Better solution than closing pools
Taking early morning swim lessons, walking on sizzling sidewalks to the neighborhood pool, practicing our dog-paddling and side-stroke skills, cavorting in the cool turquoise water with siblings and cousins – these are some of my most treasured childhood memories.
All year long, my siblings and I greatly anticipated our annual summer treks to see our grandparents in Kansas, and our trips to the neighborhood pool were always among the most memorable highlights of our experiences during each hot Kansas summer.
It is most unfortunate that the Wichita City Council voted last week to immediately close six neighborhood pools in Wichita (Feb. 22 Eagle). Drowning the opportunities for thousands of children to create wonderful childhood memories, to recreate and to exercise is short-sighted at best and mean-spirited at worst.
Surely a more creative solution exists for trimming the city budget than to sink the hopes of thousands of children who just want to swim.
Jennifer Fry, Wichita
The most telling and singly accurate message found in Cal Thomas’ recent column was the headline (“DeVos leading in a new direction,” Feb. 22 Opinion). After that, there was a glossing over and a gross minimizing of a proposal that all Americans should carefully observe – then prepare to speak out against.
If the education secretary’s new direction is realized, the public schools in America will be critically and possibly irreparably impacted.
Betsy DeVos substantiates her abject ignorance of the public schools enterprise as she oversimplified how “school choice” might be implemented.
For example, consider presenting school choice to parents within a single school system, such as Wichita. First, the ill-founded assertion is that parents are well equipped to identify the best school for their children. Wrong. Then, the notion that multiple elementary, middle and senior high schools can almost spontaneously adjust their school facilities, faculty assignments, leadership roles, transportation accessibility and the resources being expected by parents is ludicrous. Public schools organization and management would become a nightmare, to the detriment of all students.
Be prepared, American citizens, for possibly being party to arguably the single most counter-productive initiative in modern history – to modify a highly successful and proud institution, our public schools.
John H. Wilson, Wichita
During this congressional recess, Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., has refused to have a town hall meeting in Wichita. Yet he met with an exclusive audience at the Wichita Country Club last week (Feb. 22 Eagle).
What is Roberts afraid of? Congressional recess is a time for Roberts to connect and listen to his constituents.
Roberts’ Wichita constituents want to have a town hall meeting. We have questions and concerns. Where is Roberts?
Denise O’Leary-Siemer, Wichita
Knock on door
When I was a kid, my father told me that in America we didn’t have to fear the knock on the door. Now we have a president, who lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes, single-handedly making this country a much uglier place.
President Trump is hard at work building on the ugliness he has already created, and the fear is everywhere. It’s in our schools, our jobs and our homes. Fearing the knock on the door is real for too many good people.
Kansas should stay out of the immigration business; this is a federal issue. Kansas police shouldn’t become Trump’s henchmen. This would be destructive locally. In Wichita, we want to build better relations between the police and citizens. It takes work, but we are making progress.
It takes a lot of skilled craftsmen to build a house, but one fool with a hammer can knock it down. This is what Senate bills 157 and 158 in the Legislature would accomplish. They would sour relations between the police and the public, and neither would benefit in any way.
Reject SB 157 and SB 158. Don’t be the fool with the hammer.
Russ Pataky, Wichita
Perhaps I am a bit old-fashioned, but many years ago, people with great vision began to develop community colleges all across the state. These schools provided post-secondary opportunities to recent graduates and older folks who wanted to advance their knowledge and skills.
The idea was well received, and public support was immediate. The state began to allocate help in operating expenses, and classes began to fill up.
In some cases buildings were built, and in others evening classes were held in high schools and available community and church spaces. This was a win-win situation that could advance knowledge for students who wanted to stay home and get an advanced education in academic courses and in trade skills and prepare for local jobs.
Something happened and the schools became more of a center for sports activity. Coaches were hired and students recruited for their athletic ability. Many of those athletes came from other parts of the state or from outside the state. In some cases it helped build school spirit, but the original mission of the school began to wane.
There is no reason to say the schools are failing, but there needs to be greater effort toward reaching local students and meeting the needs of the community.
Clyde Vasey, Winfield
Since outsourcing tasks to private industry for profit is such a good thing, I suggest we farm out our national defense to private industry.
We could release requests for bids and choose the lowest bidder. This would surely work better than having our inefficient government do it (this is a basic tenet of our political philosophy).
When a conflict breaks out in the Middle East, our private supplier holding the contract would fight for us. However, if there are too many successive conflicts, the provider might raise our rates or cancel our policy altogether. And because the Middle East would be a pre-existing condition, we then couldn’t get anyone to offer us another policy covering it.
The primary purpose of many important services is not to provide an opportunity for private industry to perform them for a profit. It is to provide the uninterrupted service itself to all our citizens, best done by a single payer, our federal government. This is true for national defense, and it’s also true for health care.
Thomas W. Lezniak, Wichita
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