As a mother whose five children all attended Little Rock Public Schools, a volunteer who has also tutored many hours at Forest Park Elementary, and a retired media specialist from the LRSD, I would like to respond to the “liberal Democrats” in Zone 3 who wrote the Times recently. Don’t be “out-foxed” in this school board election. A candidate for a public school board position that “hasn’t given much consideration to the voucher issue” is nothing more than a fox in sheep’s clothing. Vouchers drain resources from the public schools and no responsible public school board member would ever favor vouchers.

Now, that said, I would like to address the qualifications of Carol Roddy. I have known Carol for over 20 years. She has been a tireless volunteer in the S.T.E.P. program at First United Methodist Church, tutoring at-risk children. She volunteered as a parent representative on the school improvement team at Pulaski Heights Middle School. In 2005, she sought the approval of the late Fay Boozman, director of the Arkansas Department of Health, for the department to be a Partner in Education for the Pulaski Heights Middle School. This was to shore up math and science skills in the after-school program. Last year, she joined other First Methodist members as a volunteer at Chicot Elementary School, where they assisted the faculty/students as needed. Every year the Unity Sunday School Class, which she co-facilitates, conducts a “Pack-the-Backpack” food drive for children at risk for hunger during their spring break week while away from school meals. Yes, Carol is a long-time member of the PTA, and she offers her time and talent in other causes that make a real difference in children’s lives. I know her as a talented, committed, energetic single parent who is constantly reaching out to assist the less fortunate in her community. I can think of no worthier person to serve on the Little Rock School Board.

Remember, vouchers and charter schools will only take the “public” out of public schools. I urge you to join me in voting for Carol Roddy on Sept. 19.

Betty Ann Bullard
Little Rock

Citizen Hussman
In a segment from the classic film “Citizen Kane,” the great newspaper magnate has spared no expense in promoting the singing debut of his true love. Unfortunately, once the public and critics at large hear her terrible voice, her lack of ability becomes readily apparent. Enraged by the critics, Kane uses his own paper to fight back, ignoring the truth of the matter — that he has been deluded by his own infatuation.

Thus it is with Walter Hussman, owner and publisher of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. His infatuation with merit pay has made him blind to the facts and criticisms against it. No matter how off-key and poorly it has performed in the past, he still wants the public to accept his baby as a great voice in education.

Worst of all, Citizen Hussman has turned his paper and its staff into hacks who attack anyone not for his plan. A once-great Pulitzer Prize winner has become a hatchet man whose job is to attack any who would criticize Citizen Hussman’s plan. The editorial page is being used to blatantly endorse school board candidates who kowtow to this failed plan.

Perhaps the most telling flaw in their proposal are these two words they use most often: “ought to.” When a look at research shows that only 3 percent of all merit pay systems have shown any kind of success, this is the best they can say. Merit pay has so many flaws and pitfalls, it almost takes a miracle for it to gain acceptance.

Or a brazen ad campaign being pushed by Citizen Hussman, invidiously hoping his strumpet will gain acceptance.

Jake Tidmore
Little Rock

McCord wrong
Bob McCord’s statement to “get a permit to carry a pistol...all you have to do is to fill out a card at the state’s Concealed Weapon Unit” is blatantly false. You also have to pay a substantial fee, be fingerprinted, undergo a thorough background check (and they do indeed check), pay for, take, and pass a course in the relevant laws/restrictions, prove proficiency with the weapon, and periodically renew the license.

While everyone would like to take guns out of the hands of criminals, making law-abiding citizens defenseless is definitely not the answer.

G. Gordon Apple
Little Rock

Christian soldier
Once again I sit and type to a news medium (sorry, preacher Mike) that does not use hate in writing their articles. I find myself using your place as a niche to find comfort and peace, to regain my balance.

My thoughts: Is Bush a Christian? Are we a Christian nation? Perhaps I’m wrong, but I thought the word “Christian” meant following in the footsteps of Christ.

What would Jesus say to the president on his actions? I wonder what he would say to a pre-emptive strike on Iraq? What would he say to “no” on embryo research and attempts to cancel programs that help living children? It boggles my mind what he would say to tax breaks for the rich. I suspect we would hear again about a camel passing through the eye of a needle. And what about the passes and tax breaks given to the energy folk who pollute the land, air and water? Would Jesus say “Great job, George”?

I suspect that Jesus would have told the president not to use the words “crusade against evil.” Maybe Jesus could have had the president read (another miracle) about the Crusades. Arabs are brothers, too. Some are as radical as Falwell and Robertson, but I suspect that Jesus would have tried to teach them to love all men. Would Jesus have wanted a cease-fire? I would love to hear what Jesus would say to Bush about his ability to judge who is good or bad.

What about some of our Christian churches? Do they preach the words of Jesus or hang on to the vengeance and hate of the Old Testament? Have some of the churches become more of cash than faith? I think Jesus would recall the leaders of faith of his times and how angry they made him. Do they comfort those who need it or punish them? Is love the power or has power become the ultimate?

For myself, if I want a minister, I’ll go to church. If I vote for you, I want you to represent the ideals of this nation, which once made us the envy of the world. The good old days.

Beverly Quinlan



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