1. Yes, parents have the ability to choose. Every parent has the ability to research and respond to the best educational opportunity available for their child.
2. Yes, I'm sure that high level public school officials have also selected the best opportunity for their child.
3. Yes, some Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) have similarly low ratings in performance as do the majority of community or charter schools.
4. Yes, CPS embraces "choice" programs.
Now let's get to the disagreement related to funding. CPS transports every child eligible or in need (special education) of transportation. Yet they don't receive the state dollars for the students choosing a school other than a Cincinnati Public School. Is that fair?
In a district that has around a 58,000 student market, there will be a need for transportation. State funding follows a student to whatever school they choose to attend, but the home school district pays for the transportation. Charter or community schools don't transfer funding to the home district for the students that need transportation. This means that for every child requiring or eligible for transportation who is enrolled in a charter school, CPS pays for it.
CPS receives no additional funding to transport charter students. The district loses budgeted funds to account for the transportation needs of non-CPS schools. That is not a choice -- it's a requirement of the Ohio Department of Education.
CPS doesn't want to take the choice away from parents. But the district shouldn't have to pay for charter schools' transportation needs. Shouldn't charter schools pay for their own students' transportation needs? Why should CPS do this?
-- Jake Mugson, Clifton Heights/Fairview
Hurricane Survivors Show the Worst Side of America
I guess then-Sen.
In one America, we quietly took out our checkbooks and sent what we could afford. We went through our homes looking for items to donate. We prayed, alone and in groups, for the victims of this tragedy. Those of us who were able went to the scene to try to help.
In the other America, citizens went on a rampage, looting, raping and murdering while others made excuses for their despicable behavior. The other America had decades to prepare for the possibility of the levee failing. But they chose to wait for somebody hundreds of miles away in Washington to magically solve their problems for them. They squandered the federal funds they received.
And when the inevitable happened, they reacted the way they react to every problem from rotten schools to crime in the streets. They blamed President Bush. They blamed racism, classism, capitolism, the tax cuts, global warming, SUVs, Christianity, the neo-cons -- and did I mention President Bush?
Their solutions are the same solutions they always offer: Raise taxes, give more power to the federal government and launch more useless investigations.
The other Americans are the people who show their compassion by insisting that everyone else should sacrifice. Their idea of equality is shared mediocrity. They're the professional complainers. They wallow in bitterness and self pity and encourage others to do the same. They demand the most and contribute the least.
Yes indeed, there are two Americas, and one is better than the other. Which America do you want to be a part of?
-- Don Gilligan, Rossmoyne
Disgusted By Cheering for Disaster Loss
Greater Cincinnati is a wonderful area. As a native of rural Iowa, I think that Cincinnati is a wonderful place to live and work. Though not too large, the city hosts pro sports teams, great museums, a world class zoo and many cultural events.
Recently I chose to enjoy a cultural event held at First Baptist Church in Cold Spring, Ky. The event promised an inspiring evening of Gospel music and worship. The experience showed me that Cincinnati has a serious issue.
After some wonderful music, the leader of the singing group, Jonathan Wilburn, offered a message. As a visitor to this church, I was expecting that I might hear a few comments contradicting mainline Christian theology and was prepared to turn a cheek to some conservative points of view. However, I was unable to ignore the message of hate and destruction that was offered in that "church."
Wilburn began preaching a message decrying homosexuality as an abomination. First, he incorrectly applied the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, yet the large congregation enthusiastically praised his message with shouted chouses of "Alleluia" and "Amen."
Next, he insisted that Hurricane Katrina was sent by God to destroy New Orleans because Southern Decadence -- a gay event -- was to be held there over Labor Day weekend. Like blood-thirsty wolves, the members of the church jumped to their feet, clapped and cheered at the suggestion that God destroyed one of America's greatest cities to spite gays. I rose and left.
I have learned to love Cincinnati, but hate organizations like First Baptist "Church" are a menace to this great city. Personal and religious beliefs are sacred, but hundreds of people -- men, women and children -- congregated for the purposes of spreading intolerance and cheering the destruction of an American city is despicable.
-- Joshua Moe, Clifton