Health care truth
Rep. Kevin Yoder used banal clichés such as “patients over bureaucrats” to defend his vote for the American Health Care Act in his May 10 commentary. (13A, “American Health Care Act will lower costs, offer choice”) But this bill would take coverage from Kansans and strain the state budget.
The AHCA would take nearly $900 billion from Medicaid over the next decade to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy. Medicaid covers mostly children, seniors and individuals with disabilities. They would be hurt if the state is inevitably forced to make do with less.
The AHCA would remove the guarantee of coverage for those with pre-existing conditions and allow states to experiment with other approaches. But the bill does not adequately fund these alternatives. Some, such as high-risk pools, have been tried in the past and failed.
There’s a reason no prominent health providers or patient organizations support this legislation. It hurts patients, providers and communities and takes us backward. Kansans are counting on Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran and their colleagues in the Senate to do better.
Reform Resource Project
Republicans have proved incapable of good governance, with little wonder since they traditionally have declared themselves the enemy of government in the first place. This is demonstrated from the federal level to the local level, particularly in Kansas and Missouri.
I hope President Donald Trump, who embodies everything the GOP represents, sticks around until the GOP loses both houses in 2018.
Michael L. Blair
It seems President Donald Trump is subjecting the GOP to a stress test:
Sexual assault — check.
Fraud ($25 million to settle Trump University lawsuits) — check.
Lying (crowd size, Muslims dancing to celebrate 9/11) — check.
Libel (allegations of wiretapping) — check.
Obstruction of justice — check.
Now treason — so far, so good.
The only thing left is the most dreaded: What if he costs Republicans re-election? That would be the ultimate stress test.
What it takes
News about public education has almost entirely been about macro-issues: levels and distribution of funding, funding the needs of disparate populations and similar matters.
Even if those concerns are somehow resolved in favor of much more funding, fully appropriate distributions and greatly expanded programs such as early childhood (all of which I strongly favor), they will move the needle of student learning and deep understanding only to a small degree.
Essential as they are, the goals we all want from publicly funded education find these matters to be necessary but not sufficient. Education everywhere needs fundamental changes so teachers become coaches of understanding, not fountains of knowledge; so that students learn cooperatively by shared projects; so that students on their own come to appreciate the beauty and relevance of understanding; and so that they become lifelong learners, not efficient test takers.
Getting there involves ending high-stakes testing and retaining and promoting teachers and principals on the basis not of being highly qualified but of being highly effective. Adequate funding is necessary. Effective teaching is essential.
P.S. The two major teachers’ unions share these views. They are not impediments to deep understanding — they are its means.
Pets over people
I am a retired schoolteacher, now working as a substitute teacher. Let me tell you what one of my second-grade students said the other day.
She came up to me and boldly asked, “Do you have any pet dogs?” I laughed and said, “No.” Then she asked, “Do you have any pet cats?” I said, “No.” Then she said, “Do you have any pets at all?” I answered, “No, I don’t.”
So she said almost angrily, “Then you have nothing.”
These are the kind of twisted values kids are learning from society (and school) nowadays, because of animal rights radicals.
I yearn for the days when teachers could use prayer and scripture in the classrooms.
President Donald Trump may have the power to share highly sensitive classified intelligence information with the Russians, but not the right to betray us and our allies by doing so.