Letters to the editor: June 16, 2018


The plight of the American teacher is all too real and affects our community.

It’s been said the era of the lifelong teacher is over, and a career in the classroom is becoming unsustainable. Salary aside, the real scourge is a lack of respect and appreciation for those who choose to serve our communities children.

All too often, principals, parents and students fail to recognize the sacrifices made by educators. After a decade of declaring that I, too, would persist, I find myself penning this public resignation letter. Condescension and condemnation seem to be the norm in this industry. This could not be truer in our very own Austin Independent School District. The new Respect Now campaign from Education Austin is a step in the right direction.

Austin deserves a public school district that is accountable for the proper treatment of its teachers.

OLIVER BARRON, AUSTIN

Re: June 8 article, “The secret origins of ‘y’all.’”

Eric Webb wrote, “The Oxford English Dictionary pegs the first printed appearance of ‘you all’ as we might understand it to 1824 according to a 2015 Slate article, in reference to an ‘odd phrase’ children learned from slaves.”

Apparently, neither Webb nor his sources are very familiar with the Bible. For example, “you all” is frequently used in the King James Version of 1611 — as well as many later English versions — in just the way Southerners use “y’all.” St. Paul’s epistles use the phrase no less than 18 times. Moreover, the last verse in the King James Version reads: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”

MIKE FIELD, AUSTIN

Re: June 8 article, “New Austin school district police chief does not want to arm teachers.”

I welcome Chief Ashley Gonzalez. He speaks from experience. I, a father of 10 children who all attended local schools, totally agree with his rationale.

I see where our Texas lawmakers are finally getting involved, hoping to avoid more killings in our public schools, something that should’ve been tackled years ago. Parents should begin communicating with their children on a daily basis about firearms — the good and the bad side of weaponry in the wrong hang hands — especially with the youth who think that they know it all.

The schools’ PTA need to become 100 percent involved, with the president of the organization leading the way. Let’s not wait until tomorrow; the next school year is right around the corner.

MOSES P. SALDANA SR., AUSTIN

The phenomenon of evangelical support for President Trump has prompted a number of responses.

Some claim they like the message — policies — but not the messenger. Others say that the two are one and the same.

The great disciplines in the search for truth include science, the arts, philosophy and religion. Here, unsavory players may nonetheless produce great results, such as Picasso and Woody Allen. But in the quotidian disciplines of politics and commerce, the connection between personality and policy is much more immediate. It does make a difference who makes policy or sells products. The connections are more direct in time and place.

The pursuit of power or wealth involves huge temptations. If decisions are not informed by moral and ethical values, they will almost always result in exploitation. Politicians and business people must be held to higher standards, because they can help or harm directly. The calculus of compromise versus ideals must be approached very carefully.

PAYSON BLANCHARD, ROUND ROCK

Re: June 12 commentary, “Social problems continuing despite improved economy.”

As a historian, I feel that Ross Douthat was on target with the concluding comment, “because this welcome growth won’t last forever, and social problems unsolved now will be that much worse when it is gone.”

That conclusion is made evident in Steven Stoll’s “Ramp Hollow,” a two-part story about the early pioneers of the Appalachia coal mining region and Native Americans. The book details what followed when the industrial age caught up with them.

Stoll covers the sad legacy of dispossession, and its repercussions seen today in the level of poverty and subsistence living of people in the coal mining areas of Appalachia, following the decline of the U.S. coal mining industry. He also examines the fate of Indians who stayed on reservations in the West.

It is a sad journey from the past to the present, and a reminder that social problems will continue despite the fluctuations of the economy.

FRED HAZEN, LAKEWAY

It is unbelievable that our president would heap such glowing praise on Kim Jong Un at the summit in Singapore. Kim is a despicable dictator who had murdered countless number of citizens of North Korea, thrown hundreds of thousands into gulags, assassinated his relatives in horrific ways, yet Trump says he trusts him and gives him legitimacy on the world stage.

Also, Trump offered to give up joint military exercises without getting any concession from Kim. Kim definitely walks away from this summit with all the wins and had to give up or commit to nothing. Trump got taken advantage of. So much for being a good negotiator. Why are Republicans not speaking up?

WILLIAM CLARK, AUSTIN

Re: June 12 article, “Trump to leave N. Korea talks early.”

While all those on the left are criticizing and even mocking the meeting — and anything Trump does — for eight years under Obama, North Korea expanded its nuclear abilities.

ALAN PATTY, AUSTIN



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