Legislative actions harm public education

Re: the Feb. 11 article “Panel OKs wider use of voucherlike funding.”

Rep. Debbie Lesko said: “To say that we are trying to destroy public education is totally, totally untrue.” Really? Sorry Rep. Lesko, but either you and your ilk are unaware of the havoc you are wreaking, or you are being untrue about your intentions.

What else are we to infer from the Legislature’s failure to fund approximately $1.55 billion due districts, the attempt to make it more difficult for districts to seek local funding and the ever-expanding efforts to divert public-education funding to private operators?

Yes, the state’s primary funding of public schools is on a per-child basis. This is why declining enrollment causes a downward spiral of unmet needs, where eventually those unable to go elsewhere are left with no choice and little opportunity.

Traditional public schools aren’t only where 85 percent of Arizona’s children learn, they are also the core of their communities. Public schools aren’t failing our children: We are failing them.

These are my views, not those those of the Oracle School Board.

Linda Thomas

President, Oracle School Board

Inspiring stories

abound at PCC

If you read the Star, you’d think nothing good happens at Pima Community College. If we are going to be criticized for our failings, shouldn’t we be acknowledged for the things we do well? Fair and balanced, correct?

In the past few years, while problems have been arising at the district level, some of my former students were accepted into MFA programs; others started at the University of Arizona’s Eller School; and others are teaching. One was accepted into the London School of Economics; another had her first novel published; and another started the nursing program at the University of Arizona. I had the opportunity to teach or mentor these students (and many others), to write recommendation letters for them and/or to help them with scholarships. I am proud of the work we did and that they are doing.

All of my colleagues can tell similar stories. All of them. So, while PCC’s governance problems unfold on the front page of the paper, please remember good work continues to happen there every day.

Ken Vorndran

Professor, Tucson

Support our libraries and stop tax measure

Re: the Feb. 5 editorial “Our vital libraries would be damaged under tax plan.”

I am concerned about reducing the capabilities of our wonderful Pima County libraries. But I am also concerned that someone from outside our county wants to tell us how to spend the special district taxes we, the property owners, voted for. Stop HB 2379.

Jackie Powell

Retired, Tucson

Flawed health law hurting middle class

The president is right: Income inequality has gotten bad. However, he refuses to acknowledge that it has only gotten worse on his watch. From 2009 to 2012 the top 1 percent have seen their income rise by more than 30 percent while for the rest of us it grew by less than .5 percent.

Quantitative easing has mainly helped the rich, while the Affordable Care Act has hurt the middle class. There are parts of the ACA that are very good, but it is so poorly written that it has cost jobs.

Small businesses hold off hiring, and large companies are dropping their health insurance programs. Now the CBO has said it will cost Americans another 2.3 million jobs. Now the costs, which were originally projected to be $770 billion, have escalated to over $2 trillion.It’s time to correct the problems in the ACA.

John Thomas

Retired, Tucson

Congrats, Cats

First, let me wish Brandon Ashley a speedy and 100 percent recovery on his foot surgery, and congratulate Jordin Mayes for an outstanding performance on Sunday against a very good Beavers team.

As a lifelong Wildcat fan, it is such a pleasure to watch this team! They are all excellent players, and I am not taking about their basketball skill sets. I am referring to their characters: gritty, persistent and team-oriented.

Win or lose, Tucson loves you! By the way, for those hearty fans traveling to Devil Country on Friday, make sure you wear a raincoat!

Anne Lane

Retired teacher, Tucson

Let Hobby Lobby build its own birth control

Following the discussion about corporations’ refusal to provide birth control for their employees can be very interesting.

The answer is for Hobby Lobby to offer some of the tacky glue they sell and for Conestoga Wood to provide some of their raw material and ship it all to China. There they will construct all the chastity belts needed for these employers to distribute to their employees. Why have they not yet thought about it?

Gisela Petzold

Retired, Tucson