Debating public funding for private schools
Re: “Here’s why Democrats should support vouchers,” Aug. 7 opinion column
Thanks to Megan Schrader for a sensible and persuasive suggestion to Democrats: support vouchers.
Her proposal to set income limitations for vouchers, makes perfect sense. Don’t support those who can well-afford expensive private education. Rather, allow parents who rely on their education allotment from the government to choose the school that best suits their child.
I can speak only for the Denver Catholic school where I worked with the children’s choir, but am familiar with the statistics:
99% of Catholic high school students graduate (NCEA), compared with the national average of all high schools, 86% (usafacts.org)
92.4% of Catholic high school graduates within the Archdiocese of Denver in 2015-16 went on to enroll at 4-year college, according to denvercatholicschools.com.
The Black, Latino and Asian population accounts for 19.8% of the Catholic school population (16.1% Latino; 7.7% Black/African American; 5.5% Asian American; 5.9% Multiracial). (NCEA)
17.4% of students in Catholic schools are not Catholic (NCEA)
In 2016 the student-teacher ratio in Catholic schools was 13:1 (NCEA)
Catholic schools in Denver are accredited, their teachers, credentialed.
I do not mean to exclude other private schools, but to agree that vouchers given them will be to the benefit of the entire community. Catholic schools alone save the nation over $24 billion dollars a year, and the combined savings from private schooling amounts to much more than that. This is money parents of private-school students have paid in addition to what they spend on tuition at their chosen school.
Vouchers should not be a right-wing agenda item; they are a correct choice for both parties.
Frances Rossi, Denver
Megan Schrader’s editorial is based on so many bad assumptions that it would take far more than 250 words just to describe them. States should never “offer public funding to private schools”!
A fundamental loss of confidence in public institutions in general and schools in particular combined with overweening trust that the invisible hand of the market will arrange all things for our betterment has engendered completely irrational public policy. The pretense of “school choice” and an imagined market in which schools compete to provide the best education is so ideologically appealing that educational reality doesn’t stand a chance, but this is a very expensive and ineffective pretense.
Charter schools in general have proven no better than those administered directly by school districts, so there’s no possible justification in transferring money to them. Some genuinely private schools outperform public ones, at great expense; providing well-off parents with vouchers serves their selfish ends, but vouchers are not the means by which most students from families of modest means can get a better education.
Public schools are failing, in large measure, because we have debased their academic integrity — restore that rather than encouraging a relative few to abandon public education for private.
Robert Chase, Aurora
Don’t forget the achievements of Flight for Life
Re: “Air ambulances can now operate as mobile ERs,” Aug. 5 news story
Colorado was the home to the first civilian air ambulance service dating back to 1972 with the birth of Flight for Life, a Centura/St. Anthony Hospital, multi state, air and ground medical transport system.
Flight for Life is the premier air transport service in the western states, celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year. With over 150,000 medical transports, Flight for Life has enjoyed accolades and recognition for being a statewide first responder for Level 1 trauma, premature infant transport, rescue operations in hard to get locations and for patients in medical distress needing a “level” trauma emergency service. These dedicated responders, pilots and ground crew are very special people that dedicate their lives to help and serve others in distress. For this we should say thank you.
Flight for Life’s helicopters have been equipped similar to an ICU for well over twenty years. Centura and FFL continues to raise the bar to have the most up to date medical equipment for their air and mobile units and their continuous training of their personnel makes them highly sort after by other systems throughout the country.
“The best part of your worst day” is when you see the Orange Bird in the sky, hovering over you to provide care and immediate transportation.
Happy 50th Anniversary and may your next 50 years be as rewarding to the citizens FFL serves and to the special breed of dedicated men and women of FFL.
Jay Weinstein, Denver
Let’s consider the problems in the Republican Party
Re: “Politically motivated swatting in Woodland Park,” Aug. 7 opinion column
As an academic, Krista Kafer should know that extrapolating to an entire group from a few individual cases demonstrates poor logic and a lack of rigor.
There needs to be a substantial proportion of group members behaving similarly before arguing for a group norm. For example, over 60% of Republicans believe the 2020 election was stolen and support laws to prevent them losing again.
