SCHOOLS AND EDUCATION
I’ll vote in favor of quality schools
On Nov. 5, I will mark my ballot for public education. Although my wife and I, both in our mid-40s and neither of us educators, do not have children, our standard of living now and in the future depends upon an economy with well-educated people able to learn how to fix cars, build bridges, manufacture items, etc. Those educated workers and managers will mostly come from the public schools.
I will voting against the voucher initiative.
I have nothing against private schools as they now exist. I just don’t want my tax money being spent on private schools.
A voucher system will draw scarce resources away from the public schools and, over time, result in a lowering of the educational achievement level for more and more students.
Not only do our public schools educate, they contribute more widely to the feeling of community and neighborhood. Because funds will be diluted and economies of scale lost, especially in the upper grades, competition will turn out to mean a decrease in quality, despite the heroic efforts of public school teachers.
Because public education is my main focus in this election, I will be vote for President Clinton, for Gary Locke for governor, to re-elect Terry Bergeson for state superintendent of public instruction and for the Democratic candidates for my precinct, including John Roskelley for county commissioner. Their positions are more supportive of public education and less threatening to the environment - another issue important to me. Charles Latimer Spokane
Initiatives would start free-for-all
Initiatives 173 and 177 will increase polarization in our society. If they were to pass, every special interest, religious and ethnic group would be clamoring for a share of this money. To avoid any sense of discrimination, taxpayers would be forced to provide funding to any and all groups.
The effects of these initiatives will be the immediate demise of public schools. The long-term effects will be increased tensions among all the aforementioned groups. Look at the problems in Europe, the Middle East and Africa to see what a polarized society is capable of.
The one thing that has always set the United States apart, making it the envy of the world, is our free public school system. The greatest gift of the public school system is its effect as a commonizer. If all of our children learn together, they also learn to get along together.
The U.S. is a free society, and many people choose to send their children to private schools. Taxpayers should not pay for the self-serving decision of these people to not accept a free publication.
Our educational system is good. From time to time it will need improvements. The voucher system is dubious at best and not in the best interest of our country. Rudy Thorson Spokane
173, 177 faulty throughout
Initiatives 173 and 177 are wrong for education. Our tax dollars should be used only for a public school system open and accountable to all.
Under 173 and 177, open public admission is not guaranteed to all students and voucher-redeeming schools are not publicly accountable for academic standards, curriculum, safety or conduct.
All children should be safe at school. Under I-173, teachers are not required to be certified. Under I-177, only one teacher per 25 students must be certificated, but that teacher is not required to be present in the classroom. Washington teacher certification requires knowledge of child behavior and application of proven disciplinary practices.
Neither initiative requires background checks for noncertified teachers or school employees. All personnel should be accountable, safe to work with our children and trustworthy for receiving public funds.
We lose as a community if we cater to special interest groups. Please vote no on initiatives 173 and 177. Jill Williams Spokane
It’s about subsidized advantage
Initiatives 173 and 177 are simply not in the best interest of Washingtonians or Americans.
To be acceptable, voucher-based schools should be required to accept the troubled, the learning disabled and physically disabled at the same voucher cost as regular students, in the same relative numbers and under the same legal constraints as public schools. That would be competition on a level playing field.
Unfair, you say? Fiscally unworkable? Destroys all the potential “benefits” of the voucher system? If that is so, then it would seem that a big part of what voucher system backers seem to want is to be “better off” monetarily than they really are, all through public subsidy. Unfortunately, that is just part of the unfairness of life in general that no government could solve - and perhaps shouldn’t.
The wealthy - and those with some means who are willing to sacrifice - will, in general, always have a better shot at giving their children a higher-quality education or a more personally favorable learning environment. Very simply, if the average person doesn’t want to fix the public school system through hard work and consensus, then personal choice has to come at a cost. Donald O. Capstick Spokane
IN THE PAPER
Name tag should read ‘Priggee”
Milt Priggee really hit the mark with his Oct. 20 poison apple cartoon. The only mistake I noticed was the mixup - on the witch’s name tag - “Craswell” instead of “Priggee.”
