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Tuesday, June 14, 2011: Time for charter schools, say no to wolves

Time for charter schools

Why not give charter schools a chance in Maine?

For the past eight months, I’ve worked as a community organizer for charter schools. I traveled to many of the counties in Maine listening to parents, students, teachers and others about what it would be like to have charter schools as an option in Maine.

Some folks were passionately against the idea, but a larger number wanted more information or the chance to investigate the concept of school choice further. I heard tearful stories about students failing, dropping out of school and losing their interest in learning.

Regardless of their position on charter schools, all parents want one thing – the best education for their children. Is what’s best for all children always available at the local school?  Sometimes, but not always. What options are available when the family can’t move to another district or afford private tuition? Nothing.

Not all charter schools are success stories. But unlike traditional public schools, those that fail to meet their goals are closed. Meanwhile, charter schools that are yielding results stand as models for other school founders and traditional schools alike. Most importantly, they’re meeting student learning needs today. As evidence mounts, it’s harder to defend the box within which traditional educators are forced to operate.

Improving accountability for the quality of publicly funded education is a big challenge for all of us, and the charter school model incorporates multiple techniques for addressing this issue.  I believe the time has come to allow charter schools in Maine.

Dorothy Havey

Say no to wolves

I live part of the year in Michigan and part in Maine. I have seen what wolves have done to the economy and other animals.

After the re-introduction of wolves in Michigan, a law was passed stopping the hunting of coyotes and trapping because they didn’t want anyone to mistake a wolf for a coyote. Now there are pockets of wolves and pockets of coyotes! Each have their own territory!

As a result, snowshoe rabbits are extinct and all small game is gone. The deer herd is at an all-time low, in fact one person said, “All we need is just one bad winter and the deer herd will be extinct.” Also you cannot see a deer track without seeing a wolf track behind it.

Farmers are hurting with the loss of livestock. The government started paying hundreds of thousands of tax dollars to the farmers for their losses but not all was recouped. Cats and dogs are killed. The list is endless.

Hunters stopped hunting in the upper peninsula, hurting the economy with the loss of millions of dollars. Mainers need to contact their legislators or the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Gene A. Trisch

Early education and security

A June 2 BDN article headlined, “Area leaders: early education important for Maine business,” stressed the importance of high-quality early childhood education and its impact on Maine’s future economy. I agree fully with the position outlined in this article; moreover, I would like to add that a strong early childhood education is also important to our national security.

I have read that today millions of young Americans, including 21 percent of Maine’s youth, do not get their high school diplomas on time and thus are ineligible to serve in our military if that is an option they wish to pursue. And many of those who do graduate from high school still fail military entrance exams.

This is a big problem for those young people, for the Maine economy and ultimately for our national security if we do not have the talent needed for a strong, modern military.

As explained in the BDN article, high-quality early education is a proven way to improve later academic performance and increase graduation rates. These programs also help youngsters develop curiosity, character and social skills which are important to the development of self-discipline, motivation and the ability to work as a team member.

Thus, not only should we strive to help our children develop and become fully qualified for the jobs they will fill, we should also be concerned about their qualifications for a military career if they so choose. And quality early learning can have a major impact in success in the later education and  development needed for these qualifications.

Charles F (Chick) Rauch
Rear Admiral, US Navy (retired)

How did Weiner win?

With what’s going on with Anthony Weiner all over the news it surprises some, and me, that he was elected in the first place!

How does someone with his level of immaturity, a person who transmits pornography and when caught, lies to put blame elsewhere, pass through the various levels of election? How was he supported and promoted along the way?

There was a letter to the editor in the BDN in the recent past that said that maybe we should quit voting for awhile. It’s an interesting idea. There may be many good representatives for us but there are too many who think of themselves first and we should have time to sort them out.

Michael Tammany

Immigration tide has turned

Alabama just passed an immigration law even tougher than Arizona’s, which requires that  employers use E-verify to determine worker eligibility. Twenty-seven states are considering or have already adopted similar requirements.

And the Supreme Court, overturning lower courts, has recently ruled that Arizona’s E-verify law is constitutional. The Supreme Court has also declined to overturn the Hazelton, Penn.  ordinance requiring businesses to use E-verify. These are big defeats for the ACLU, SPLC, et al.

For decades, the federal government has refused to enforce immigration laws, dumping the costs of illegal migration on states and local communities. And the ACLU, an 800-pound gorilla with deep pockets, has sued or threatened to sue any state or town that dares to attempt to respond. But tiny Hazelton fought back, all the way to the Supreme Court. And they won.

The tide has turned. The open borders juggernaut is floundering. Having lost in the courts,  big money is predictably fighting back with a media campaign of misinformation. E-verify is “error prone.” Wrong. Immigration enforcement is “racist” or “mean spirited” Also wrong. In other words, the same old smears and attacks.

I simply can’t understand how the ACLU could align itself with this shameless agenda.  Five billion people have incomes less than the average income in Mexico. Would the ACLU  propose that we allow them all to immigrate, or would they adopt some limit? And how would they suggest we enforce that limit fairly?

Jonette Christian
Mainers for Sensible Immigration Policy

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