Bricks and mortar not foundation for good school
Recently, Vice President Joe Biden tried to make the case for Barack Obama stimulus No. 2.
One of his points was that students could not learn in "shabby schools." Well, we have a rebuttal to this argument right here in Fayette County. Bryan Station High School recently moved into a state-of-the-art facility, best in the county.
What has been the result of this multimillion-dollar expenditure? Bryan Station is the only school to be identified as failing in Fayette County for two years in a row.
Bricks and mortar do not automatically equal educational excellence. In my Male High School days (class of 1951), we were educated in a poor downtown neighborhood, in a building built in 1915 and rode city buses miles to get there.
Male did not rely on its facility to produce excellence. It was regarded as one of the finest educational institutions in the country. Teachers all held master's and doctorate degrees. Eighty-five percent of our graduates went on to college.
About 25 percent went to Ivy League schools. There was no such thing as a dropout. So let's not get hung up on bricks and mortar as the key to educational success.
I hope Superintendent Tom Shelton will concentrate on curriculum and teacher performance. Why do I care about this? Five grandchildren in Fayette County Public Schools.
We need textbooks
What has happened to the textbooks in schools? I realize technology has come a long way, but not every child has access to a computer. Some may not even have transportation to go to a public library to use a computer.
Smart boards are wonderful. But they are hard on everyone's eyes. When I was in school, we had textbooks for math, science, history, language, health, spelling, English and geography. Now students receive a paper that has been copied out of a workbook.
When my grandson was in middle school he struggled with math. His step-dad tried to help him but without a book it was impossible. They were told that there were no books for students. The teacher did let my son-in-law borrow a book so he could help my grandson.
Two years later, I have a granddaughter in middle school, also struggling in math. I asked if they had textbooks so we could see how to help her. The teachers said they did not have textbooks but opened some cabinets and said the books in there were not anything they would be using. I guess they were for show.
The government is always cutting educational spending, instead of finding ways to put textbooks back in the hands of our kids.
School tax is added onto everything anymore. So why can textbooks not be bought?
Barr behind the times
Thank you for publishing Republican candidate Andy Barr's piece (Oct. 14) touting "more action, a lot less talk on jobs."
I found it interesting that he had the unfortunate timing to say that only hours after his party blocked the president's jobs bill — which over 70 percent of the country wanted to be passed immediately.
His party's actions were particularly repulsive considering the bill contained actions previously supported by Republicans.
I thank you because his words gave me clarity. I wasn't absolutely sure before, but we in the Sixth District clearly made the correct decision in keeping him out of office the last time he ran.
It appears equally clear that we must vote against him again. He obviously has no business being in Congress so he can roll back progress and block all attempts to help our country pull out of this economic mess.
Barr's mindless repeating of worn-out and inaccurate party talking points exposed his flawed outlook on our current situation.
We know who caused our economic problems, and consumer and environmental protections are not at fault. We also know who is making an effort to fix things and who is working hard to prevent the situation from being fixed.
Instead of wasting our time with weak, unwarranted and offensive ("Soviet-style bureaucracy?") attempts at running down his opponent, Barr should try explaining what he might do for the middle class — a group he didn't mention one time.
I counted nine miststatements in Andy Barr's Oct. 10 demagoguery, filled with spin about less government. Yes, "Greenscam" got his way in ending Glass-Steagall, which separated commercial banking from investment banking.
But the lack of regulatory control let the financial sector make billions in bonuses on their gambling while sticking the taxpayers with the bills for the worst crisis since the Great Depression.
"Job creators" is a magnificent lie the GOP uses to justify President George W. Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy, which were costing us 750,000 jobs a month by the end of his second term. Republicans want to continue this failed policy to reward their billionaire donors.
The 99-percent crowds know the wages of the working class have remained flat for the last 30 years while the top 1 percent gained 240 percent.
This kind of inequality produced the French Revolution 220 years ago when the nobility didn't care if the people starved. It produced the Communist Revolution in Russia 100 years ago and could come to America if the GOP keeps winning elections, because they do not learn from the failure of their policies.
Do we have to go down this road again? We know where it leads.
It seems as if some people feel that the Wall Street occupiers are against capitalism, or just plain ol' jealous of the rich. While this may or may not be true, these people have every right to be mad, and it has nothing to do with capitalism or jealousy. Nor is it a general hatred toward Wall Street or big corporations. It is about the sellout of our government to these entities.
As long as our elected officials are beholden to big business by way of campaign contributions, big business will be the belle of the ball. The notion that financial contributions equal free speech, or that corporations are considered "individuals" is complete nonsense. Using the words "free" and "money" in the same sentence is ridiculous.
Until we have publicly funded elections, our "leaders" will be owned, lock, stock and barrel, by big money, and rest assured, big money will control economic policy.