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Public schools belong to people, are run by voters



Published: Thu, July 12, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Public schools belong to people, are run by voters

EDITOR:

Cal Thomas, in a recent column extols the virtues of William Bennett, former secretary of Education. It was the Republican Bennett who infested the Department of Education with anti-public school parochialists. The Republicans, promised for years to dismantle this "wasteful, redundant educational appendage."

Thomas promotes the latest scheme to demean the schools of all the people. He labels them "government" schools. Thomas alleges "that Bennett's promotion, K-12, will help caring adults provide an educational foundation for their children at home." The columnist exposes his educational ignorance by refusing to acknowledge that there was "home schooling" long before group and public schools were available.

Bennett's promotion to eliminate public schools is labeled, K-12, and he says, "I will provide a comprehensive curriculum and innovative instructional tools." He maintains the cost will be $1095 per home-schooled pupil. Who will school the mentally and physically handicapped pupil? What will happen to extracurricular activities?

Contrary to the dogma of Thomas, the public schools are operated and controlled by elected citizens of the community. The funds provided by the federal government are a small part of the operating budget of local schools. Both Bennett and Thomas promote the propaganda of Republican, conservative, religious fundamentalists think tanks.

The public high schools would benefit if the state universities would cease and desist from the practice of offering remedial high school courses. The liberal arts colleges avoid this trap. The Republicans along with the Republicrat, James A. Traficant, are demanding religious rites in the public schools.

Government, laws and courts cannot tell citizens what to pray, where to pray, when to pray and how to pray. This violates the constitutional privilege guaranteed by this democratic Republic.

MELVIN S. FRANK

Poland

With gambling, Valley could experience growth

EDITOR:

A recent article in The New York Times told the story of an old steel town, with a population of 100,000, devastated by the closing of steel mills in the '70s and '80s and the hard economic times that it has had to endure for the last 20 years. Youngstown, Ohio? No, Joliet, Illinois.

The article also told of the spectacular eco nomic growth that Joliet has experienced over the last few years. What was the impetus that drove the growth? Gambling.

Since Joliet legalized riverboat gambling, the city has experienced 35 percent growth every year. The school system has benefited from the increased revenues, infrastructure improvements are ongoing, and housing starts are increasing at a tremendous rate driven by job growth.

In most cases, gambling should be a last resort for cities that have failed to provide economic growth through enterprise zones, infrastructure improvement and other traditional methods.

Youngstown is such a city.

The question that needs answering is are we going to let the clergy and others who oppose gambling based on moral beliefs determine our fates, or are we as citizens going to take action and demand that our politicians pass legislation that will allow Youngstown to legalize gambling?

BILL JOHNSON

Boardman




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