Letter: Washington is failing to educate its people

April 5, 2013 

Education is the door to opportunity. Today the United States has less equality of opportunity than almost any other advanced industrial country. The gutting of government support for state schools at a time when an education is essential to a robust economy that can compete globally has widened the gap between rich and poor.

Washington state's higher education system was ranked as the eighth worst in the nation, measured by the depth of financing cuts down 22.4 percent from 2008 to 2013 according to figures from the Illinois State University's Center for the Study of Education Policy. Those of modest means are left with poor prospect to get ahead, or with student loans so burdensome that are almost impossible to discharge.

The recent Washington Supreme Court ruling that a supermajority vote is unconstitutional opens the door for the state legislature to meet its obligation to adequately fund education by increasing revenues. Legislation to provide additional educational funding by blocking teacher cost-of-living raises and shortening the amount of time low-income families can get assistance, putting families at risk of going without food, without asking anything from those at the top who benefited the most from the politics of inequality is unconscionable.

MICKEY BEARY

Richland

Catholic contribution

Catholics keep your chins held high!

It's interesting to me that media chooses to print mostly the negatives about the Catholic Church. The litany of bad popes, priests and fallen away Catholics.

There are 1.2 billion Catholics in the world, 67 million in America and every single day the church feeds the hungry, houses the poor, clothes the needy, mends the sick, visits prisoners and educates more people than any other institution on the face of the Earth. With the education of 2.6 million Catholic students every day the church saves the taxpayers $18 billion a year.

The Catholic Church is deep into tradition for more than 2,000 years. It started with a small group of men that transformed the western civilization after the death of Jesus. Prior to the 16th century, Western Europe had only one religion: Catholicism.

Catholics that have left the church simply don't get it. If they understood the 2,000 years of tradition, they would still be with us. Mass can be attended on Sunday anywhere in the world and get the same gospel reading and Communion. All Catholics should keep their chins held high and study their faith.

MARK VINCENT

Pasco

TSA -- WTH?

The TSA recently announced new guidelines, allowing small pocketknives on board flights. In addition, they are allowing small baseball bats, hockey sticks, pool cues, and gold clubs. I have to ask, "WTH?"

As the TSA attempts to keep the skies safe by banning my homemade jams, mouthwash or even shampoo aboard my next flight, I have to wonder at the logic behind the recent announcement of allowing knives. Now, I understand that terrorists are quite the MacGyvers of the skies and can fashion a deadly tool out of simple, everyday items, however, allowing them to have knives seems an awful lot like enabling.

Let us put deodorant back in the carry-on luggage, along with hairspray and makeup. Let us allow some hygienic items rather than knives. I would personally like to see people have access to mouthwash, makeup and even a little soap in case necessity arises! Let babies have the banned teething rings so they will not cry and let children have pudding cups (gel-like substances) for a three hour flight! My suggestions are simple and less likely to cause a hijacking! Maybe America needs to address the effectiveness of the TSA?

LORENA SWIFT

Richland

HB1588 defeat

I believe that we all must thank Larry Haler for understanding the meaning of "Shall not be infringed." Without our representatives abiding by the Bill of Rights, we all become slaves to the government.

Based on the support for the bill, I have concerns that some of our Legislators may not understand the Bill of Rights.

I hope that our school systems still teach what the Constitution and Bill of Rights represent and mean.

LOU RODGERS

West Richland

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