Who, after all, is more intolerant than Priggee of tried and true values as set forth in the Bible? Or at least toward those who believe and try to practice these precepts?
Ironically, Priggee would have been woefully out of step with the Founding Fathers of our nation, who Ellen Craswell has the audacity to emulate. And, I dare say, there wouldn’t have been a “good paper” furnishing him a platform from which to spew his venom.
Craswell apparently understands the importance of wise constraints for a people to prosper and live in harmony - society has adequately proved that doing what’s right in one’s own eyes doesn’t work very well. She’s not going to be perfect, but at least she starts from the right premise.
On the other hand, I doubt that Priggee would give any credence to the writer of the Proverb 14:34, declaring that, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” Woe to us and our leaders who have disregarded or misconstrued sin. Paul W. Peterson Spokane
Cartoon reveals deficits - Priggee’s
Again, staff cartoonist Milt Priggee has taken up his poison pen to attack conservative Christianity. In demonizing Ellen Craswell he exposes religious hatred, all right. But it is not Craswell’s; it is his own.
I have to wonder why Priggee feels compelled again and again to vilify conservative Christians and their values.
Believing in personal accountability and responsibility, honest effort to be self-sufficient, real commitment to marriage and family, and the acknowledgment of God’s ultimate authority does not constitute religious hatred. Rather, these are more than noble ideals, they are the very fabric that holds society together. Our culture has required too little of individuals for too long, and where has it brought us?
It is much easier to label those who expect moral character as hateful, judgmental, intolerant or uncaring than to confront our own shortcomings.
It is sad that the message of today seems to be that the values on which the Founding Fathers created a nation are now to be feared and distrusted. What should be a credit in judging a candidate’s fitness for leadership has been declared a liability. It is equally sad that this newspaper continues to provide a forum for Priggee’s vitriol. Marvin Nordhagen Chattaroy
Sorry surprise one to learn on
Regarding the special piece, “Into the heart of darkness” you ran on Sunday (Oct. 20), I have nothing but profound admiration and respect for those 13 Christians from various denominations who volunteered to help at the Romanian orphanage.
This article gave me a great opportunity to show my children another world and culture, and how God’s love is truly demonstrated. Imagine my disgust, then, as we turned to the editorial page and found Milt Priggee’s hateful portrayal of the openly Christian Ellen Craswell as a wicked witch.
Our family decided to use Priggee’s puerile paranoia as another opportunity for learning. We welcome the thought of a Christian candidate who strives to be honest and knows she must answer to God for her actions instead of special interest groups. Mrs. L.J. Dutro Colville, Wash.
Cartoon, editorial unfair
Does The Spokesman-Review have no regard for its reputation for fairness?
Staff cartoonist Milt Priggee casts Ellen Craswell as a witch offering only religious hatred (Opinion, Oct. 20), while the accompanying editorial declares that Craswell plans to “recast (government) as a theocracy, run by and for the religious right.”
Both characterizations are totally false. Craswell is not a political unknown. She served faithfully and with distinction in the Washington state Legislature for 15 years, during which time she fought to reduce taxes and the cost of government.
Craswell has declared: “I’m running because I think government is too big, too expensive and too intrusive - without enough emphasis on moral values, rights and freedoms.”
The alternative is Gary Locke, another tax-and-spend liberal who favors higher taxes and bigger and more expensive government.
Except for the education elite and others who feed at the public trough, I don’t know any sane person who does not favor lower taxes and less government. Esther Trusler Colville, Wash.
Cartoon stepped over the line
It does not seem enough for you to use the power of your newspaper to endorse Gary Locke, but then you defame Ellen Craswell with a hateful cartoon portraying her as a witch offering an apple labeled “religious hatred.”
