Letters to the Editor

Letters on attacks on education, county cuts, highway deaths, prison reform, illogical health care

Education going in wrong direction

National-level legislation has placed more and more demand upon public school teachers to produce, yet they aren’t properly funded nor given more time with which to achieve these results. Increased testing has taken time away from teaching.

At the state level, school districts have been underfunded and teachers and their unions have been bashed. As a result, teachers are leaving the profession at high rates and college students are not training to go into the teaching profession.

In the meantime, Kansas legislators have reduced business taxation and have passed legislation that will allow businesses to write off private school scholarships to students – with a $10 million annual cap. They are also championing school vouchers and charter school programs – and their goal is still eliminating the state income tax.

Public education will go down the tubes, as private education will survive with the best remaining teachers that money will be able to find. Public education will still exist, but will be taught by those who can be found to do so for low wages, in large classroom situations, for the students who can’t afford private education or are not able to attend.

Is this the direction that you are willing to see education go in Kansas and in our country?



A better way?

Following the new Sedgwick County budget adopted by our commissioners, I have decided to donate my $1.37 property tax reduction to the Sedgwick County Zoo, Exploration Place, Wichita Area Technical College, various economic development efforts, the health department, the Arts Council, Riverfest and the city-county planning department. That should be about 15 cents each. I hope each of the homeowners in the county will do the same and support these important programs that enhance the quality of life in Sedgwick County.

Wait, maybe there’s a better way….



Shouldn’t happen

It was just over a year ago that two women and a teenage boy were killed on K-254. It should not have happened.

We were told by two Highway Patrol officers that there had been an all-night party where drugs and alcohol were available. The Butler County Sheriff’s Office had been called for the disturbance.

The blame lies with the person or persons allowing the party on their property, the person or persons furnishing the mind-altering drugs, and, mostly, the Sheriff’s Office for not taking the young man to the hospital for help.

The young man was released to his father, who took him home and put him to bed, and hid the car keys. The father then went to bed. The young man got up, found the keys, and drove to K-254, where he turned west in eastbound lanes. My daughter, Nancy, and her former daughter-in-law were headed east. We were told they had gone to the shoulder to try to prevent this head-on.

All three involved were killed.

I’m writing this to ask all in authority to do their jobs as they were trained. We don’t want this to happen to other families.

My faith sustains me, but not a day goes by without my feeling of sadness and loss.



Reform prisons

The Wichita chapter of the National Organization for Women supports President Obama’s advocacy for prison reform. Obama has been joined by supporters from both political parties, as well as groups such as the NAACP. Bipartisan reform bills have been introduced in the U.S. Senate and House.

Sentences meted out for minor offenses are applied unequally, with black and Latino men and women getting longer sentences than whites for the same crime. Long sentences for minor crimes also cost taxpayers unnecessarily and contribute to prison overcrowding.

Prison rape and solitary confinement are two practices that need to be curtailed, according to those who are working for reform. It is crucial that prison rape be seen as a serious crime and not as the subject for jokes.

An added cost occurs when family breadwinners receive long prison sentences for minor offenses such as marijuana use. The family left without an income is then forced to go on welfare rolls.

Obama said last month that “America is a nation of second chances.” Prison reform is the route to second chances.


Wichita NOW


Illogical health care

I recently went to a doctor and had myself checked for esophageal and rectal cancer in one office visit. Two separate tests, on two parts of the body. One office visit.

So why is that my wife has to schedule two separate office visits to get a mammogram and a pap smear at the gynecologist’s office? Why can’t both procedures be done in one visit to the doctor?

Is Obamacare going to fix this stuff? If so, where do we sign up?

I know I’m living in Kansas, but let’s get some logic to our health care around here.

When we see an aspect of our health care that seems wasteful or useless or expensive, we should all question that. That’s how we can all afford to go to the doctor or a hospital when we need to.



Letters to the Editor

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Phillip Brownlee at 316-268-6262, pbrownlee@wichitaeagle.com.