Regarding the May 21 news article “Smart, low-income students excluded from gifted classes”: I fully support Wake County Public Schools, and I applaud them for admitting that they need to do better. It was clear that North Carolina schools are not reaching children of color and children living in poverty when it comes to reading proficiency and Academically and Intellectually Gifted identification. They must do better. That is why it is so important for the General Assembly to fund schools.
It is equally important for the Wake County Commissioners to increase funding for the WCPSS. There won’t be different results unless something is done differently. More social workers are needed to mitigate the impact of poverty on students if they are to succeed academically. Schools need more counselors, and perhaps equity teams to address racial bias. These priorities speak to community values. Elected officials must be relentless in this work and constituents must encourage them.
Deportation ‘struck nerve’
Regarding the May 27 news article “Riverside High grad Fernandez deported”: The recent deportation of former Riverside High School graduate Wendy Miranda Fernandez struck a nerve with me. She came to America at the age of 14 to escape gang violence in El Salvador, only to be deported, leaving her family behind.
I have no personal connection to her, save that she and I both attended Riverside and I have visited Guatemala, which is north of El Salvador, and can attest to the violence in the region. In seeking to prevent her deportation, I reached out to U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis and Sen. Richard Burr and suggested that they write a letter on her behalf.
Official missed service
Regarding the May 2 editorial “Improve safety for workers”: I attended a beautiful Worker’s Memorial Day service last month in Raleigh. At the service were family members of those who died at work, leaders of different faiths, community members and reporters. Notably absent, though, was Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry, whose department is inspecting the deaths of many of these workers. .
There’s only one Workers’ Memorial Day. Why didn’t Berry choose to attend it and recognize the grief of the widow who spoke or the other family members who were there?
Don’t repeal, replace ACA
Reagrding the May 25 news article “Report: 23 million more uninsured with health bill”: As government leaders will soon be making a decision that will affect millions of lives, the country has raised the question, is health care an American right or a privilege?
It concerns me that millions of individuals will either be excluded from coverage or will be given unattainable premium requirements. My first impression is Medicaid cuts will not affect me. However, I have watched friends being placed in nursing homes, and going through their insurance and Medicare coverage only to realize they must rely on Medicaid to cover their remaining days in a care facility. Children with long-term disabilities also often require Medicaid resources.
I could not wait to “come of age” and get on Medicare, a point where pre-existing conditions did not affect how I was to be cared for. My monthly insurance premium was $1,700 per month, and I could not apply to other insurance carriers because of my past history of requiring heart medications. Medicare has made my life more manageable.
When it comes to tax breaks, are lower-income folks thinking those tax breaks will really reach them? I think not. For years, there has been a call to repeal and replace Obamacare. What exactly are the specific goals for this dramatic change? When the Affordable Care Act was initiated, the intent was to provide as much coverage as possible to as many people as possible. Now, it seems the intent is to remove care that may be expensive for insurers and alter tax credits for older age groups.
It isn’t too late for each person to express their concerns for the changes that are about to be made that may affect the individual, the family member or the friend. Many voices can make a difference. Please, make the existing ACA better; do not start over. Consider the American individual and how the proposed American Health Care Act policies will affect him or her.
UNC probe serious
Regarding the May 26 news article “UNC again challenges NCAA jurisdiction”: I was amused by the alleged improprieties in the UNC-Chapel Hill investigation. These allegations are of a very serious nature, and should not be taken lightly by UNC.
However, UNC is attempting to challenge them by saying every claim was a misrepresentation. I hope that North Carolina taxpayers aren’t liable for the legal bill of this frivolous endeavor.
‘Tax dollars well spent’
Regarding the May 25 news article “Trump budget chief defends plan for big cuts”: Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said when he was reviewing the federal budget, he asked, “Can we justify this to the folks who are actually paying for it?”
I have paid federal and state taxes for years, and the use of my tax dollars for things like an increase in the military budget at the expense of important programs cannot be justified. I want my tax dollars to continue to pay for worthwhile programs, such as Medicaid, food stamps, health care, student loans and medical research. These are tax dollars well spent.
Ronald L. Wenda
Take poor into account
Regarding federal and state budget proposals cited in the May 25 editorial “Budget plan hits poor” and the May 25 op-ed “In NC – one of the hungriest of states – a call to cut food stamps”: It would be useful to remind lawmakers that a budget is a statement of a nation’s core values, and a commitment to the common good of all citizens. Every public policy or government action must be measured by one standard: How does this affect the poor?
Rev. Mel Williams
Governor’s School a ‘crown jewel’
Regarding the May 21 news article “Alums appeal to keep state funds for summer program”: A crown jewel of the North Carolina education system, the Governor’s School, is in danger of being defunded under the North Carolina Senate’s current budget. The suggested replacement, a leadership academy, discounts the singular and unique benefits of the interdisciplinary nature of Governor’s School.
As a lifelong resident of North Carolina, I have always been proud I attended Governor’s School and am grateful the state gave me that opportunity. I was challenged like I never was before and exposed to ideas that expanded my worldview. I am proud to know my fellow classmates, who came from all walks of life, are now making a positive difference as scientists, musicians, teachers, doctors and actors.
That summer was one of the most transformative experiences of my life, and I can say with confidence that it directly influenced my goals, my ambition and my desire to make a positive contribution to the state I love. The legislature needs to continue to fund the Governor’s School. The investment we make in future leaders is a bargain for the returns received from its graduates.