The March 22 poll question, "Do schools need more technology or art?", is based on the false premise that the two are mutually exclusive. Education is not a zero-sum game. The idea that we can only teach "this" or "that" defeats the concept that children can be taught anything. As a professional educator, I know students are capable of learning multiple disciplines at once. Funds and resources, while limited, can be utilized in creative, practical ways to provide as many avenues as possible to serve our students. Well-educated Americans need both art and science, just as they need both athletics and academics. Educational disciplines serve one another. A scientist who cannot think creatively is as useless as the actor who doesn't understand the science of human behavior. The football player's game is enhanced if he also understands the foundations of physics and anatomy. Stop this simplistic argument. The polling question should not be: "Do we need more technology or art?" If the TFP wants to provoke readers into an emotionally compelling debate, how about this: "Are American schools lagging behind the rest of the world because we limit our children intellectually?" Yes or no.
JOSH RUBEN, M.Ed.
After reading "Afghanistan & Iraq -- was war worth it?" (3-23, Perspective), I can't help but wonder if the "pro" debater was a participant in the wars or just a sideline observer, like so many of the folks who said war is the only answer. Of course, there's money to be made from war, and it's relatively safe -- as long as somebody else is in harm's way. Then there's the bruised ego that has to be avenged, again, by others. Will we ever learn that an "eye for an eye" only begets more violence? Your Sunday Free Press columnists have something in common with the old Lee Anderson opinion pieces -- read one, you've read them all. Along with Robin Smith's commentary, their theme seems to be that all of the black community's problems could be solved if the residents of that community would just somehow manage to be a little less black and remember their place.
ALLAN BAGGETT Trion, Ga.
For those of you who are uneducated about e-cigarettes and think there hasn't been enough testing done concerning the vapor inhaled and emitted, please go to CASAA.org and E-CigaretteForum.com and read. CASAA has a wealth of information, including the latest testing results and happy stories of people who've switched to vaping from smoking and their health improvements. For me, after 53 years of smoking, vaping has cleared up my lungs, eliminated my cough, lowered my blood pressure, given me more stamina, lowered my weight, improved my sense of smell and taste, gotten rid of sinus problems. I sleep longer and deeper and haven't had colds or flu since I started. I quit smoking in one day. If you are afraid because vapor looks like smoke, then your bubbling soup, steaming shower and whistling tea kettle should send you into a tizzy! Those vapors are much different than smoke coming from your fireplace, fire pit, barbecue or a cigarette. Please educate yourself about the political forces involved by tobacco, pharmaceutical, and health companies/organizations. They all stand to lose money if vaping becomes mainstream. Even states lose money from the tobacco settlement if smokers don't keep smoking!
I applaud, loudly, Mayor Andy Berke's bringing the Violence Reduction Initiative to Chattanooga. Helpful to his effort I think would be the following: strong support of our teachers in developing the potential of every student, a prison system focused on rehabilitation, programs for premarital counseling and teaching parenting skills and trained mentors for struggling students and parents. Preventing is usually cheaper than correcting a breakdown. Constructive tax-paying citizens make for a happier community than destructive tax-gobbling ones.
CLAIRE HALE, Signal Mountain
All these folks who say the USA is too timid with Putin and that getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan is a bad idea, would quickly change their tune if we brought back the draft with no exemptions. Then their children would be exposed to fighting and dying for the privilege of showing how great the United States of America is.
NELSON R. SULLIVAN, Hixson
Roma Downey and Mark Burnett produced the movie "Son of God," which may touch people's hearts. It's their hope families will watch together then start a conversation. Christians believe Jesus is the Son of God. They also pray, "Our father who is in heaven" and that they, too, are the sons and daughters of God! Muslims believe, "Allah begets not, nor was begotten. And like unto him there is none!" Evidently, there is a difference in Muslim Allah and Christian God. I believe the movie will stir up some kind of theological conversation among them. We live in a culture that accepts diversity, respects different points of view and regards truths as relative rather than absolute. People have the right to believe and express their critical opinions. On the contrary, Muslims believe the Koran is the only true word of Allah. Islam is full of discriminations: against women; against non-Muslims; Christians and Jews. Hatred is built into the religion. Living in a civilized society, we show our ignorance and lack of tolerance when we slam another's religion. Maybe the Muslims will see the movie and start a bigger conversation -- how Jesus is the "Son of God!"
AMOS TAJ, Ooltewah
It was said by Dr. Charles Krauthammer we "need to know one more thing on Earth: politics -- because of its capacity, when benign, to allow all around it to flourish, and its capacity, when malign, to make all around it to wither." Progressivism is withering America. Billy Graham recently said Obama's "hope and change" mantra is nothing more than a cliche. Imagine America electing a man president so devoid of professional accomplishment and a disciple of Saul Alinsky whose ideology is more in tune with Marx's Communist Manifesto than with the Constitution of the United States of America! Unfortunately, America actually did. Twice! Now imagine such an inscrutable and disturbing phenomenon as America continuing to elect such progressive Marxists to Congress and the presidency. Beware the 2014 and 2016 elections! One must ask: Where is America's clergy? In the midst of withering down America, they are conspicuous by their silence, except for a few Catholic bishops and some African-American brethren! The majority of today's clergy are either too timid, too intimidated or too politically correct to speak out. Thank God for a clergy of different character and courage in 1776, else we would still be paying tribute to Great Britain. G
ARY F. SMITH
The loss of life is tragic. Wouldn't it have been more appropriate for a soldier who lost his or her life in Iraq to be memorialized on the Sunday Chattanooga Times Free Press rather than a high-paid escort? I can't believe that story was carried on the front page and on two full pages inside the first section of the newspaper. Less has been reported on Obamacare; the 239 missing passengers on the Malaysia flight 370; the state of unemployment; and the efforts of church groups in Chattanooga to fight rising crime rates. Please save the sensationalism for the back pages and leave the true reporting for the front page.
FRANKIE DUNBAR, Cleveland, Tenn.