NORTHWEST ALABAMIAN
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Last Updated April 1, 2015
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The Northwest Alabamian gladly accepts letters to the editor on issues of pertinent interest to our readers. This is your open forum to express your opinions, but we do have a few guidelines we ask you to follow:
1. All letters must be signed with an address. Names will be printed with the letter in the NWA. No letters will be printed without a name.
2. We reserve the right to edit letters without changing the tone of message. Corrections in grammar, spelling and proper English usage will be made if we deem them necessary.
3. Please keep letters as brief as possible. (Example: two typed pages, double-spaced,
or three handwritten pages).
4. No letter containing slanderous or libelous material will be published.
5. The NWA editorial page is for opinions and comments. Editorials, articles, cartoons, or letters are the opinions of the writers whose names are included, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the newspaper and its employees.
6. The NWA tries to report news fairly and accurately. If we fall short of that objective, we welcome complaints from our readers.
7.We do not knowingly make misstatements of fact. If we find we have, we will gladly make a correction in the next issue.
The Northwest Alabamian is published semi-weekly, except weekly Christmas and New Year’s when only the Wednesday edition is published at 1506 21st Street, Highway 195 East, P.O. Box 430, Haleyville, AL, 35565. Phone 205-486-9461. Entered as periodicals at the Post Office at Haleyville, AL 35565. Annual subscription rate is $34.50 for one year or $26 for six months for Winston County; $38.50 per year or $28 per six months for adjoining counties. Subscriptions for senior citizens (Winston Co. only) are $30 for one year or $22 for six months. All others are $50.50 per year or $32 for six months. POSTMASTER: SEND ADDRESS CHANGE TO P. O. BOX 430, HALEYVILLE, AL 35565
The opinions of editorial columnists or opinions reflected in Letters to the Editor do not necessarily reflect the official editorial opinion of this newspaper.
Northwest Alabamian
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Horace Moore
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I have changed my mind
Education matters
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Opinions
I read and enjoyed Rep. Craig Ford’s letter to the Opinion Page in the Northwest Alabamian’s Feb. 4, 2015 edition. He is so right.
Going back in time and history, I remember as a child my grandmother and old aunts going to the mailbox to get their checks and supplement money from the federal governments under Franklin Delano Rossevelt’s administration.
While all the time, I sat at those same said people’s feet, hearing them swear F.D.R. was the devil himself.
President Roosevelt may not have started the federal supplement out of the goodness of his heart, but he declared if something wasn’t done for the starving and the poor in the United States of America in the year 1935, they would go to Communism.
Could it be just the basic human needs kind of get in the way of what we say and what we do? Just putting it out there.  Say “I am a conservative” people hear it, then do what the elected feel may be what the people most need - like getting medical care for a sick child or food.
By the way, we only give about what amounts to approximately $9 million EACH DAY to certain countries promised to continue until 2018.
It would be nice to hear more politicians ‘GET REAL’ instead of saying what will most help their careers, as well as what they think their constituents most want to hear to get them reelected.
There is this. While politicians in Washington play “gotcha politics” on both sides, do you realize, while we know and understand it is perfectly legal for Muslims, those who honor Islam religion to live among us?
Did you know Islamists have the right and exercise that right to stand on some American streets  and call for jihad, a holy war against America and under the law it is perfectly legal?
If an American in our own country should say or whisper one little word again their religion or God, we may put our lives in danger. They, some, will kill you if they can and the word is also public.
How bad is the fear of speaking against the Islam religion? I, just an oldster whose hobby is to write a little, would not think it all-together wise to do so myself.
People who are qualified to know, say ISIS is in every state in America.  This is not to foster fear, but it may better to, as one writer put it in an Opinion Page, ‘to keep your guns cocked.’ I thought it was a little out there at that time, but have changed my mind due to the recent happenings, especially since we live in the town where 911 was birthed.
Nadine Hood Overstreet
Haleyville
It is said that "confession is good for the soul."  With this being the case, the legislators who wrote the Alabama Accountability Act in 2013 are now sleeping better.
When this bill was written the people of Alabama were told over and over that the purpose was to "help kids stuck in failing schools by their zip codes."  In fact the codified version of this bill says on page 2 that it is intended to, "Provide financial assistance through an income tax credit to a parent who transfers a student from a failing public school to a nonfailing public school or nonpublic school of the parent's choice."
However, anyone knowledgeable about Alabama education quickly realized that this was unlikely at best because the bill was not supported by either research or common sense and was built on false assumptions.
Now proposed amendments to the accountability act have been introduced in the current legislative session that remove any doubt the intent  was always about tax breaks--not helping kids in failing schools.
Records from 19 school systems with 34 failing schools show that only 40 students in these schools got a scholarship.  Yet, one scholarship granting organization (SGO) says they have awarded 969 scholarships in the counties where this 19 systems are located.
  The only way this is possible is by giving scholarships to students who are not attending failing schools or who are already enrolled in a private school.  In fact this same SGO says they have given out scholarships in 23 counties where they are no failing schools.
The synopsis of the new bill now states "confirm that the intent of the Alabama Accountability Act of 2013 is educational choice."  So two years later we want to unring the bell and publicly acknowledge what many have known all along--that this legislation was never about "helping kids stuck in failing schools by their zip code."
In its original form, the accountability act amendments want to raise the cap on individual contributions, increase the cap on SGO contributions from $25 million to $35 million, make tax credits retroactive and move the cutoff date from Sept. 15 to May 15 so that it will be easier for more students from non-failing schools to get scholarships. 
In the first year (2013) all SGOs in the state raised $24,787,079 of the $25 million maximum.  In 2014 all SGOs only raised 53 percent ($13,414,758) of the $25 cap.  Yet, the sponsor of the bill now wants to increase the cap by $10 million.
The reason this is important is that every dollar donated to an SGO is a dollar that does not go to the Education Trust Fund, the same fund that has not bought a new library book for any school in Alabama since 2009.  The same fund that has cut funding for new textbooks by 50 percent since 2008.
Amy Hiller is the principal at Meek Elementary in Arley in Winston County.  This is a great school of about 225 children.  Nearly 70 percent of them are on free and reduced lunches.   Amy recently bought new math textbooks.  But to do so, she had to raise $30,000 to pay for them.  Raising this much money in a rural town of a few hundred  people is not easy.
I know Amy well.  Have been to her school many times.  Given the fact that resources are not presently adequate to support her school as it should be, why are we even talking about diverting even more money from the education trust fund?  How do you rationalize this?
There are 733,000 students in Alabama public schools.  Each of them is just as special as any who may get a scholarship.  Why do you try to help a handful of them at the expense of all the others?  
If one end of the boat is leaking, it does no good to move to the other end.  Let's remember all the public school children in this state.  Let's patch the hole instead of going to the other end, which is all the accountability act does.
Larry Lee
Montgomery
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