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OPINION | LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Didn't make the list | Do they have value? | To educate children

May 4, 2022 at 4:09 a.m.

Didn't make the list

Dr. Creshelle R. Nash, medical director for Health Equity and Public Programs at Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, wrote, "Arkansas not only has the third highest maternal death rate in the nation, 71 percent of those moms are Black women ..." and "As hard as it might be to admit, the issue stems from structural and systemic discrimination ..." She also wrote that the issues Black women face are, "Can I afford to see a doctor? Is there a doctor near me? What if I don't have transportation to the doctor, who is nearly an hour away? Will my doctor take my health concerns seriously? Will I be judged? Does my doctor look like me? Am I comfortable? Am I getting the best care? The list goes on."

Well, Dr. Nash, I think there is an important issue that didn't make your list, and it is the percentage of Black women having babies out of wedlock, which at 72 percent is nearly the same as your Black maternal death rate. Perhaps you could save more of these Black mothers' lives if rather than moaning about "structural and systemic discrimination" you began a campaign to persuade Black women to keep their knees together in the presence of men who are not their husbands. Fewer pregnancies, fewer complications, less judging, fewer deaths.



Do they have value?

I was stopped in my tracks by the term "unwanted children" used by both David Henderson and Beverly Jacobs in their recent letters. In a society that laments school shootings, children at the southern border being kept in "cages" as well as children in Ukraine being left homeless (or worse), are we really comfortable classifying a group of children as unwanted?

Is it because children are disposable before they are born? They have no intrinsic value or human dignity? Their value only lies in being "wanted" by some qualified adult?

The fact that we casually throw around that term should make us all uncomfortable. Our lives each began at conception and, because we were allowed to grow and thrive in the womb, we are here today able to cast judgment regarding the value of other human beings. Our federal, state and local governments spend billions of dollars each year attempting to care for people on the fringes of society, yet we cast out certain children as being unwanted.

I for one am not prepared to look a child in the face and tell him or her that he or she is not wanted. I suppose that puts me in the group that should be, according to Mr. Henderson, required to "raise unwanted children into adulthood," applauded by Ms. Jacobs as a refreshing and unique suggestion about what can be done to "contribute to the health and well-being of the citizens of our country."

Am I to assume that at adulthood these unwanted children suddenly have value? Perhaps the cruelest thing is to tell someone is that he or she isn't wanted or has no value to society or doesn't belong. How much mental illness stems from this message? How many suicides and drug overdoses? How can our hearts accept this without us all being permanently scarred and our society left in shreds?


Little Rock

To educate children

According to the National Education Association (2018), more than 40 percent of teachers leave the profession within five years. It is not a secret that Arkansas, along with the rest of the country, continues to face a large teacher shortage. "According to a report by The New Teacher Project (TNTP), approximately 4 percent of Arkansas teachers are uncertified, more than double the national average of 1.7 percent. The severity of the problem varies widely from district to district. Statewide, 30 districts have a workforce that includes at least 10 percent uncertified teachers." (

Districts may use Act 1240 waivers or emergency teaching permits to bring in professionals with subject- area expertise into classrooms without a teaching degree or assign teachers to an additional licensure plan so that teachers can teach content outside their licensure area. In 2021, 3 percent of Arkansas teachers were teaching outside their content area. As a parent and a teacher, this is doubly concerning because I want my child and my students to receive an education of value from qualified educators.

According to John Hattie, an education researcher well-known for his books "Visible Learning" and "Visible Learning for Teachers," "the quality of teaching is the most important controllable factor that impacts student learning," meaning that we can send our kids to school, but if they are not receiving quality instruction from a skilled certified teacher, then they are not being given an opportunity to excel in learning. "Every student deserves a great teacher, not by chance but by design" (Fisher, Frey, & Hattie, 2016).

Arkansas is beginning this fall to try and do just that by implementing the "Teach Arkansas" initiative. This initiative explains and provides additional routes to teacher licensure in our state. Whether you are looking for a career change, are a currently classified school employee, or even a prospective college student, there is an opportunity for anyone and everyone interested in entering the teaching field. I encourage you to visit



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