Whitfield schools at breaking point
The students and teachers of Whitfield County are living out a slow-motion disaster.
Ten years of cuts to education funding from the state, now totaling $50 million just for Whitfield County schools, and a recession that has been particularly brutal to our carpet-dependent economy have combined with bad decisions made at both the state and county levels to put both our students and those who teach them at great risk.
Now, Whitfield County schools face another deep hole in its budget, $7,000,000.
Talk of fewer days of instruction for students, added layoffs, more furloughs, fewer programs, and higher class sizes permeate the discussion.
Our community faces a gut check; will we continue to let our children's educational opportunity lag?
Many of our students are products of poverty; they are working hard to close their achievement gap, but cannot compete when we do not even fund 180 days of instruction, with less to come if those who believe that the path to prosperity is only through cutting prevail.
Our state leaders have made the decision to abandon their constitutional obligation to fund our public schools. What will our local leaders do to fill in the gap?
RALPH NOBLE, Eastbrook Middle School, Whitfield County Schools
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How can president issue this mandate?
By the time all is said and done, many words will be written about the Obama administration's decision to require that all insurers provide a full range of contraceptive services "free of charge."
Nothing is free of charge, of course, and there is much that is controversial in the phrase "contraceptive services."
But what is most amazing about this in my view is contained in Friday morning's Washington Post news alert: "The White House is planning to adjust its health care rule requiring religious employers to provide women access to contraception."
What have we come to when the "White House" and "contraception," along with the verb form "requiring," all appear in the same sentence?
Where in anyone's concept of constitutional authority does the president mandate anything with respect to something so personal?
GARY LINDLEY, Lookout Mountain, Ga.
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Closing should have a better ending
As the first wave of job endings rushes upon us, our Olan Mills plant on Shallowford Road, which was just two months ago filled with the hustle and bustle of the holidays, is now filled with sadness and unrest.
You see, we are not simply co-workers. Most of us have spent most if not all of our adult lives working together at Olan Mills through good times and bad; we pulled together to get the job done.
Now, aside from feeling that our pride for what we do and our commitment to our profession has been somehow overlooked, we also are losing the close-knit group of friends who we have depended on throughout the years to help us through life's joys and sorrows.
Some of us will be fine. Some of us will make do. And some of us will struggle, as we finish out our days together and are faced with many goodbyes.
I can't help but think that there must have been a better ending for such a great group of friends! Love you all!
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Reasons for attack of church not valid
Recently, a contributor questioned the relevancy of the Catholic church, which is his constitutional right. I'll not argue the several "reasons" he had for his attack on Catholicism as his points were -- well, they were idiotic.
While I agree that men and women have a constitutional right to contraception (9th and 10th amendments), neither those amendments, nor the Constitution itself, guarantee the public funding of those rights (or any right).
Neither does the Constitution authorize the coerced support of a right for one that is in violation of the religious convictions and beliefs of another.
Obama's recent decree on contraception violates religious liberty at its core, and I am proud of my church for taking such a principled, and morally and ethically correct stand against it.
Americans have a constitutional right to keep and bear arms. If the writer would agree that the government should fund this specific right, then he would at least have a non-hypocritical leg to stand on in his support of the Obama administration's desire for public funded abortions.
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Here are examples of Fox inaccuracies
So your conservative readers would like to hear from someone who can point out Fox News' many inaccuracies. Well, I'll play along.
How about on July 2, 2008, when Fox & Friends aired altered photographs of New York Times reporter Jacques Steinberg and editor Steven Reddicliffe, to make them look cartoonish?
How about the several instances during the Mark Foley congressional sex scandal when Fox incorrectly identified Rep. Foley on-screen as a Democrat when in fact Foley was, and still is, a Republican?
What about when Fox recently used a photo of Barack Obama in place of Mitt Romney while posting the results of a poll on the Republican presidential race? (Apparently Fox hates Romney so much, they equate him with the president.)
What about during their coverage of the tea party rally on the Mall in Washington, when Fox used footage of older rallies (not for the tea party) because that older footage showed larger crowds than the tea party actually drew?
I could list more, but I've used up my 200 words. These are small matters -- seemingly harmless inaccuracies. But they are indicative of deeply held ideological biases that undermine the legitimacy of Fox's reporting.
DAVID B. COE, Sewanee, Tenn.
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Make Normal Park full magnet school
In response to the new condos advertising Normal Park as a selling point, it is no different than the Realtors using the school zone to sell houses on the Mississippi side of North Market.
Normal Park will benefit from becoming a fully magnet school such as Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences. It will offer the diversity that the school lacks and also ease the concerns of overcrowding.
Will it irritate the home owners who financially overextended themselves to buy homes in the area?
Yes, it will, but it will put a stop to all the fighting over the bigotry surrounding the continued exclusion of Hill City.
I ask this question: Does anyone find it odd that the head administrator at NPMM has not been changed in 10 years, yet Hamilton County changes administrators of schools like we change socks.
Bottom line, NPMM is bought and paid for in the back-room dealings of central office and the school board. Making it fully magnet with the transparent lottery will put a stop to it.
CECILIA ANN WILSON
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After paying, benefit is an entitlement
A writer wrote (Feb. 14) that Social Security is not an entitlement. I disagree.
It is an entitlement. I've paid into Social Security for almost 50 years and now I'm entitled to get some of it back. By the way, my health care isn't free either. The government takes $113.80 a month for the Medicare Part B premium, and I pay another $98 a month to an insurance company to give me sufficient coverage.
I've worked all of my life and paid into this and now I'm entitled to get the benefits back.
JIM SISK, Red Bank
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Gridlock makes voting irritating
As far as I can remember, for most of my 60-plus years, I have voted in every election I have been eligible for. I have voted for Democrats, independents and Republicans. This year for the first time I am considering not voting for any incumbents for Congress (both senators and representatives).
The reasons are: (1) My disgust over the congressional gridlock that was evident this past year. (My philosophy is that doing something, almost anything, is better than doing nothing, most of the time!)
(2) Elections seem to be won by whoever spends the most money. And that is usually the incumbent.
Therefore, I am asking you to consider not voting for any federal congressional incumbent beginning in this year's August elections.
Of course, if you feel your congressional incumbent has done a good job, by all means vote for them!