YOUR OPINION: Letters to the editor

By NEMS Daily Journal

Charter school plans are a cause for alarm
Every Mississippian in Madison, Clinton and Rankin counties, and other cities with excellent public schools, should be alarmed by the bill pushed through the Senate.
The bill would force the local taxpayers to fork over tens of thousands of dollars we have raised for our own schools to unproven charter schools in other school districts! These nuts even want to bring in “virtual” charter schools – a for-profit scam that claims to educate students but whose real goal is to make huge profits for its corporate executives. And they want us to pay for it with our local tax dollars.
Call your legislators, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, and Speaker Philip Gunn and tell them to keep their hands off of the local taxes that fund our schools. Any legislator who votes for this insanity should be voted out of office.
Alicia Parkman

Charters a disservice to the ‘American Dream’
Recently the topic of charter schools has emerged as a hot issue in our state.
The group advocating the creation of charters is part of the 20 percent that owns 80 percent in our nation.
My family has lived in the hills of northeastern Mississippi for five generations. We have never claimed to be affluent and thankfully none of us have ever “acted” like we were better than anybody else. My grandparents and parents voted for officials who would stand up in Jackson and fight for public education. They knew that the only chance a poor boy or girl had to getting their slice of the American Dream was if the playing field was leveled. For 60 years those of us here in the kudzu-covered paradise have fought tooth and nail to make sure that all of the children in this region have high-quality free education. Nobody would argue that public education has been perfected, but it is still the best option we have.
Advocates of charter schools will say that any parents can send their children to the school. They are correct. If your child passes the screening test, you will be required to transport your child to the school at 7:45 a.m. and pick them up at 3 p.m. What if you have a job and cannot do this? There is an easy answer: Have your nanny do it. Most of us do not live in that world.
If it passes it will be very interesting to see where these schools get built. I am betting not a single one will be opened south of Crosstown inside Tupelo City Limits or outside of Tupelo in our region. Why? Nobody outside of Tupelo sees a need for one.
There is an elephant in the room that does not want all of our children to have access to the American Pie. It is time for us to acknowledge it and then recoup what has been lost before there is nothing else left to lose. It is time for the powerless 80 percent to unite and demand equality in education.
Stacy Scott

Cochran presented U.S. honor for citizen service
Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., was presented the Edward M. Kennedy National Service Lifetime Leadership Award for his life-long dedication to citizen service and for outstanding leadership in advancing national service as a civic commitment and legislative priority. Cochran was among thirteen legislators and citizen humanitarians honored Feb, 14, 2012, at the Friends of National Service Awards Reception, an annual event sponsored by Voices for National Service.
Cochran has been a long-time advocate for literacy programs, volunteerism and national service programs. Cochran serves as the Senate Republican Chair for the National Service Caucus, a bipartisan group of legislators dedicated to raising awareness of national service and expanding service opportunities for all Americans. In his acceptance speech, the senior senator from Mississippi spoke fondly of his friendship with the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, for whom the lifetime achievement award is named.
National service is an integral part of Mississippi life, and the bulk of the state’s national service programs support and enhance Pre-K and K-12 education initiatives throughout the state, teaching students vital skills they will carry with them throughout their lives. National service opportunities also contribute heavily to Mississippi workforce development, offering participants practical experience and proven on-the-job training: last year, 1,848 individuals applied for 696 AmeriCorps Mississippi positions. In 2011, Mississippi volunteers engaged by MCVS contributed the equivalent of $8,727,631.92 in service to our communities.
The Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service (MCVS) is the state office of volunteerism.
Deirdra Harris Glover Media Contact, Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service

City renewal, health initiatives won’t work
As a taxpayer I admire Jim Newell for standing alone against the newest plan the council has come up with to spend money on more parks and walking tracks. Buying houses and tearing them down?
Why not fix them up for homeless people who are trying? Working people don’t have time to walk. It’s all they can do to work all the time to pay their taxes, to pay for parks, aquatic pools, tearing down property of landlords. It’s not the fault of the people who own the deteriorating property. It’s the people who they rent to. Tear down one building and and put a bad renter out of a home.
They’ll just go somewhere else and tear up someone else’s property, so condemn that property also. Also, trying to keep everybody healthy by stores stocking low fat foods plus there are many walking tracks? People want to eat what they want to and the stores will be stuck with their health food. You can’t control obesity. It’s always been around.
Rhonda Porter