Johnson City Press: Letters: Look at charter school successes

Letters: Look at charter school successes

Johnson City Press • Jun 7, 2019 at 6:00 AM

Want to have your voice heard? Send a Letter to the Forum. Authors must sign their letters and include addresses and phone numbers for verification. Letters may be no longer than 300 words and will be edited for grammar, style and length. Send your submission to Mailbag, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605-1717 or [email protected].

Look at charter school successes

Yet another article in the Press denouncing charter schools/school choice programs. Like many endeavors, for all the ones that succeed, some fail. Dr. Smith focused, of course, only on charter schools that failed instead of all the charter success in the U.S. There are over 6,500 charter schools serving over 2.7 million students. Consider New York City, where economically disadvantaged parents jump through significant hoops to send 123,000 of their children to charters that regularly out perform their public counterparts, while another 50,000+ wait hopefully for admittance.

One of the benefits of the charter structure is that if the school is failing, they will shut it down. Nationally, 4th grade reading proficiency is less than 50%. Yet bureaucrats will never allow for closure of a failing public school.

It is any wonder education bureaucrats fight anything that may disrupt the gravy train of public dollars. Since 1950, teacher count has grown about 250%, doubling in relation to student growth. In the meantime, the number of education bureaucrats and associated personnel has increased over 700% while teacher pay in real dollars has declined over that same period.

The education establishment’s answer is always more money even though we spend more on public education per capita than any country in the world while our educational outcomes continue to decline in world rankings. Why does that establishment continue to endanger our country’s future by being closed-minded to ideas that do improve educational outcomes, offer disadvantaged individuals the best opportunity they may have for economic advancement and are financially more efficient according to numerous studies?

An educated citizenry is vital to the survival of any free nation. The status quo is not working. charter schools/school choice are viable options worth learning more about.

Piney Flats

Equality Act is good for LGBTQ

Federal laws protect people from discrimination based on race, religion, sex, or disability, and in federally funded programs, employment, housing, education, and other areas. On May 17th, the House of Representatives passed the Equality Act for the express purpose of extending these same basic safeguards to LGBTQ people.

A day after the House vote, Congressman Phil Roe wrote a letter to his constituents opposing its passage. He asserted that the act would eliminate the “legitimacy of biological sex” and take away rights of women, parents, medical practitioners, and religious institutions.

It will do neither of these things. First, the Equality Act does not make biological sex illegitimate. It merely recognizes the reality that there is a full spectrum of sexual and gender identities. Second, passage of the bill will not take rights away from anyone. It will only give millions of Americans basic rights that they have been denied.

Roe’s dire prediction that multitudes of men will start choosing to identify as women in order to take advantage of new rights or play on sports teams has no basis in fact. States that currently grant legal protections to sexual and gender minority populations have not seen an influx of such activity.

Dr. Roe has also misread or misrepresented the recent scientific findings that he cites in his message. The truth of the matter is that a preponderance of the research on sexual and gender minority populations shows that wider acceptance and enhanced legal protection result in better physical and mental health outcomes for these marginalized populations.

As a resident of Tennessee’s 1st congressional district, I stand with the majority of Americans and the 515 organizations that support the Equality Act, including the American Medical Association, the American Bar Association, and the National Education Association.

Johnson City

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