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Letters

January 22, 2023 at 1:42 a.m.

It's about priorities!

The state Legislature has a lot of important business to conduct this session. I appreciate Sen. Gary Stubblefield moving so rapidly to present Senate Bill 43, which would ban children from attending "drag performances." I also thank the Senate committee for passing it on so expeditiously to the full Senate for approval.

Until this last week I did not realize Arkansas had such a big problem with children attending drag performances. Once this bill is passed by both houses and signed into law by Gov. Sarah Sanders, the state government can move on to issues of lesser importance and priority such as childhood hunger (23.1 percent of children in Arkansas face food insecurity) and education (65 percent of third-graders in Arkansas read below grade level).

By the end of the current legislative term, we will still have hungry, undereducated children in Arkansas, but at least we can be proud that they will not be watching drag performances.

DENMAN GILLETT

Little Rock

On the masquerade

After reading the guest column, "Don't gut; invest," I felt compelled to write a few remarks. As a retired teacher, I wholeheartedly agree with the opinion of Mr. Michael Mason. During my 24-year tenure, and based on school data, I was employed at highly impoverished schools, and middle-/upper-income schools. As a new teacher, I was shocked to see the lack of materials and instructional resources for the most needy students. As I gained experience and moved to additional schools, I realized this was a norm. Unfortunately, the proposal of school choice and empowering parents from our newly elected governor does not benefit the impoverished students who desperately need the resources and funding to continue to receive additional support in their education.

The program she is touting as support is actually a guise for private-school vouchers. It's not a secret that private and charter schools do not have to serve all students even if they have a voucher. If, and only if, our governor is expecting to shake up the private and charter school sectors on accountability and equal access for all, her school/parent choice program is a masquerade as the answer for all when honestly it will only serve as tuition savings for the many who already choose not to attend public schools.

Without question, this is not how I choose my tax dollars to be allocated. My choice, as a parent, grandparent and retired teacher as well as a product of public education, would be to fund our local neighborhood schools and provide the resources and funding they deem necessary to ensure success for all students.

Bottom line: ZIP codes should never determine how educational funding is distributed nor determine access to an elite education. All of our students are most deserving of an elite education, not just the ones who have parents with deep pockets. Let us all come together and find a solution that ensures educational programs and funding allocations that unite all stakeholders.

NANCY FISCHER

Sherwood

Remember the task

As the Arkansas Legislature begins a new session with priorities that include the lowering of taxes for the wealthy and corporations, so they will not be blameless, may someone remind them of these cutting words from Proverbs: "Whosoever shuts his ears at the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be heard."

JOHN C. WARD

North Little Rock

Thoughts on the news

When I first read Gov. Sarah Sanders’ words quoted in the Thursday edition of this paper—“… we believe in personal freedom and responsibility … Arkansans need to talk with their medical professionals, with their doctors, and make the decisions that are best for their family and their kids.”—for a split second, I thought, OMG, Sarah has become pro-choice.

As regards the current actions of the GOP members of Congress in forming the Weaponization of Government Committee (aka the Tin Foil Hat Committee), refusing to expel George Santos or whatever his name may be today and placing Marjorie Taylor Greene on the Homeland Security Committee brought to mind an old adage which I paraphrase: Whenever your opponents are busy self-destructing, whatever you do, don’t interrupt them.

Finally, Bigo Barnett’s defense lawyer describes his client with the statement: “He’s like the crazy redneck from Arkansas who’s barking at the moon.” That description brings back memories of the joke book of yesteryear, “On A Slow Train Through Arkansaw.”

STUART HANKINS 

Sherwood

A part of that change

I like silence, reading, listening and mostly pondering, which can last over long periods. Lately, it has left me missing the slower life, the one progress has left behind. I appreciate sunrises, but miss nights of starry skies. I miss quiet love songs in pop music.

I like driving speed limits and seeing the world around me, but it is difficult to do in a single lane when there’s a car aiming for my trunk. I’m not sure I want tech gadgets which save time. How would I spend all that time saved?

I am sad to hear people say they can’t do anything about worldly situations so they don’t pay attention to them. Do they no longer realize that they influence others, whether they mean to or not? Movement, speech, considered opinions can make differences here and there. Certainly we see that hate spreads, and when such actions are ignored, and if by us, that hate is OK’d and given energy. The good old days were not always so good. Hate, prejudice, and power-grabbing existed. So did love and acceptance of differences exist, too often quietly.

Civilizations develop and grow and die. But it is people, their discoveries, creations and reactions which determine the health of the civilization. That includes each one of us. We are not powerless. We influence daily. We can say yes, no or nothing in our own small worlds, and it will flow by others. Cultures change. Like it or not, each of us is an instrumental part of that change.

JUDITH BAUM 

North Little Rock


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