Letters to the Editor

Are NC students learning ‘what they need to know’ at voucher schools?

Study ‘problems’

Regarding “2 studies differ on success of school vouchers in NC” (June 5): The League of Women Voters welcomes the NC State University study on outcomes for students receiving vouchers through the Opportunity Scholarship Program. Their focus was very different from the League of Women Voters study, which focused on the curriculum and how that compared to the NC Course of Study (NCCOS) used in public schools.

A child may be a skilled reader, but if the content of the textbook has factual errors, serious omissions in content or lack of critical thinking, what is the value of that education, especially if it limits choice of college, or career? Are North Carolina students learning what they need to know to become leaders in business, science, literature and government?

One problem that could have affected the outcome is the sample itself, which doesn’t reflect the two very different types of schools: Those that use the NCCOS or a comparable curriculum, and the approximately 75 percent who use the Biblical World View curriculum. The NC State study was weighted heavily toward schools using the NCCOS and have state certified teachers, such as Catholic Schools. A random sampling would have perhaps reflected a different outcome.

The bottom line is that taxpayer money is going to a program with no requirements for curriculum standards, teacher certification or school accreditation.

Bonnie Bechard

Vice President

LWV of the Lower Cape Fear


Regarding “Honduran migrant who was separated from family is found dead in Texas jail in an apparent suicide” (June 9): I am writing to express my despair regarding the separation of children, especially small children, from parents at the U.S. border. This is not standard immigration policy and represents cruelty most Americans do not support.

At the very least, we should keep families together as they are processed, while also working on immigration reform to make the system more humane. A father recently took his life after his child was ripped from his arms at the border and lawyers are reporting that families who are targeted by gangs are not being screened for asylum. This is in direct violation of decades of U.S. immigration policy.

The United Nations recently asked the U.S. to reconsider this new practice of family separation at the border and accelerated deportations. Our Republican legislators have remained shamefully silent on these tragedies. On Nov. 6, we must elect candidates who are brave enough to speak up for what is right. This unspeakable cruelty must stop.

Alyse Lopez-Salm


‘Quality of life’

Regarding “Amazon could expand scope of downtown area” (June 4): Please don’t encourage Amazon or Apple to move to Raleigh. We do not have the infrastructure.

The roads cannot handle it, the schools cannot handle it, people who rent cannot handle it, and any politician who pushes this will be voted out of office by the people who live here.

Worry about our quality of life and not the prestige.

Fred Schwartz


Medicaid benefits

Regarding “Virginia governor signs budget, Medicaid expansion” (June 7): In times like this, with so much rancor and mistrust among our politicians, it is refreshing to see that the Virginia Republican-majority legislature worked together with the Democratic governor to approve the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

This means that low-income workers making up to $16,642 and families of four making up to $24,600 will now qualify for Medicaid – an additional 400,000 people will be covered.

Rural areas stand to benefit most. More workers and families will now be able to pay their medical bills. Studies have shown that rural hospitals, many of which have closed in recent years, are less likely to do so in states that have expanded Medicaid.

Maine approved Medicaid Expansion last November in a statewide referendum. Utah will vote on a similar measure in November, and other states are considering a vote.

North Carolina is one of 17 states that has not expanded Medicaid. We should take a fresh look at this. Workers and their families need it. Our hospitals need it. It would show that we are willing to tackle serious issues, that we are worthy of our state motto, “To be, rather than to seem.”

George Mapp