The Tennessee way
I was shocked to read about the House Speaker of Tennessee mulling over rejecting education funding from the federal government written in Thursday’s JCP (Feb. 9).
As a flaming liberal, I was not surprised, I was however surprised that $1.8 billion was to be scoffed at. My hands are out.
I have a daughter in third grade in a great JC public school, with a staff who is available and cares. Can this be said for the rest of Tennessee?
I continued to be in awe of the comments by Sexton and his comment, “We as a state can lead the nation … we’ll just do things the Tennessee way.”
Wow 38th in the nation for K-12 education. Let us celebrate and abandon the money. That money could be for salaries, currently 42nd in the nation, and for classroom needs.
It appears Tennessee certainly has led the way in abandoning many crucial and imperative rights deserved by its citizens. I cannot express my luck in having chosen Johnson City to reside in and all the wonderful programs and dedication it gives its residents. I cannot say this is balanced throughout the state.
While I may not agree with the right-wing Republican agenda and its vision of women’s rights and sexual identity, I cannot fathom how in good conscience Mr. Sexton could consider not adhering to federal regulations concerning educational rights, privileges and opportunities for our children. Not accepting that funding would be tossing out like the baby with the bathwater.
I will surmise that the speaker is content with our educational ranking and with the U.S. ranking behind many other developed countries in terms of math and English. As has been described, the U.S. does not invest much in human capital. It appears neither does Cameron Sexton.
Leading the nation
In his last State of the State address, Gov. Bill Lee used the unintentionally amusing theme of Tennessee leading the nation. It compelled me to do a little research.
It appears that Tennessee ranks 39 in the nation in education. It ranks 42 in health care, 38 in infant mortality, 33 in maternal mortality and 42 in crimes and correction.
To top it all off, the Tennessee Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton recently proposed a bill rejecting $1.8 billion of federal education funds, stating “... we’ll be able to educate the kids how Tennessee sees fit.” What an example of forward-leaning leadership!
As long as Republicans dominate the legislative and executive branches of state government, the only place that our state will lead the nation is back into the 19th century.
CRAIG HAIRE, PhD MD
Recent efforts by Mayor White and church representatives in Erwin to reduce alcohol through permits and distancing reveals they are operating from the basis of fear.
It is misguided and not government’s role to try to impose self-responsibility. It goes against all our basic principles of freedom and independence.
Consuming alcohol is a personal choice and responsibility of an individual. Alcohol is legal in this country and in Tennessee.
The residents of Erwin want better restaurants, they won’t get them if the town limits businesses that serve alcohol. It may even backfire on them, people will choose to BYOB and drink a whole six pack or bottle of wine when if they had to pay for individual drinks would likely drink less.
The mayor’s and church groups’ actions will further limit business interests. More abandoned, empty buildings. They state they want businesses other than alcohol serving businesses, but they have no plans and have made no efforts to identify or bring those businesses into town. They are at cross purposes with the county’s economic development initiatives. They also state they don’t like newcomers or tourists.
The town and the broader county whose citizens support the town are the ones who suffer. You cannot legislate personal responsibility. The attempts at shaming people who support choice witnessed at these meetings shows the most unwelcoming and un-Christian behavior.
It is up to the voters in town to replace these people and ideas or the town will continue to decline.