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Letters to the editor

Still time to catch ‘Wonka’

I invite you to share a community gift that will keep on giving.

I hope you will try to find time for you and your family – of all ages – to experience the excitement of the incredible live theater, live music, fantastic sets and amazing technical features of “Willy Wonka” this weekend (today and Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon at the University of Saint Francis’ new Performing Arts Center on Berry Street).

The Fort Wayne Youtheatre and the University of Saint Francis School of Creative Arts have collaborated on an outstanding performance of Roald Dahl’s “Willy Wonka/Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

You will enjoy a large cast of very talented children and adults, directed by some of Fort Wayne’s finest (Brad Beauchamp and Leslie Hormann) and a production team second to none (read your program). You will drive home remembering and maybe singing the famous music, thanking God that programs of this caliber are still being chosen for performance, that the power of positive thinking and yes, chocolate, are “attitude changers,” but most important of all, you will be reinforced that the term “good family values” that we so often hear about can be personified and remembered through the choices of a child and by the sensitivity and reward of understanding, perceptive adults.

The story and performance have much to ponder and enjoy. For ticket information, call 422-4266.

LINDA L. RUFFOLO President, board of directors Fort Wayne Youtheatre

Benefits of preschool questionable

Some high-profile people would like us to believe we should get on the preschool bandwagon, and they say it needs state funding. They prop up their claims with various arguments, but I suggest we do a reality check on those claims.

Let’s start with what I consider the most lame prop: Indiana is only one of 10 states that doesn’t fund preschool. “Everyone else is doing it” was never a good reason for doing anything. If Indiana is one of the 10 states that don’t fund preschool, it is also one of the 10 states with a balanced budget. I think other states should emulate us.

Then there is Robert Dugger, in an online presentation Feb. 19, citing an experiment where low-income students attended an “expensive high-quality preschool.” The crime rate among those students was 50 percent less than students who did not attend.

What students who didn’t attend? Was the crime rate 50 percent less than all students in the city? Does that mean that in spite of that “expensive high-quality preschool,” the other 50 percent still became involved in crime? What about their family life? Was that a consideration?

Dugger also asserted that 75 percent of the students who enroll in the armed forces are not accepted because they don’t have a high school degree or have health problems, a criminal record or alcohol and drug abuse. And preschool is going to fix this? That’s a stretch.

“Preschoolers deserving of a better bill” (Feb. 23) points out an important agenda. The writer said we should hire teachers and aides with degree-level credentials and pay teachers salaries and benefits comparable to K-12 educators.

These preschoolers could end up paying for their own preschool when those pensions come due and to service loans and other indebtedness the state would eventually take on.

Hoosiers are being sold something way more expensive than anyone is admitting and being asked to establish a new entitlement. All this for something of very questionable benefit.


Kubacki wrong on education

In my view, Rep. Rebecca Kubacki has the wrong approach on education. I am troubled by her support for nationalized education standards. Education is something to be handled locally.

Kubacki is making an even bigger mistake by seeking to exclude parents from the education and policymaking process.

In addition to my time as an official, I spent 53 years as a teacher, administrator and school board member, mostly for the Wawasee School District. We always worked to have parents at the very center of the picture in educating a child.

For instance, when a student had caused trouble at school, I would speak with parents by telephone. Then, after the student and I had discussed behavior and penalties, I would have the student telephone a parent in my office. (I had arranged this ahead of time.) The student would describe the incident and any penalty, and we would all be on the same page.

As a resident of House District 22, I am supporting Curt Nisly in the Republican primary May 6 and urge readers to do likewise.