This suggests Republicans do not support democracy and/or are afraid they cannot win without cheating.
This may be why Republicans have also mastered the use of gerrymandering, far better than Democrats, to give them power even when receiving well under 50% of the votes (see Wisconsin for example).
Of more concern is Republicans promoting candidates that aggressively support the fossil fuel industry while working to block efforts to mitigate climate change, suggesting Republicans are not only anti-science but delusional.
All of these Republican “norms” pose grave threats to democracy and our country’s future. I hope that Kafer holds her students to higher standards than she does for her own op-ed columns.
Garry Auld, Fort Collins
Let voters decide the abortion question directly
Re: “The crusade to revoke your abortion rights will never, ever end,” Aug. 7 opinion column
Let’s stop referring to anti-abortion rights activists as “pro-life.” They are not concerned about the life and health of the pregnant woman, nor are they concerned about the life of the baby or his/her family after birth. To be accurate, they are “anti-choice.”
Their goal is to impose their minority religious precepts on a majority of Americans. Their views are not based on science, they are based on the preaching of patriarchal organizations that seek to control a woman’s personal medical decisions and thereby keep her subservient.
They should realize this will never be an abortion-free country — abortions have been around as long as civilization. Abortion is health care, and thus needs to be accessible and safe.
Kansas voters showed that a majority of people do not want more restrictive abortion laws. Other “red” states should have the courage to let their citizens make the same choice.
Karen McClurg, Wheat Ridge
The search for missing … valentines?
Re: “Mar-a-Lago search could be end of another ‘long national nightmare,’” Aug. 10 opinion column
I must say I had a good laugh reading your guest columnist, Harry Litman, who, when justifying the search of ex-president Trump’s home, mentioned the “particularly brazen and damaging” aspects of Trump’s mishandling of official documents.
According to Litman, “among the documents he reportedly took with him and has declined to return are true historical items belonging to the American people” are valentines to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un. If only this fact was general knowledge!
Even the most strident Trump zealots would find the search justified if they only knew the issue involved missing valentines!
Scott Grove, Lakewood
Sinema goes to bat to keep taxes low for wealthy
Re: “Senate passes budget package,” Aug. 8 news story
So thank you, Kyrsten Sinema, for agreeing to vote for the Inflation Reduction Act. Since the U.S. is the first or second largest contributor in the world to greenhouse gases (depending on how you measure) we must show leadership in this regard.
I’ve got two questions for you. Is it typical behavior that Democratic senators negotiate as heavily as you just did, on behalf of wealthy hedge fund managers?
The average citizen — who doesn’t have the wealth to invest in hedge funds — pays between 22% and 27% in federal income taxes. Hedge fund managers, (whom you just helped by your insistence that a loophole be left alone), only pay the 20% long-term capital gains tax on their earnings.
You just saved some of the wealthiest people in this country an annual $5 billion dollars in taxes that they would’ve had to pay, had the bill been passed as it was proposed. Add to that, the taxes saved by thousands of additional hedge fund investors across the country. Who do you actually represent, senator?
Sherre Waggoner, Castle Rock
Technology can make us safer
Re: “Woman, 32, is hit by debris, killed on I-25,” Aug. 10 news story
Considering the large number of destructive and life-threatening accidents that routinely occur nationwide because of oversize vehicles and loads traveling on our roads, railways and waterways, transportation authorities should ponder installing transponders on or near bridges, overpasses, tunnels and other low-clearance infrastructure that send wireless signals to and communicate with built-in or portable receivers in vehicles that could be programmed with the maximum height, width and weight of the vehicle and its load.
As an oversize vehicle approaches the restriction, a warning is sent automatically to the driver to avert potential disaster.
In this day and age of cheap and readily available technology, having this alert likely would save lives, bridges, overpasses, tunnels, vehicles and vehicle loads.
Michael Pravica, Henderson, Nev.
