School choice propelling state’s academic gains
The National Assessment of Educational Progress has ranked Indiana as the second fastest-growing state for academic progress. Not only did Indiana students outscore the national average, but they improved at more than three times the national rate. That’s encouraging news as our state has historically shown marginal improvement on past NAEP assessments.
We congratulate the teachers, administrators and parents who work so hard to help Hoosier students succeed. And we also applaud the leadership of Gov. Mike Pence, former Gov. Mitch Daniels, former Superintendent Tony Bennett, state legislators and numerous civic leaders who paved the way for reforms that work.
It’s no coincidence that our students are performing better than ever as we implement policies focused on delivering more educational choice, strong school accountability and rewards for our very best teachers. These policies are producing an environment that helps Hoosier students learn and grow.
BETSY WILEY President, School Choice Indiana
Obama performing a reverse Rumpelstiltskin
One could assume that Barack Hussein Obama, a product of the Harvard Law School, would be acquainted with the adage that there ain’t no free lunch.
His persistence in pursuing this folly could possibly be a result of a strong belief in the power of the politician’s prayer: Grant me the gift of swift retort and keep the public memory short.
One is reminded of Rumpelstiltskin, whose magical gift enabled him to take straw and spin it into gold. Our leader’s version is to take the gold and spin it back into straw.
MARSHALL FOELBER Fort Wayne
Vulnerable population needs our assistance
When you hear about a homeless, chemically dependent person, your first thought is probably not there but for the grace of God go I. However, there is actually not much separating many of us from either homelessness or addiction.
Imagine Mark and Marsha, a young couple who work hard at their jobs to take care of their children and keep a roof over their heads. Marsha’s employer had to make cuts, however, so she lost her job. Mark picked up extra hours to pay the bills but the stress led him to drink too much and eventually he, too, lost his job and then they lost their home. No one sets out to become an alcoholic or an addict, but addiction can happen quickly and to almost anyone, and without intervention can lead to homelessness.
There are resources in our community to help people like Mark and Marsha, but we all need to remember that each one of us is also a resource. If we keep open minds and are willing to see, rather than ignore, stereotype or stigmatize someone in need, we can help stop a bad choice made by a vulnerable person from becoming an even worse situation.
I urge all of us to look for ways to help reduce homelessness and hunger. You can start by visiting www.facebook.com/fwapch.
Please join us in our work to help some of our most vulnerable residents.
MARY E. ETHEART Executive director, Hope House
We all will benefit from diverse fuel base
On Nov. 12 The Journal Gazette ran an Associated Press story, Ethanol era comes at a dirty cost, rife with errors about ethanol’s effect on the environment. While the article was clearly biased against an industry that is creating jobs and prosperity throughout Indiana as well as our country, not to mention creating oil alternatives, it did get one thing right: The environmental consequences of drilling for oil and natural gas are well documented and severe.
In our quest for cleaner energy sources, the one thing we know is that burning fossil fuels is having a dangerous effect on our environment. The good news is that we have a choice. We can continue to use oil or we can choose cleaner alternatives, like ethanol. Diversifying our fuel sources to include renewable fuel – both traditional and advanced – will ensure a cleaner, healthier future for all of us.
KIP TOM Leesburg
Corporate bigwigs eluding justice
All too often I open the newspaper and find yet another article about JP Morgan Chase being fined for unscrupulous business dealings. Interestingly, no one from the JP Morgan corporate offices ever seems to go to jail for having broken financial laws and regulations. Apparently, if you are a Wall Street billionaire, you are immune to prosecution and can get away with pretty much anything.
On the other hand, if you are poor inner-city kid and you are caught stealing a loaf of bread from a convenience store, it is very likely that you will be prosecuted and incarcerated. Clearly, there is one set of rules for the rich and powerful in this country and another for the poor and working-class people.
It seems to me that it is past time for these double standards to be eliminated. State and federal prosecutors, with support from our elected politicians at all levels, should go after these Wall Street big shots with the same vigor that a local prosecutor would go after the kid who steals a candy bar.
Maybe we could start with the big shots at JP Morgan.
KENNETH THOMAS Fort Wayne
Financial gain worthless without a moral base
The Indianapolis City-County Council voted to oppose a constitutional amendment making marriage only between one man and one woman on the grounds that it would be bad for business. I see letter after letter in The Journal Gazette opposing this amendment for various reasons.
We are locked in a struggle for the very soul of our nation. If we destroy the moral fabric of our country, no amount of financial gain is of the slightest benefit. Homosexuality poisons culture and destroys families.
Right and wrong in 2013 is not one iota different than in the days in which God moved upon men to write down the eternal truths of his word. Why do you think Islam is gaining a boothold in North America? It is because at least they have standards.
There is yet some moral fiber in our nation left to save, and defending the truth is more important than personal popularity.
DAVID CARROLL Huntington
Clergy band together to oppose marriage ban
Our religious traditions teach us to engage in the slow and demanding work of transformation. Day by day, we are called to make ourselves and the world around us a little bit better: a more loving, more hopeful and more authentic place, where all of God’s children have a chance to flourish. Of course, we routinely fail to realize this vision and progress is often bleak, but grace tells us tomorrow is a new day.
As Fort Wayne area clergy, we believe HJR-6 – the proposed amendment regarding marriage – is a fearful stumble backward instead of a faithful step forward in the work of transformation. While we and our religious traditions hardly agree on everything when it comes to marriage, we are united in our opposition to this unhelpful amendment for two reasons.
First, HJR-6 is redundant. It duplicates state law, as our Indiana State Code already defines marriage as between a male and female.
Second, it undermines the rights of same-sex couples and their families, both long-time Hoosiers and newly arrived transplants, by jeopardizing employer-provided family benefits, legal contracts and human rights ordinances.
We urge Indiana lawmakers to ensure that loving, committed couples are given the freedom to protect their families. Please oppose HJR-6 during the 2014 legislative session.
We believe it is the right decision for all Hoosiers. Meanwhile, please know we are praying for you, for courage and wisdom and imagination to carry you on this important issue.
Rev. TERRY ANDERSON Rabbi JAVIER CATTAPAN Rev. BRIAN FLORY Rev. JOHN P. GARDNER KIMBERLY KOCZAN-FLORY Rabbi MITCHELL KORNSPAN Rev. ARIANNE LEHN Rev. JEFF LEHN CHRISTEN PETTIT MILLER Rev. RUTH PHILLIPS Rev. MISTY-DAWN SHELLY