Letters to the Editor

July 31, 2013

Gordon Parks Elementary School, minimum wage, assault rifle ban

The court battle that resulted in a judge ordering renewal of Gordon Parks Elementary School’s charter has been an unhappy distraction from an essential mission: helping Kansas City’s highest-risk urban-core children learn and grow.
Gordon Parks

The court battle that resulted in a judge ordering renewal of Gordon Parks Elementary School’s charter has been an unhappy distraction from an essential mission: helping Kansas City’s highest-risk urban-core children learn and grow.

With the court’s decision, we are enrolling K-2 students for classes starting Aug. 21.

I hope the state of Missouri is also ready to move on. In the interest of our mutual public missions of helping children, I urge the state not to appeal the court’s decisive ruling.

Neither side should waste additional resources, which I am sure we can agree are better spent for our children’s progress.

Gordon Parks enrolls children who are the toughest to teach because of generational poverty’s toxic stress and family instability, homelessness, violent crime, drugs and trauma. Some students arrive at school two years below grade level.

This is offered as perspective, not an excuse.

Gordon Parks’ contract with our sponsor, the University of Central Missouri, includes specific accountability measurements. There are tough consequences if we fail.

We will not fail, because in a world of standardized tests, our children are not standard — but they can learn and grow into productive Kansas Citians.

Doug Curry

President of

Gordon Parks Elementary

School Board

Mission Hills Minimum wage

As I read “Rallies demand a living wage” (7-30, A1), I couldn’t help picturing McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson standing before his bathroom mirror each morning as he prepares for his work day.

I wondered if he ever questions whether his value to society is really more than 900 times greater than that of his average restaurant employee. Probably not. He knows the answer.

Martha Taylor

Overland Park Assault rifle ban

I would very much appreciate hearing from a National Rifle Association member on why the association feels so strongly about having assault rifles.

I would like to know what they feel they can accomplish with an assault rifle that they cannot accomplish with a shotgun or handgun. I am just asking for someone to explain it to me as I truly do not understand.

I understand their use in a military or police setting, but I do not understand their use by private citizens.

Why do I support a ban on assault weapons? I think it is always imperative to understand the other person’s point of view, and that’s why I’m asking.

Christine Bovos

Overland Park No prayer in schools

In response letter writers wanting religion and prayer in public schools, I wish to remind citizens that they have choices regarding the educational milieu available to them — private and parochial schools.

Nothing prevents parents from enrolling their children in a parochial school if religious training, tradition, prayer and religious foundation are their preferences, wishes and priorities.

But don’t ask Americans to fund your religion in public schools. Not only is it unconstitutional, but consider those who may not share your religion and religious beliefs.

I often hear from citizens and politicians in public forums — mostly right wingers — who think public schools should teach prayer, morality, ethics and right and wrong, according to Christian beliefs. I say that is the duty of parents, the family unit and the churches they attend and not the duty of public school and the personnel employed there.

Don’t direct tax dollars to promote any religion. If you want God in your classrooms, then make the investments and choices to support parochial and private schools and send your children there. My dad did for eight kids, and all without one dollar of tax money.

Michael Yanez

Tonganoxie Bush defended U.S.

There are some who apparently think we cannot be critical of the Obama administration’s handling and response to the attack on our facility in Benghazi, Libya, where our ambassador and three other Americans were killed, unless we are critical of the Bush administration’s handling and response to other attacks.

However, the Bush administration did not have infighting over several versions of talking points before sending someone totally uninformed to five Sunday news programs saying a peaceful demonstration over a video triggered an attack. President George W. Bush never followed up such a lame tactic with the same story at the U.N.

The Bush administration did not fail to respond to security concerns expressed by an ambassador. The Bush administration did not sacrifice security for the appearance of normalization for an upcoming election. President Barack Obama had said al-Qaida was on the run. Benghazi contradicted that.

The Bush administration did not respond to an attack by telling victims that help was not available. None of our ambassadors was killed during the Bush administration’s two terms.

It would appear our facilities were properly defended during the Bush years.

Jim Kilen

Kansas City Hispanic heroes

The First Amendment protects everyone. It gives every citizen the right to express his or her opinion about our government, culture or society.

The First Amendment also enables people to express racist views. They should understand, however, that many Americans are proud of their heritage, culture and way of life.

Some write letters full of hate and then say God bless America. The immigration debate has done that to many Americans. Yet most people want immigration reform.

In my Mexican heritage, we have lost uncles, cousins, friends and church members to World War I, World War II and the wars in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Mexican-Americans have a high number of heroes who’ve given their lives for our freedoms. Some have won the Congressional Medal of Honor. We have given our lives, blood, souls and hearts for America.

We all have the same rights, whoever you are. Many Americans hide their racist views under the banner of patriotism.

All human beings are made in the image of God. God is love, not hate.

The GOP leaders want to stop this reform period.

Florentino Camacho Jr.

Kansas City Military survival

Although militaries the world over since day one have been tainted with sexual mistreatment among the ranks, it doesn’t mean this miasma must be allowed to take the institution down the drain.

Jake Bell

Kansas City Health care, lottery

I have often heard the Powerball lottery game referred to as “a tax on people who are bad at math,” implying a less-than-adequate understanding of probabilities and outcomes.

With the impending start of the Affordable Care Act, those in the mathematically challenged category will now have health insurance that they believe is free.

In addition, because they are already used to standing in line at the lottery counter, standing in line to see a health-care provider will not be an inconvenience for them.

Fred Harper

Gladstone Corporate farmers

In response to one of my emails to Sen. Roy Blunt, he said government had to get its fiscal house in order so as not to saddle our children and grandchildren with billions in debt.

Almost immediately upon receiving this email, I saw that Sens. Blunt and Claire McCaskill voted to give $100 billion a year to wealthy corporate farming interests.

I know that many in Congress participate in the ownership of these big corporate farms and are determined to maintain the dole for themselves, but this is really unfair to small farmers and to the nation.

As the government pours money into the pockets of the wealthy corporate farms and as the small farms disappear, our food supply increasingly is placed in the hands of large corporate farms. Having them control our food supply is a scary thought.

They will be able to charge whatever price they want and produce whatever they want with no competition.

Arthur Basler

Lee’s Summit

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