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Letters to the Editor: April 29, 2015

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School funding

Conservatives demand accountability when public tax money is distributed. Yet, the Education Savings Account or “scholarship” bill (Senate Bill 609) gives away taxpayer money with no reporting on effectiveness.

All Oklahoma taxpayers should be concerned since SB 609 means more than parents getting back their own tax payments.

It appears to disburse to one household the education tax money collected from at least five households. How will economic conservatives assure Oklahomans who don’t have school-age kids that their tax money is used wisely?

Conservatives uphold standards, but SB 609 defines-down “good education” as simply “parental satisfaction.” There’s no requirement for parents to show whether any educational attainment occurred with taxpayer money. Might all the grading of and testing in public schools be eliminated if the same education money goes to other forms of schooling without evaluation?

Conservatives don’t hide controversial programs inside lengthy bills containing other matters. SB 609 is 10 pages on education yoked to 62 pages of dull, but necessary, financial language updates.

It’s a signal of special-interest group influence when legislators are forced to vote on novel, untested programs within a routine, must-pass bill.

Perhaps the SB 609 type of income redistribution would be a worthwhile three-year experiment if the legislation included rigorous standards, full evaluation and accountability to taxpayers.

— Steven Goldman

The Village

Editor’s note: SB 609 was held over by bill author Sen. Clark Jolley.

Thanks, Obama

Obama is an idiot. His idea of improving relations with rogue foreign nations is akin to acting like a puppy dog.

It is well known that he dislikes Winston Churchill. It is apparent to me that he admires Neville Chamberlain and wants to emulate him. History abundantly tells us Obama is not thinking clearly.

With regard to having been called traitors by The New York Times, most rational people would consider that to be an honor. Forty-seven senators would represent the opinions of close to half of the U.S. population. Does Wanda Jo Stapleton (Commentary, Letters, “Government problem,” April 8, Oklahoma Gazette) think that close to half of our population are traitors?

Many of us believe that people who are out to harm or destroy the United States are the traitors. Obama would certainly fit into this category, based on his track record to date.

— Mickey McVay

Edmond

Equal coverage

I was pleased to see the article “World Class” in the April 15 (Life, Youth, Louis Fowler, Gazette) issue and am happy for both Ben Lanners and Kevie Yu. They have both obviously worked hard to achieve being selected to participate in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute to take part in the third annual National Youth Orchestra. You did a great job congratulating Ben and acknowledging his many years of dedicated practice to achieve such an honor.

But I was disappointed that your only acknowledgment of Kevie’s equally diligent practice and hard work were her picture and her name. This is another example of white male privilege. You clearly owe Kevie an apology. You even more clearly need to extol her efforts and those of other young women equally with their male counterparts.

— Linda Larason

Oklahoma City

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