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As a student who has attended Little Rock public schools since pre-K, I have gotten a firsthand look at what makes public schools great. With the pro-charter school agendas of President Trump and his secretary of education, our education system could lose public schools and their great qualities altogether. Charter schools don't have to follow the same rules as public schools, so they aren't required to offer the same services as public schools. Charter schools don't have to offer transportation, such as school buses for students, which I think is a must-have for any school. Charter schools want to "transform our public school system," but when you don't offer transportation you are keeping children that have no means of getting to school from attending a charter school. No free transportation to charter schools is keeping children who want a better education from leaving problem schools to attend a charter school. I would hate to see a world where schools didn't offer free transportation and many of the programs in current public schools to their students.

John Swaim

Little Rock

Economic Darwinism at work

How 'bout that Trump Budget?

I loved the way Mick Mulvaney, budget director, characterized the budget as "perhaps" the most "compassionate" budget ever.

I watched Mulvaney proudly recite how his budget was tailor-made to fulfill Agent Orange's campaign promises.

The ugly truth is, what I witnessed with barely restrained horror, was selective euthanasia: economic Darwinism at work carried out by Trump's budget priorities.

The weakest among us, poor children on the one end and helpless seniors clinging to the other, must go. Keeping them alive, as Mulvaney so smugly asserted, "isn't producing satisfactory results." He's right; most are still alive.

Agent Orange views their existence as unworthy, even burdensome to those of us who are blessed with good health and a job. His budget will fill the cracks beneath the feet of the living with the carcasses of the poor and defenseless.

Now throw in a health care plan that is clumsily and speciously crafted to nail the coffin on seniors who somehow beat the system, and what have you got?

Come on Arkansas. You voted overwhelmingly for this monster, what have you done?

Please don't assume you know my politics, because you don't.

This is a moral issue.

Harry Hergert Little Rock

From the web

In response to Gene Lyons' March 16 column, "More on pits":

Gene Lyons, visit your local shelter. The majority of the homeless dogs are pit bulls. Meet those pit bulls and see real danger that you write about. You are a part of the reason pit bulls get euthanized, abused and neglected more than any other breed. Oh wait, I forgot, pit bulls aren't a "real breed" right? I am a volunteer at my local shelter and "breeds" are meaningless. These animals are scared, alone and desperate for a family. Pit bulls, no matter how kind and gentle, are always there the longest. What more torture and misfortune do you wish upon these innocent animals? Yes, many pit bulls are bred for fighting. That is a terrible crime and those dogs can be rehabilitated. When dogs are made to fight, they are being tortured. They need to be rescued. On behalf of rescuers and loving dogs, I employ you to write an article apologizing for your ignorance on this matter.

Susan Swanay

As an American citizen, I understand you have the right to your opinion; however, your news piece is really an editorial. I am outraged that you choose to belittle a loving and docile collection of dogs. Pit bull-type dogs cover hundreds of mixed breeds. If you would look back in history, pit bull-type dogs were called nanny dogs because they took great care of children. Your picture indicates that you are perhaps old enough to remember the television show "The Little Rascals," in which a pit bull-type dog was the star. 

Dog aggression is not natural for any breed. Remember, dogs are domesticated, which by Merriam-Webster's definition means "to adapt (an animal or plant) to life in intimate association with and to the advantage of humans."

Illiterate, non-responsible and perhaps greedy humans have chosen a very loyal breed (meaning a breed that really wants to do what is asked by his human) to dogfight or be vicious. The owner is training a domesticated animal to do vile things. Many pit bull-type dogs are tortured, and/or given cocaine to alter their normal docile personality. Pit bull-type dogs are often put to death in a horrific fashion if they choose not to fight.

The humans have the issues, not the dogs. Yes, innocent humans suffer at the hands of terrible and perhaps psychopathic people, just as innocent people suffer and are maimed by distracted drivers. Hmm. Maybe that's a cause you could take up, and leave the innocent pit bull-type dogs alone.

Diane Gardner

Diane, this is a column, not a news piece. So yes, it's opinion. It's supposed to be.

And dogs evolved from wolves. Claiming they are not naturally aggressive is naive/uninformed at best. They are no longer wild, but one of the reasons humans and dogs struck up a relationship was because dogs are protective. That some humans have taken advantage of that natural aggression in an extreme way doesn't negate the science. 

Vanessa

Correction: In last week's Readers Choice edition, we mistakenly identified I Love Juice Bar as the winner in the Yogurt/smoothies category in a photo caption. Red Mango was the winner.

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