This week the State Board of Education launched an anti-vaping campaign in public schools. This is a big step in the right direction. In 2019, more than 25% of high school students and about 7% of middle school students reported using some type of tobacco product in the past 30 days, and one in five high school students reported using e-cigarettes – an increase of 78% from the previous year. These new products pose unprecedented threats to ending tobacco use and nicotine addiction.
At the American Heart Association, we’re working to end all tobacco and nicotine addiction by first minimizing the use of all combustible tobacco products and ensuring e-cigarettes and new products do not addict a new generation. Reaching the tobacco endgame and preventing usage among youth requires policy. We praise the state board for taking the first steps. Public policy that enforces sales of vaping products, raising the age for purchasing vape and tobacco products to 21, and including vaping into the state’s smoke free law is critical to protecting all Kansans. We urge the Kansas Legislature to take these important policy steps.
Kevin Harker, Wichita
On June 21, at the Advanced Learning Library, Fundamental Learning Center is hosting a pop-up conference on dyslexia. Why? First, one in five of the total state population is dyslexic. Second, Kansas is the only state in the nation that does not identify and classify dyslexia as a learning difference.
The Kansas Legislature appointed a group of professionals from across the state to make recommendations on identifying and teaching of students with dyslexia. The findings from their report will be presented at the June 21 conference. By attending, you will learn the root of the reading crisis in Kansas and how it can be solved.
The latest national reading scores tell us that 63 percent of Kansas 4th graders do not read at grade level. These children may never master reading because the typical 4th grade curriculum has children “read to learn” not “learn to read.” The result is children who feel dumb and whose school and life success begin to diminish dramatically.
Now, not all of those children are dyslexic. Even for those who have more common reading difficulties, the structured literacy approach, endorsed and taught by the Fundamental Learning Center, used to teach those with dyslexia, will help ALL children learn to read.
For more information, or to register for the conference, visit funlearn.org.
Jeanine Phillips, Fundamental Learning Center
Only in Wichita can a driver get a ticket for “illegal use of a horn” for honking at a motorist in front of him at a green light who is not paying attention. Yes, 6 seconds isn’t much time for most purposes in life, but for a driver sitting behind someone not paying attention to the light it is certainly enough time to honk the horn to get his attention. If the person’s reaction time is that slow, he shouldn’t be behind the wheel. If he simply is not paying attention, what more polite way is there to get him to notice? For the poor guy in the car 10 or so back in the line, it likely means not making the light. What if, instead of politely honking one were to stick one’s head out of the window and yell “Hey buddy move it will ya?” or worse? Is that illegal also?
We all get distracted once in awhile and expect a toot on the horn of the car behind us. But a ticket? Really? The driver not paying attention could have been given a ticket for impeding the flow of traffic or failure to obey a traffic control device if the cop wanted to be nasty about the incident.
Ron Lyon, Wichita