Polis’ personal use of the mail
Re: “When to expect your $750 check,” Aug. 4 news story
I just received some of my taxes back that were collected over and above what TABOR allows. The return address on the envelope from the State of Colorado clearly has in bold print “State of Colorado Official Mail — Penalty for Private Use.”
Inside the envelope included with my check, was a signed letter from Gov. Jared Polis stating he signed a bill directing this refund.
The refund, however, is required as outlined in the state Constitution, so no bill was needed. No letter was needed. I see this as purely campaign rhetoric to get a vote for Polis. That is “private use.” Per CRS 24-30-1111, this is a Class 3 Misdemeanor. Per Use.
Does anyone in the Democrat-controlled state government have the guts to file charges? Or, because this is a misdemeanor, does any judicial district prosecutor have the guts to file charges?
Roger H. Weed Jr., Colorado Springs
Are the ReTrumpian Party people insinuating they would not have included a similar letter with the $750 or $1,500 checks if they were in office instead of Polis?
Larry McLaughlin, Aurora
We can do better with TABOR
Re: “It’s like even living out of your car is gentrified,” Aug. 7 news story
Having read another article about the desperation workers and mountain towns are facing with adequate and affordable housing, I reflected on a letter to the editor that I wrote, and was published, in May regarding the TABOR amendment and the Colorado taxpayers’ refund we’re about to receive. I questioned the continued unwillingness to end TABOR and loss of monies we desperately need to solve problems.
In today’s article, a business owner suggests that Gov. Polis declare an affordable-housing emergency so federal government funding can be made available for this crisis.
We use over a billion dollars of surplus that our state government is holding to refund $750 per taxpayer because of TABOR, while asking the federal government, currently hemorrhaging in debt, to solve our problem. Democrats lacked the courage to challenge Colorado citizens and Republican legislators to repeal or manipulate spending this money throughout our state this year before calculating the surplus.
And the Republicans, beating the “it’s your money” drumbeat, lack the foresight to problem-solve, even when so many struggling people are in Republican-leaning towns and counties. We need to do better than this.
Mark Zaitz, Denver
Political sniping is tiresome
Re: “Republican complaint rips Polis rebate letter,” Aug. 6 news story
Kudos to Gov. Jared Polis. He is emulating and learning from the Republicans.
Who remembers that in April 2020 President Donald Trump refused to sign a COVID-19 relief bill passed by Congress and delayed the issuance of checks so his personal name could appear on the memo line of the checks with the words, “Economic Impact Payment.”
No president’s name has ever appeared on the checks from the Internal Revenue Service before; the idea originated with Trump himself. Was this “electioneering?”
Who remembers the 2001 recession when President George W. Bush signed stimulus checks? He did not get his name on the checks, but his administration sent a letter with the checks, saying “We are pleased to inform you that the United States Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed into law the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, which provides long-term tax relief for all Americans who pay income tax.” Was this “electioneering?”
A letter of notice and explanation from Polis to the residents of Colorado and the accompanying refund payment is in order, explaining the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights and that by state law a flat amount would be mailed directly. “We are focused on ensuring that people understand why they are receiving immediate relief. … ”
Who is really playing politics, wasting taxpayer dollars and “electioneering” here?
Katherine Webster, Littleton
Where was this indignity when ex-President Donald Trump had his name printed on the economic stimulus checks we received during the pandemic? This constant political sniping has become very boring.
Lindy McNamee, Littleton
FBI search is distressing
The FBI search of Trump’s personal residence was distressing, especially given the stated issue: documents belonging to the National Archive. Government contractors having dealt with the National Archive over the years report they are as slow, backward and ham-handed as any other federal agency, if not more so. My hope is the raid recovered something worthy of the spectacle created. Otherwise, I see only escalation of the ugly, and ultimately counterproductive partisanship gripping Washington. I really don’t want Trump to run again, despite appreciating some of his accomplishments. He would be a strong force for increasing divisiveness. His die has been cast, and he should just fade away.
Douglass Croot, Highlands Ranch
Don’t blame officers; blame no-knock-raid orders
Re: “Feds charge four oﬃcers in Breonna Taylor raid,” Aug. 5 news story
The death of Breonna Taylor should not be blamed on the officers performing the no-knock raid. Her death should be attributed to the judge who authorized the raid and the official who requested it.
