reported by the national news on Monday night. Instead, the big headline was that there was a traffic jam at the location of the picketing at Bombardier Learjet. I had to go to Page 8A to find anything about the campaign, and there was no mention of Romney’s success.

Instead, the article headline read, “Romney talks tough, lacks specifics.” Nowhere in the article did we get the information that Romney had pulled ahead in the polls, nor was that stated anywhere else in the paper. Toward the end of this article, it was noted that Romney would “work with U.S. partners to arm rebels in Syria, make aid to Egypt conditional on the development of democratic institutions – as well as peace with Israel – and advocate an independent Palestinian state coexisting with Israel.” This is more specific than the plans we are getting from President Obama regarding the increased deaths and tension in the Mideast.

When one wonders why our print media are failing in this country, maybe one should consider that our news is only reported from the far-left perspective and conservatives are getting fed up.

JUDY ZIMMERMAN

Wichita

Show respect

On Christmas Eve in 2011, a transgender woman was murdered because she had the courage to live as the person she truly was. A hate-filled man took her life for the same reason. This premeditated, senseless act of violence was never recognized by authorities as the hate crime it clearly was.

On Oct. 4, Kansas.com published a short article titled, “KC man gets 30 years for murder of male prostitute posing as a woman.” Dee Dee Pearson was victimized again.

Pearson, by all accounts, had been living as a woman for quite some time. She was a woman.

Couldn’t the article have been about why this wasn’t prosecuted as first-degree murder? Couldn’t the media have treated Pearson with the respect that is due to all human beings?

Instead, the article participated in the ignorance and discrimination that lie behind the hate and violence that created this tragedy and cause transgender people to attempt suicide at a rate 25 times the national average.

Pearson, like so many of us, lived her life with the courage to be her true self. Please show her some respect.

STEPHANIE MOTT

Executive director

Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project

Topeka

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