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Last Updated April 1, 2015
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The opinions of editorial columnists or opinions
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Letters to the Editor Policy
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Make sure the letter has the
handwritten signature of its author.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.