Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | MAY 02, 2011 7:20 AM

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Cooperation necessary to save American future

A popular paraphrase of Abraham Lincoln’s Lyceum address says, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

Let’s face it: the United States is faltering. Millions of hard-working families are struggling, the unemployment rate is at 9 percent, the national debt is skyrocketing, we are engaging in what seems to be perpetual involvement in the Middle East, and our elected officials resort to the tactic of blaming everything on the other party. We have seem to forgotten the lessons from the past.

Many times in its 231-year history, America has been brought down to her knees — and every time, she has gotten back up through strong leadership and cooperation among our people. Could this be the time she doesn’t?

Half of the time I turn on the news, it is speculation on who is going to run for the GOP in 2012 and analyses on the president’s re-election strategy. The next election is not what’s at stake here. Nor is it little political victories that are meaningless in the long run or making sure that the interest groups’ agendas are fulfilled. Our petty political differences don’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things. What is at stake is the future of this country.

We are all Americans, and how we choose to proceed is vital. We need to put aside the blame game, make the cuts that are necessary, and bear the burdens in order to save this union from the brink of collapse once more. If not, we will be the next Rome, the next Greece, or the next USSR. Is that the way America should go down in the history books?

Brett Wallace
UI freshman

Branstad’s two-year budget is cynical politics

I am concerned about Gov. Terry Branstad’s duplicitous budget practices. He was elected saying that he would end budget gimmicks, yet that is exactly what he is up to. His insistence on a two-year budget has nothing to do with providing a stable government but instead is designed to cut valuable public services.

Over the last 12 months, state revenues have increased by more than 4.4 percent, and that will likely continue, but if the governor can lock in a two-year budget now, with the current low (albeit improving) revenues, he can save money for all sorts of things — including giving more tax breaks to his friends in high places. This is even more obvious considering that, just two weeks ago, he line-item vetoed two portions of a bill that would have provided tax relief specifically for people making fewer than $45,000 a year and a small-business tax deduction. At the same time, he left in that same bill a tax-relief fund that will be created without designating the recipients of such a fund.

To top it off, 1,500 teachers’ jobs are at risk because of a proposed underfunding of education. We need to stop voting in elected officials that hurt the budget by giving tax cuts to large corporations and the super-rich while at the same time crying “Budget crisis.”

Joe Nehring
North Liberty

DI’s use of profanity is unprofessional

I’m wondering why the recent discussion about civil discourse hasn’t had more people questioning the professionalism of The Daily Iowan itself. I was a bit irked to see that a publication written mostly by aspiring journalists used, in numerous articles, the “f-word.”

I honestly don’t have any problem with profanity myself, but come on. You know that any real newspaper wouldn’t actually print the “mother of dirty words,” as Ralphie from A Christmas Story might say. Even the Huffington Post used “F***” when reporting the story.

It’s bad enough that every DI article contains at least one blaring grammatical error, and that a tiring amount of attention is still given to the 21-ordinance. If you don’t want the profession completely taken over by bloggers then, please, remind us that it’s still a profession.

Liz Schorsch
UI sophomore

Education reform mustn’t focus on teachers

As someone who has worked with students in and out of the classroom in Michigan, Hawaii, and Iowa since 1970, I want to thank The Daily Iowan for writing about the visit to City High by Iowa’s new Department of Education Director, Jason Glass. Glass, like so many “consultants” and other educational “experts,” focuses on how we can improve teachers.

We have good teachers in Iowa. Our last wave of educational reform brought us the No Child Left Behind Act, with its focus on test scores. As teachers know, the irony of No Child Left Behind is that millions of kids have been left behind when they enter kindergarten: children who come from homes with insufficient nutrition or medical care; drug/alcohol/sexual abuse; violence; homeless children; or families continually moving. Children who have never been read to, who live where television and videos are blaring continuously.

These kids start school behind middle-class kids and, even with the overwhelming efforts of teachers and teacher’s aides, many of these kids never catch up. We need to quit trying to reinvent the education wheel and come to terms with the reality of millions of kids who need much more help.

They need help before they begin going to school, and they need a lot more individualized help once they’re in school. This is all going to cost money, but so have all the programs that the “education consultants” have come up with since I first started teaching in 1970.

Gary Sanders
Iowa City resident

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