Picture this: Starting in kindergarten, children learning skills of citizenship, such as civil communication, tolerance for others’ beliefs, nonviolent conflict resolution and “good citizen” practices — voting, financial responsibility, building community.
Currently, middle-school students who did poorly on the STAAR test in math, for example, must take two periods until they “get” very often impractical higher-level concepts. This prohibits them from taking an extra elective — foreign language, music, tech, business — as other students do.
Instead, picture this: Students in middle and high schools are given the choice of elective classes to better serve careers and personal development. They can explore careers and learn applicable skills. In high school, they will be ready for suitable trade schools or chosen careers.
Picture this: Students have hope and self-worth. Having hope and relevance in society will also reduce gun violence in and out of school.
CAROL DUNCAN, AUSTIN
It will be interesting to see what, if anything, will move our representatives to get out of step while following President Trump.
With their tacit approval, young children are being taken from their mothers with no indication of where they are going and with whom. That should be a big red flag.
Would our elected officials be bothered if a large part of Big Bend National Park was allowed to be developed or drilled? Would they be concerned if Padre Island and Galveston were in danger of exposure to off-shore oil rigs?
There are so many catastrophes looming, but the most heart-wrenching — with definite, long-term scars to be faced later — are the traumas being delivered each day on the children being taken by our government.
What will it take to get our representatives’ attention?
MARY SUE ROSE, AUSTIN
Re: June 2 article, “‘Abominable’: Texans fight border family separations.”
A new U.S. Justice Department policy takes children away from their parents even if they are seeking asylum. Attorney General Jeff Sessions projects the inhumane mentality of our government. This mentality seems to run the same course as Faust’s did, and Sessions now, wagering his soul with Mephistopheles, a worker for Lucifer.
This demon that possesses parts of our federal government has sold its soul to the devil.
It’s time to be very mindful of the qualities of the person you will select for your vote. I pray that these families will soon be rejoined.
MICHAEL HENRY, MARBLE FALLS
Capital Metro strikes again. Those car-damaging, punchbowl-sized concrete obstacles lining some bike lanes are bad enough — but have you folks seen the new bus routes?
Hundreds, if not thousands of people, many of whom are disabled, will have no way to get to work or stores, while others will have to go a much longer distance to get a bus.
Example: The No. 300 no longer goes down Rogge Lane, but now goes down 51st Street, so the folks that ride that bus are out of luck. As always, the upper crust comes first!
JOHN G. DANA, AUSTIN
Since current efforts cannot seem to keep guns out of the hands of disturbed people or drunks from behind steering wheels, maybe we should enlist the help of technology.
Promote smart gun technology, so that only authorized individuals could fire the weapon. Make Breathalyzers standard equipment on all new cars. These are not cure-alls — but like seat belt technology, perhaps they could save thousands of lives each year.
DAVID FREEMAN, AUSTIN
While visiting my son and his family in Austin last month, we went to Cheddar’s for dinner. We ordered an appetizer of onion rings that turned out to be a mammoth serving.
Soon, an older gentleman appeared at our table with a paper napkin. “You’ve probably never had this happen to you at a restaurant,” he said, “but my wife [he nodded towards a lady across the room who was waving timidly] sent me over to see if you would let her try an onion ring. They look delicious.”
Our son invited him to help himself. When we asked for the check, our waiter told us that it had already been paid by that couple. “He even paid the tip.” We were so surprised. Because the waiter was honest about having already received a tip, we gave him another. We all left that night with warm feelings of gratitude.
JANET HILL, ANDERSON, S.C.
Re: May 27 commentaries, “We’re finally talking about mass shootings. Now let’s act” and “3 hardest words in English language: ‘I was wrong.’”
Both the Sunday editorial and Leonard Pitts articles last week referred to the availability of guns as the main culprit in the many shootings over the last couple of years.
I don’t care for Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, but his comment — “It’s not about the guns; it’s about us” — brought disdain from both columns. If it is not about us as a society, then laying the blame on the availability of guns is lame.
When I grew up, my father’s guns were not locked up. Students brought rifles in their gun racks to school. Most anyone could obtain a gun if they wanted to. Back in the day, 100 guns plus 100 people did not add up to violence. Today, 100 guns plus 100 people adds up to some highly disturbed person is going to wreak havoc. What happened? The guns did not develop a warped mind. People did. Why and how?
SUSAN ETHEREDGE, LULING