Repeal HB 70, reform school funding in Ohio
I write in response to your March 11 editorial, “Detractors will not kill the ‘Youngstown Plan.’” I have no interest in wading into the politics, past or current, of the Youngstown school district. That is a matter for the local citizenry to resolve with the best interest of the students in mind.
The premise of House Bill 70 is that democracy in Youngstown has failed, i.e. the people of Youngstown are incapable of operating their public school system.
There is a direct relationship between the demographics of a school district and the state report card grades earned by the district. What the Youngstown district (and districts similarly situated) needs is a constitutional system of school funding.
Youngstown students need health and human services in their school buildings. These “wraparound” services have made an enormous difference in educational opportunities and outcomes in Cincinnati, for example. A change in governance of the district does not change the barriers to learning experienced by the children in Youngstown.
The state is required by the Constitution to secure by taxation a thorough and efficient public school system. The state has failed in that regard. To divert attention away from the real issue – an unconstitutional system – some state officials slithered into the Mahoning Valley under the cloak of darkness to meet with a few local folks to cook up the “Plan.”
Within 24 hours after introduction, the “Plan” was enacted by the Legislature and signed by the governor. Most of the members of the State Board of Education were not even aware the plan was being brewed.
House Bill 70 needs to be repealed and a constitutional system of school funding enacted. The folks in Youngstown have the capacity to educate their children if the state provides the essential resources. The state should give democracy a chance in Youngstown, Ohio.
- William L. Phillis, Columbus
- William Phillis is executive director of the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding.
Turn house lights on to support student activists
I’m not surprised President Donald J. Trump backtracked and changed his mind on supporting gun legislation for a change in gun laws. My feeling was when he met with the students, he was reading off his list but would never stand up to the NRA.
I believe most Americans would support some change in the laws as long as they realize we are not saying no guns at all. What I believe the students want and what a majority of parents and grandparents want is that no one can ever again go into a school with an automatic weapon and kill our loved ones.
The students are the answer. I don’t believe they will back down. I think they will be registering to vote and before long taking over the offices held by those who are afraid to turn down the NRA money. They are willing to stand up for what they believe is the right thing.
Stopping the sale of guns to anyone under 18 is common sense. You can’t drink legally before 21 so it should be the same for guns.
If you love your guns so much, join the military where they will train and teach you those guns are for killing humans and not hunting animals.
The students have a march planned March 24. For those people who support their cause but are unable to attend, I think we should turn on our outside lights to let them know we stand with them, we march with you, we want the laws changed now – not after another mass shooting of innocents.
- Darlene Torday, Berlin Center
Pick real dairy products to help region’s farmers
Tuesday, March 20, is National Ag Day. As a third-generation dairy farmer in Enon Valley, I believe this year’s theme, “Food for Life,” truly captures the essence of dairy farming.
Dairy farmers in Pennsylvania helped create the Fill A Glass with Hope campaign to provide fresh milk to area food banks. For more than 100 years, we have worked in schools to ensure that children receive nutrition education.
Our farm family and the thousands of dairy farmers work every day to provide our communities with wholesome, nourishing and economical dairy products. For example, milk at about 26 cents a glass is a nutritional bargain, delivering calcium, protein, vitamins A & D and a host of other nutrients. That high-quality milk starts with the care we give our animals by ensuring they have a balanced diet and clean, comfortable living conditions.
You may have heard dairy farmers are facing tough times right now, for a number of reasons – and in many cases, it costs us more to produce our milk than what we’re paid. But farming isn’t just a job, it’s our passion.
We need your help. Think of us when you go to the supermarket. Choose real dairy products – milk, cheese, yogurt, or ice cream!
- Dave Trotter, Enon Valley, Pa.
Canfield, Campbell stand out as a tale of two cities
Charles Dickens apparently visited the Mahoning Valley during last Wednesday’s National School Walkout. In one community, city leaders, school administrators, educators and high school students embraced the spring of hope. In another 12 miles away, they were still trapped in a winter of despair.
One sought a season of light; the other retreated to the false safety of darkness. One was Campbell; the other was Canfield. It was indeed a tale of two cities.
Campbell Memorial High School’s organized walkout by 150 students protesting gun violence in the wake of last month’s tragedy in Parkland, Fla., where 17 people died in a mass shooting, stood in stark contrast to Canfield High’s containment of any such demonstration to their auditorium while school buses blocked driveways and a police officer guarded the school’s entrance.
For the Red Devils, it was an object lesson, as one teacher stated, in the study of Henry David Thoreau and civil disobedience. For the Cardinals (of whom it was reported 400 stayed home from school), it was the placement of risk and codes and guidelines above an expression of sympathy and humanity and frustration, something Campbell demonstrated could not only meet the valid concerns of those in Canfield, but also serve as a responsibly conducted and valuable lesson in First Amendment rights.
It is noteworthy on a demographic and socio-economic scale that Campbell, Ohio, and Parkland, Fla., could hardly be more different. Yet in spite of their differences, Campbell’s students now have an undeniable bond with their brothers and sisters in Florida. Quite ironically, facts that suggest Canfield has almost everything in common with Parkland are betrayed by curiously divergent thoughts on meaningful expression.
Thank you, Campbell students, for courageously letting the better angels of your nature be heard loud and clear. You have given the entire Mahoning Valley convincing evidence you are future leaders to watch.
And if Dickens was indeed in the Valley last Wednesday, he would have said of your decision to stage a walkout, “It is a far, far better thing that you do.”
- Chris Travers, Youngstown
Military parade is fantasy
As a proud American and Vietnam veteran, I am appalled that we have a draft-dodger commander-in-chief who wants a military parade to show military strength in his honor. What a joke.
Supposedly, his parade would include armed troops marching in lock-step down Pennsylvania Avenue, with fighter jets crisscrossing overhead. This is not even practical, all at a cost of about $30 million.
Maybe this fantasy/joke will intimidate those “traitors” who did not stand and clap at his State of the Union address in January.
President Donald J. Trump sees himself at the same stature of Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Kim Jong U n, who required such public adulation. These were not presidents but were dictators who wrote their history in blood.