I have argued against no-knock raids for years as they seem to cause the death or injury of innocent people on a regular basis, especially when officers are sent in error to the wrong house. There are thousands of homes in the United States occupied by totally law-abiding citizens where any forced entry would be met with gunfire.
For the safety of the officers and the innocent, no-knock raids should be eliminated.
William F. Hineser, Arvada
Yes, save for the future
Re: “Retirement is ‘absolute fantasy,’ ” Aug. 8 news story
I was a bit shocked, saddened and eventually mad about how the millennials and Gen Z’ers were thinking about their finances and retirement. We do live in a topsy-turvy world right now, but are we really so short-sighted that we have forgotten how it felt during World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War.
What if our younger generations during those times just decided to spend for today, not save any money for their future, just give up on government programs?
Social Security was started because of the financial insecurity we suffered through in the Great Depression. It was always set up as way to supplement your financial security in retirement.
There are ways to keep Social Security funded, and those solutions will be found. Solutions to huge problems take time and lots of people to solve. But for individuals to selfishly live only for today is disheartening.
I work in the retirement industry and can tell these folks that retirement happens. Often it is not on your terms, but your physical body won’t allow you to continue to work, or you lose your job and are too old to get rehired. Yes, you could get hit by a bus tomorrow, but is that any more realistic then taking some time to plan and save for the future?
Alane Morris, Denver
Trump’s “third-world” quip strikes close to home
Re: “Trump says FBI searches estate,” Aug. 9 news story
Our ex-president, Donald Trump, has indignantly declared that the FBI search of his Mar-A-Lago home in Florida is “outrageous,” and this kind of thing could only happen in “broken, Third-World Countries.”
Does Trump realize that his ongoing assertions about the 2020 election being rigged are similarly casting aspersions on the United States as being a third-world country? Does he even realize that it sullies the United States’ image as a free country and Americans’ ability to choose who should be their president?
It is unpatriotic, to say the least.
I have been an American for only 30 years, and I am proud to be so. As such, I am always defending American foreign and social policies to my foreign friends, who, unfortunately, have been bombarded with anti-American literature and rhetoric on social media.
In that sense, I am more of a patriot than our former president.
Jane Liew, Littleton
We’ve given autocrats power
Re: “Pelosi arrives in Taiwan,” Aug. 3 news story
“It is essential that America and our allies make clear that we never give in to autocrats.” — U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
We have already given in.
Does Speaker Pelosi or anyone in our government understand our true physical and economic reliance/dependence on China? Critical components of our everyday lives are controlled by China. China doesn’t have to “rattle sabers.” All they need to do to “retaliate” is withhold some or all their exports to America.
It’s not just about China. The world is dependent on other autocratic countries such as Russia. We know from experience autocrats are unpredictable, undependable and often very dangerous. If we are dependent on autocrats, they control our present and future and, accordingly, we have already given in to autocrats.
America needs to wake up before “woking up” kills us. We must wake up and deal with the realities of the world. We must regain control of our future.
Daniel G. Zang, Lakewood
Vets health bill spent $400B
Re: “Voting down vets health bill was nothing but petty revenge,” Aug. 3 letter to the editor
The letter writer needs to look further than his nose to understand why the Republicans blocked the PACT Act when an earlier version of the bill passed by 84-14 in June. This newer version of the PACT Act (which has now passed) allows $400 billion over the next 10 years in spending, which is completely unrelated to veterans. Democrats are at their finest when it comes to spending and then accusing the Republicans of not caring for veterans.
Kay Robbins, Denver
Misuse of political donations
Re: “Six Colo. Dems condemn party’s meddling,” Aug. 3 news story
As a lifelong Democrat, I join the six emeritus party leaders who wrote a letter condemning the use of party money to advertise Republican candidates. It smells of dirty tricks and I resent any of my contributions going for such a sordid effort. This was a major faux pas. I sincerely believe that the Democratic Party is better than this.
Philip Brien Clarke, Lone Tree
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