Public schools good investment
The World-Herald recently published an article regarding education funding in Nebraska (“Aid formula bound to have winners and losers,” June 9). The article used the phrase “change the state aid formula to rein in costs” to summarize recent legislative action.
Readers may conclude that current investment in educating Nebraska’s children is extravagant. This is not the case.
According to the National Education Association, in 2011 Nebraska ranked 26th nationally in per pupil expenditures on public elementary and secondary education. The fact is, the Nebraska Legislature was trying to rein in the funding that was required by law.
Year after year, the Legislature tweaks the state aid formula, but this formula has never been funded as originally intended. Good-quality public education supports Nebraska’s economic outlook and leads to a well-informed citizenry — the foundation of Nebraska’s future.
I hope the Nebraska K-12 education finance study referenced by State Sen. Kate Sullivan will provide a more comprehensive and balanced approach than the current formula allows. As the Education Committee begins its “broad look at school funding,” I urge Nebraskans to contact their representatives to make public education more of a priority. We all share the responsibility of educating Nebraska’s children.
Cindy Copich, Bellevue
Cut, don’t spend on Head Start
In calling for more government funding of pre-K programs, Bruce Lesley and Carolyn Rooker claim “good-quality pre-kindergarten education can make all the difference” for kids (“Nebraska could use help with pre-K,” June 17 Midlands Voices).
Numerous studies show that these programs don’t work. For example, according to the 2010 Head Start Impact Study, which tracked the progress of 3- and 4-year-olds entering Head Start through kindergarten and first grade, Head Start had little to no positive effects for participating children.
For the 4-year-old group, compared to similarly situated children not in Head Start, the program failed to raise participants’ cognitive abilities on 41 measures. The children’s language, literacy, math and school performance failed to improve.
Alarmingly, access to Head Start for the 3-year-old group actually had a harmful effect on the teacher-assessed math ability of these children once they entered kindergarten. Teachers reported non-participating children were more prepared in math than those in Head Start.
Head Start also had little to no effect on socio-emotional, health or parenting outcomes of children in the program. For example, “Teachers reported that Head Start group children were more shy or socially reticent than the control group children,” the study said. The 3-year-old group did only slightly better.
Instead of increasing funding for programs that don’t work, we should phase them out.
Tom Ryan, Papillion
Libraries a sound investment
The inestimable Jeff Koterba has said it all with his June 21 editorial cartoon on library closings.
Our libraries need to be funded so they can keep doors open to serve young and old in our diverse and expanding city and county population. Our per capita funding is on the lowest rung of funding by cities of similar size. Kudos go to the Omaha Public Library staff who administer great service in the face of inadequate funding over the years.
In a society that has vastly changed this past generation, branch libraries serve as positive refuges for many. Education, literacy, IT, research and cultural programs need to be available for all of us.
Omaha is a great city. Let’s keep our libraries great.
Kay Bashus, Omaha
City garbage trucks trash farm
“Eat my dust” used to be a funny saying. Now that I own a cow/calf farm near Brainard, Neb., I don’t find it funny anymore.
Semi-tractor garbage trucks from Omaha are using County Road “R” near my farm. I cannot go outside because of the dust in the air. I had to move my herd because they will not eat dirt-ridden grass, and my yields are down year after year.
The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, my county supervisor and I can’t do anything about the dust. If I lived where this trash was coming from, I bet the those people down at the State Capitol would be right over to fix the problem. However, I live in rural America.
My farm, my life; your garbage, my problem!
Bill Veach, Brainard, Neb.
Hang up and secure the border
Our government tells us that monitoring our electronic data is OK because this helps to keep us safe. If the federal government is so concerned about the safety of Americans, why is there so much objection to securing the border?
Sheri Robertson, Lincoln
Immigration reform: Kill bill
Concerning the immigration bill, Congress should listen to the advice of Calvin Coolidge, our 30th president, who said, “It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.”
Klaus P. Lindner, La Vista
Catholic religious liberty stance
A recent Midlands Voices column complained that the Catholic Church’s religious freedom was threatened by the health care law’s birth-control mandate.
When the law was being pushed through Congress, the Church’s leadership was very much in favor of the concept of health care reform. Bishop James D. Conley (now of Lincoln) wrote, “The Church sees access to basic health care as a right and a social responsibility.”
The Church was quite willing to see all Americans subjected to taxes and mandates to promote Catholic social views, regardless of whether those Americans agreed with those views. The Church’s concern about freedom only developed when the law would impose requirements contrary to the Church’s beliefs.
If the Church wants us to care about its freedom, it should show more respect for ours.
If the Church had defended our freedom not to be taxed and mandated to provide social programs, I would be more inclined to sympathize with its complaints about loss of religious freedom.
William Flack, Kearney, Neb.
Shorter porch begins at home
I keep reading about how much it would cost to move the fences in at TD Ameritrade. Why not move home plate out? All you would need to do is move the diamond and resod.
How much would that cost? I believe that also was done at Rosenblatt Stadium when the field was rebuilt many years ago. Greg Peterson (a former assistant Omaha city planning director) could probably design that between games.
Roger Sorenson, Omaha
Need home run hitters to homer
Whatever we do here in Nebraska, don’t let the announcers at the College World Series tell you the fences need to be moved in at TD Ameritrade.
It is not like this year’s CWS featured players who have hit a home run in every game or at every crucial point in the ballgame. Look at their stats. Kyle Schwarber from Indiana hit 18 home runs in 58 games. Mason Katz from LSU had 15 homers in 66 games, while Colin Moran from North Carolina had 13 in 67 games.
So don’t think they are all hitting home runs like Pete Incaviglia or Jeff Ledbetter did in college. Although today’s athletes are excellent players, they are not power hitters, no matter what field they are on.
Those games played prior to the CWS were probably played on lesser fields. These players were pitched to by sometimes lesser players, and those were still the best home run numbers they could put up.
Not hitting homes runs is no crime. The crime would be moving the fences in and becoming a joke in the eyes of loyal fans. TD Ameritrade is a beautiful baseball field, and if you are going to hit a home run, you should have to earn it.
Besides, it’s not like they’re putting a lot of dents in the fence anyway. That, my friends, is why they call it “warning track power” at all ballparks.
Lloyd Sorensen, South Sioux City, Neb.
Boom, creak, crack, creak, sigh
I enjoyed the June 21 Pulse letter from Barney Rempe on the hype surrounding approaching storms.
Yes, I know we need to be alerted and prepared for deadly weather, but I sure miss sitting on a porch swing with my dad and watching a good old summer thunderstorm roll in.
Our only warnings were the smell of rain, increasingly dark clouds and approaching thunder.
We would stay on the swing until the wind drove so much rain on us that we had to move inside. No Doppler radar, no TV-certified meteorologist. Just our noses, eyes and ears.
For a while the storm blocked out the smells of Butternut coffee and the stockyards that wafted into our Omaha neighborhood at 35th and Jackson Streets when the breeze was from the south.
Now I sit on the porch swing in West O with my teenage granddaughter watching storms roll in, trying to impart my memories and love of storms to a kid who is afraid of storms, probably due to all the TV hype. But we do have our electronic devices tuned to Doppler radar.
Laurie Moriarty, Omaha