Hateful acts don't represent Wichita
I am heartbroken that someone has been striking out in hate against the west-side Islamic mosque ("Burned mosque had received hateful letters," Nov. 1 Eagle). These acts cannot be allowed to stand as examples of what Wichita represents. Such acts serve as a reminder and an invitation to all of us to reach out to each other in positive, supportive ways.
A foundational value of the true practitioners of all the Abrahamic faiths is hospitality — reaching out to others, even those we do not yet know, in the spirit of respect and caring. We cannot allow ourselves to become too complacent, too defeated or too fearful to live out that early covenant with God.
We need each other now more than ever.
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The Kansas Policy Institute is not "blaming schools" ("Don't blame schools," Oct. 30 Eagle Editorial). We are using Kansas State Department of Education data to point out information that too often doesn't find its way into school district or KSDE press releases about student achievement or K-12 spending.
There is a very simple way to get all the facts to readers, parents and teachers — have the State Board of Education, KSDE, the Kansas National Education Association and the Kansas Association of School Boards have an open, public discussion about the facts with KPI and others. Sadly, each of those entities refuses to do so.
Some Kansas kids certainly get a good public education, but both district and U.S. Department of Education data shows that many other kids have very low achievement levels, especially among Hispanics, African-Americans and low-income students.
KPI believes in public education and is working hard to find ways to improve student achievement, which, despite spending billions more over the past decade, remains unacceptably low. We will continue to fight to ensure that every Kansas student, in every community and from every income level, receives an effective and challenging education. This can happen in a way that also ensures tax dollars are being spent effectively.
President and CEO
Kansas Policy Institute
Well, Gov. Sam Brownback has done it again. By vetoing the budget supporting the arts back in May, he managed to deny Kansas access to 2-for-1 matching funds from federal and charitable resources ("Kansas told it won't get any federal arts funding," Oct. 28 Eagle). This shortsighted approach to the budget was surpassed only by the devastating cuts to education.
Martin Luther wrote in 1538: "Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world. . . . A person who gives this some thought and yet does not regard music as a marvelous creation of God must be a clodhopper indeed and does not deserve to be called a human being; he should be permitted to hear nothing but the braying of asses and the grunting of hogs."
I, too, hear braying and grunting, but it seems centered in Cedar Crest.
As a proud citizen of the only state in the nation not receiving funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, I'd like to thank our governor for providing a creative outlet for Kansas artists. Now they can make license plates ("Arts Commission to revive special license plates," Oct. 29 Local & State).
One of those protesting Koch Industries said, "There's only so much money to go around and only a few people have it" ("Protesters march on Koch HQ," Oct. 30 Local & State). That statement showed an abject lack of understanding of economics and wealth or poverty, and should discount this group's credibility to about zero.
It would help if this group occupied their brains with a little economic education, and not the kind supplied in the government laboratories.
JOHN C. MAGNUSON
Good police work
I want to express my appreciation to the Wichita and Bel Aire police departments for their work Saturday at the march on the Koch Industries headquarters (Oct. 30 Local & State). Officers were friendly and professional at all times and did an excellent job handling the issues that came up during the march. It couldn't have gone better. They deserve a raise.
In preparing for the upcoming Christmas and Valentine mail collections, Friends of Our Troops would like to extend special thanks to West Douglas Church of Christ in Wichita. Led by Phyllis Sadler, it was again the top church in Kansas in the most recent campaign.
Participating with the church were Girl Scout Troop 234, Camelot-Riverside Academy, Northwest High School, West High School and Daisy Troop 281.
Cards and letters are received from across the nation, mixed thoroughly, divided into hundreds of packages, and then sent to military units across the United States and around the world.
For information on how to join the Fan Mail for the Troops campaign, contact Friends of Our Troops, P.O. Box 65408, Fayetteville, NC 28306. The troops will thank you, and so do we.
Friends of Our Troops