You have abused the trust placed in you. You have stepped over the line. It really makes me wonder why you hate a candidate because she has the courage to speak her moral convictions. John Perkins Loon Lake
Cartoon was the final straw
Milt Priggee’s disparaging Ellen Craswell cartoon (Oct. 20) was the last straw. After defending the necessity of subscribing to The Spokesman-Review to my friends, I give up.
All last week you wrote of the evils of bigotry, hate and malicious harassment, and then you brazenly exhibited a prime example of your own in the Sunday paper.
After reading of Gary Locke’s big contributors and Ellen Craswell’s small in amount but mighty in number contributions, I’ll join the crows and send what would have been my subscription renewal.
I admire a woman of courage, this “braveheart” who is known for her honesty and integrity. Her methods and vision have been described as simplistic, but look where all the “experts” have gotten us. She is joined in zeal by the likes of teacher Marva Collins, who recently spoke in Spokane, “People are astounded by common sense.”
We all face examples of ill manners, hatred, prejudices and insults in this life, but I don’t have to pay for it coming into my home. Donna Kuhn Spokane
Personett knows, supports education
All voters in the 6th Legislative District who support public education should vote for Judy Personett. In addition to being an expert in health care after working as a nurse for 34 years, Personett has a doctorate in education. She has taught nursing and presents seminars around the United States on health care.
Personett is a strong supporter of public education. In contrast, her opponent, Brad Benson, has been critical of public education since he announced his candidacy.
Personett does not support vouchers that give public tax dollars to private schools. As part of his conservative Christian beliefs, Benson supports school vouchers.
Personett supports HB1209, to continue improving standards and parental involvement in public schools. Benson has no opinion on this important legislation.
Benson has stated that too much K-12 money is spent in Olympia. Supporter Scott Randall stated in a letter to the editor (Oct. 16) that over 50 percent of the K-12 budget never reaches the classroom. These are falsehoods designed to undermine confidence in our public schools.
According to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, one half of 1 percent of the K-12 budget stays in Olympia and the average school district administrative costs are 13.45 percent, with 86 percent of the K-12 budget reaching the classroom.
The 6th District needs Personett representing all the citizens within it. Mary Anne Stuckart Spokane
Senn policies reason to elect Lowe
Washington’s insurance commissioner has sacrificed choice and affordability in the name of universal coverage, so now you and I pay higher premiums for our own medical insurance plans and we are helping to subsidize the health insurance premiums of others.
Although portraying herself as pro-consumer, Insurance Commissioner Deborah Senn’s first four years in office could hardly be described as friendly to any consumer’s pocketbook.
Thanks to Senn, this state has only three insurance carriers left that are presently accepting new business in the individual health insurance arena. Is this proconsumer? Is this choice?
Anthony Lowe offers a clear alternative to the heavyhanded, misguided philosophy of the past four years. Lowe has stated that his first priority will be to restore choice and affordability. He will work hard to bring back more of the insurance companies that have fled this state because of Senn’s policies. Lowe understands that the best environment for consumers is one where several dozen insurance companies can compete for your health insurance dollar. With competition, prices are more likely to be kept in check, and more choices will exist for you, the consumer.
Vote to restore common sense, choice and affordability back to the insurance consumers of Washington. Bring sense and sensibility back to the insurance commissioner’s office. Vote for Lowe. Michael N. Metcalf Spokane
PEOPLE IN SOCIETY
Race helpers were terrific
On the morning of our first snowfall, the thought of getting out of my warm bed to run in Spokane’s newly rejuvenated marathon series did not particularly excite me. I did, however, respond to the call and joined the other runners downtown.
Even on this cold, wet morning, the excitement was obvious. I warmed up quickly as the race began and was carried along by the magic of the first falling flakes and the beautiful scene of the Spokane River below.
What boosted my spirits even more was the number of dedicated volunteers attending the water stations and lining the course on the I’d-rather-stay-indoors type of day. They not only stood out in the sleeting rain and snow, they greeted us with smiles and heartily cheered every runner on. I applaud them and thank them for making this event an experience to remember. Nancy Brown Spokane
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