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Friday, July 6, 2018: Overturn Roe v. Wade, keep the North Woods wild, proficiency learning critical

Overturn Roe v. Wade

Not many people have the potential to create a computer. Many, however, have the potential, at some time in their lives, to create something even more complicated and precious — and that is a human life with a heart and soul.

Approximately, 1 million American unborn children, who would like to immigrate from their mothers’ wombs and be welcomed by their families, are aborted each year.

How can some politicians rightly favor the right of children of illegal immigrants to be with their families, while denying unborn American children their unalienable right to life and the right to be with their families?

Many Constitution experts ( John Hart Ely of Yale, Laurence Tribe and Archibald Cox of Harvard, and former Supreme Court Justices Byron White and William Rehnquist) have maintained that Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in 1973, was wrongly decided and is unconstitutional.

Hopefully, a new justice on the court will give them the opportunity to restore the unalienable right to life for all human life.

Gerald Thibodeau

Brewer

Keep North Woods wild

We in Maine enjoy being able to see moose and bear, and go camping, fishing, hiking and hunting, especially in remote wilderness areas. A big reason is that Maine’s longstanding “adjacency policy” serves the Unorganized Territory and our state well. Large tracts of north country have been protected from sprawling development, where we can still “get away from it all,” and where animals needing large wilderness areas can survive.

Thanks to the adjacency policy, when new development locates within a mile of already existing development, we concentrate development rather than let it sprawl haphazardly. We pay less in service costs instead of subsidizing services 10 miles away. We protect Maine’s wildlife, rivers, forests and lakes from the threats of development sprawl. We maintain the community-oriented character of our state rather than allow strip development to cut up our North Woods.

The Land Use Planning Commission now proposes allowing development to go 10 miles from outer boundaries of “rural hubs” and two miles from public roads. Close to 2 million acres of Maine’s North Woods are targeted to become “primary locations” for development.

Large-lot subdivisions that fragment the North Woods would be allowed. Economic costs of sprawl are many, and anyone who wants to protect Maine’s natural resources ought to take notice, too. What will happen to the lakes and ponds located within and outside development areas?

The one-mile adjacency rule plays an extremely important role in protecting Maine’s unique character. The public must take the proposal to eliminate it seriously and with caution.

Cloe Chunn

Registered Maine Guide

Waldo

Family separations wrong

I have questions for the BDN and its readers. If a basic human right is to have a family, and by extension, preserve that family unit, how does the misdemeanor crime of illegal entry into the United States preclude this right?

Considering that there are multiple wounded parties (each parent and each child), if the parent(s) have not acted in a way to endanger their child, how does the state justify their separation? Is it not a profound violation of natural, human and civil rights when parents and children are separated without cause?

Why isn’t Maine one of the states suing for the reunification of immigrant parents and children? What do our current and prospective public servants think? Why haven’t they made their positions clear yet? What are they hiding from? What do you think is right?

Matthew Leahy

Bangor

Collins’ precedent argument weak

On Sunday, Sen. Susan Collins told interviewers that she will not vote to confirm a Supreme Court nominee who doesn’t respect established precedent, specifically with regard to Roe v. Wade and abortion rights. She said she had previously voted to confirm Neil Gorsuch because he told her he would honor precedent, and even had co-authored “a whole book on precedent.”

She neglected to mention that Justice Gorsuch has already abandoned precedent by voting to reverse the 1977 Supreme Court decision Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, which allowed public employee unions to charge agency fees to non-members who benefit from negotiation and contract administration services.

Collins has been in politics a long time, so if we assume her account of the Gorsuch conversation is accurate, it’s doubtful she is so naive as to believe a commitment to honor judicial precedent made by a Supreme Court nominee, when the example she uses to support that belief doesn’t, in fact, do so.

Hopefully, by the time the vote on the next nominee arrives, she will have a more defensible position.

Roger Carpenter

Freeport

Proficiency learning critical

As a former educator and the workforce-training designer for one of Maine’s largest companies, I know a few tenets to be true when it comes to educating our youth. First, when students are challenged, they surpass expectations. Second, teachers need to work together to sequence students’ learning. And, third, policymakers need to focus on education reforms that prepare our youth for their futures in Maine’s workforce. That’s why I believe in proficiency-based education and the potential it holds.

I talk with business leaders across Maine who struggle to find workers with the skills their businesses need to grow, compete and succeed. To address this growing skills gap, public education must keep up with employers’ needs.

How bad is this gap? Only 43 percent of Maine adults have earned a credential of value beyond high school, yet 66 percent of high-wage, in-demand Maine job openings through 2024 will require some level of postsecondary education.

Proficiency-based learning helps close skills gaps by creating an environment for students to “own” their learning, understand and master learning performance measures, and improve their future success by tying learning to the needs of our workforce. It also helps youth develop solid work habits and strong communication, critical thinking and problem-solving skills — many of the skills that employers need most.

Considering these benefits, it would be unwise for us to limit proficiency-based learning to only some schools. Doing so would deny a portion of our students its great potential for enhancing Maine’s 21st-century economy.

Steven Pound

Greenville

 


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