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Back to school 

Back to school

As we approach back-to-school time, many parents are thinking of ways to connect their children with better and more effective ways to improve their academic scores. Additionally, we want activities that boost their self-esteem, yet improve their coordination. We also want to throw in increased self-discipline, and most of all, we want them to have fun. Music lessons satisfy all these requests, and beyond.

Recent research has uncovered a link to music studies and increased ability to succeed in school, in a diverse range of subjects. A study of 237 second-grade children showed that 8-year-olds that studied piano and used math software scored 27 percent higher on math tests than those that only used the math software. Another study proved that high school students studying music scored better on the SAT than students that did not study music. Finally, a study conducted by the University of Texas showed that music training enlarged the areas of the brain connected to fine motor skills, and, surprisingly, to verbal skills. Learning to play musical notes exercises the same area of the brain that interprets written letters and words, increasing language and literacy.

Quality music instruction, be it piano, voice, guitar, or other instruments, will have a lasting impact on students' brain functions. Enrolling your child in private music instruction will have long-term benefits that will enrich your child for life.

Becky Williams
Little Rock

 

It's that time of year again as parents scramble to pick up the necessary supplies to send with their children as they are bused off to the public school. Unlike years ago, when our parents sent us to school with a notebook for each class, a couple of pencils and our lunch money, today's child will lug clear or mesh backpacks filled with such necessities as liquid anti-bacterial hand soap, boxes of baby wipes and, in the case of the Hermitage elementary school — two rolls of paper towels and a 50-count pack of clear sheet protectors each. At Eastside Elementary School in Warren, for a fee of $17, third graders will be provided with a “packet of supplies” from the school store, obviously to ensure each child's supplies are identical. We cannot have one child with a blue pencil while another child has a boring, cheaper yellow one, now can we? High school students in Bradley County will be required to “rent” their lockers — lockers bought and paid for by landowners' property tax dollars. There are also activity fees, supply fees and science fees.

Our tax dollars not only pay for teachers, administrators and janitors, they also pay for something called a “migrant aide,” whose job requirement includes the ability to read and speak Spanish. By the time a child arrives at a government-funded school paid for with our property tax dollars, shouldn't they be proficient in English? If not, shouldn't their parents be required to pay for a “migrant aide”?

Once your child is settled into his or her classroom, the National Education Association has a wealth of teaching tools to properly do what I consider indoctrinating your child. Maybe your child's teacher will put them all in a kumbaya style circle and pass around the Native American “talking stick,” encouraging each child to “share their feelings.” This, of course, will be necessary for your child to understand the openly gay, lesbian or transgendered child in their classroom, with complete disregard for religious or moral beliefs of the other children.

While American parents submerged themselves into two-income families in order to pay increasing tax burdens and to acquire more stuff, their children became members of the potential Communist future of the United States of Amerika. However, tens of thousands of parents have refused — choosing like us to make the sacrifices necessary for a one-income household and home school, providing their children with a real education with real life principles that will be the saving grace of the United States of America.

Renee Taylor
Warren

Off the streets

The past few months have found my husband and I both trying to help a couple of the homeless get off the streets and find jobs. Our rules were simple: no drugs, no alcohol, look for a job. What we found was the general attitude among the “career homeless” is that they work when they feel like it and don't work when they don't feel like it and the sad part is that some of the more honest ones will tell you that. They prefer to let taxpaying citizens pay for their food, clothing and housing all the while they are panhandling, donating plasma, roaming around the streets (getting high and drunk) and hanging around the public library.

The homeless should be out looking for a steady job. The money being used to support them could be better used for hiring more police officers, more firemen, improving our city parks, roads, increasing teacher pay, going toward programs that will help children at risk. Why should the taxpaying citizens of Pulaski County continue to support grown adults who chose not to work? I urge everyone to contact the city councils, city director, assistant city director, mayors and tell them no more taxpayer dollars to the so-called 10-year plan to combat homelessness.

Chuck and Liz Lytle
Former homeless
From the Internet

How long the drain?

Is anyone troubled about U.S. leaders' insistence to pursue and increase military action in Afghanistan?

Since we began military action there we have suffered 18,000 killed and maimed in Iraq, lowering alarmingly our combat reaction levels, and spent hundreds of billions of dollars. Concerned citizens must question for how long such enormous drains are justified.

Most U.S. citizens and allies supported initial military thrusts into Afghanistan to oust Al Qaeda, kill or capture Osama Bin Laden, and establish a suitable government to liberate the people from Taliban zealotry. Many supported real, imagined, or contrived reasons for invading Iraq to protect access to vital Middle East oil. Those citizens are now paying more than twice as much for gasoline.

But Afghanistan offers no solution to our oil problem. And apart from its poppy crop — which reportedly supplies 90 percent of the raw materials for illegal drugs — it has no weapons of mass destruction. Furthermore, respected experts insist Osama Bin Laden is safely tucked away in the impassable mountainous maze of Pakistan where we cannot touch him if Pakistan authorities cannot or will not do so.

Remember that attempts to ferret out and exterminate insurgents from that difficult terrain helped bleed the USSR to extinction, and appalling U.S. body bag counts in Vietnam threatened mutiny in Everytown, USA.

How long can we expend massively, wantonly our most precious assets, our youth and funds — so desperately needed at home — on ill-defined goals that are questionably achievable?

Joel Taylor
Little Rock

 

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