Volunteer for schools
My heart has always been in the North Little Rock Public Schools. With the recent publication of our state report cards, I have some concerns about what we as a community can do to help raise our children up to a level of success.
VIPS (Volunteers in Public Schools) programs have been a part of our schools since the '70s. There is a big possibility that this program needs some energy with the addition of as many mentors as can be obtained. If you have a couple of hours a month that you could give to some our schools, please consider doing so. They need volunteers to read to children and let them read back to you. There are other gaps that can be filled to help our children improve on the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic.
An application to volunteer will need to be filled out and approved. At that point you will be given information about what will be expected. You may be asked to help in a school that is not in your neighborhood. Crystal Barker is the liaison in charge for the North Little Rock School District.
Let us make the VIPS program in our community the best. To do so, it will take many mentors to sign up and then get assigned.
North Little Rock
TV weather coverage
The severe weather which tore through our state last week brought a massive amount of very good, thorough, extensive coverage from the three Little Rock television stations. They interrupted programming (as they should), provided detailed locations and directions of the storms, and overall did a commendable job.
However, one glaring omission was coverage of warnings in south Arkansas. Tornado warnings and severe thunderstorm warnings ranging from near Texarkana to the counties in the southeast part of the state barely warranted a crawl across the bottom of the screen. A tornado in another part of the state got coverage showing the exact road, and the exact location, yet in south Arkansas no mention seemed deserved.
I have DirecTV, as no doubt many other people have similar satellite or dish setups, and I get all three of the Little Rock stations. Yet this part of the state seems to warrant little if any coverage. This is not a rare or infrequent occurrence, but a regular ignoring of a large part of the state. I believe that south Arkansas deserves just as much coverage as every other part of the state, not just a crawl across the bottom of the screen. A tornado warning for Union or Drew County is just as important as a tornado warning in Searcy or Conway County. Just ask the people who live in these counties.
Please, Little Rock stations, remember that Arkansas has 75 counties, each one just as deserving as the next when severe weather is being covered. This resident of Ouachita County would be very appreciative.
Don't go down road
Legislative efforts to control public school operations or curriculum have seldom, if ever, worked out well, whether it be mandating racial segregation or requiring the teaching of creationism. Let's hope that Arkansas doesn't go down that road again.
RICHARD A. WILLIAMS
Education reform fear
My heart hurts for Gov. Sarah Sanders. She's made it clear her goals include "education reform," but I fear that comes at the cost of the well- being of my family. Gov. Sanders has signaled her intention for Floridian-style "Don't Talk Gender/Sexuality Under Third Grade" and "Bathroom Requirement" bills to frame the environment of public education. These solutions are in search of a problem and a threat to my children's physical and emotional health.
What will my second-grader's teacher do when curriculum discusses family and he speaks about his non-binary transgender sibling? Will the teacher ignore him, or correct pronouns? Will our family be erased in public education because teachers can't acknowledge the gender or sexuality that exists in the lives of their students? What about families with same-gender parents, or kids uncomfortable in their skin? Will counselors be forbidden to use correct terminology to describe body and behavior for education or abuse prevention?
My fear is these bills are considered "easy wins," a nod to her voter base without meaningful academic reform or performance-based results, and without regard to the real casualties: kids already struggling. Bills that aim to silence or control language are not built for safety, but to regulate who is real.
I am the mother of a transgender child, and our family is real and at risk from legislators out to make a name for themselves. My deepest value is to keep my children safe, especially from those who wish them harm. We can all agree on that.
My youngest recently asked, "will [his sibling] be murdered for being trans?"
My prayer for Governor Sanders is this: that she will take this question as seriously as I do, and reform for higher grades, better literacy, and jobs, not dictate who is "real."
MARIE MAINARD O'CONNELL
Too much hypocrisy
Is it just me or is everyone else noticing the hypocrisy demonstrated by both parties (Democrats and Republicans)? The Democrats are complaining about the Republicans' insistence to investigate Hunter Biden while ignoring Donald Trump. Republicans are complaining about the Democrats' insistence to investigate Donald Trump while ignoring Hunter Biden.
I think that I'll become a preacher and find an empty pulpit. I'll insist on a choir behind the pulpit. I'll preach to the choir.