News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Letters

April 19, 2014

Readers’ Forum: April 20, 2014

Testing still best way to measure

When I was in high school we had a history teacher who would often assign reading material (homework). It never failed, if I read the required assignment there would be no test. If for some reason I chose not to read the material there would be a quiz. History was my favorite subject.

There is a question right now about taking testing from our schools. One child came home and told his mother that he didn’t need to bring home any homework or study at home because he wouldn’t be tested. I guess the question is, how will teachers know if the students are learning the required stuff? What will be the indication of an area needing work? What’s the measurement? How will grades be determined? How will valedictorians, honor society and scholarships be determined? Even in the workplace there are written performance reports with scores measuring performance and probationary periods.

I guess our electronic gadgets will become our brains. Didn’t someone predict that years ago, prophesy it? If one watches any TV, we know that one day they will put computer chips in our bodies which will become our brains. This will eliminate texting while driving and who knows, in the near future cars will probably be able to drive themselves. And just maybe car insurance rates will start going down instead of up. I wonder what God thinks about all of this. Whoops, that’s totally another subject.

Someone commented about the “Noah” movie currently playing, stating that it wasn’t scriptural. After going to see it there were some scriptural discrepancies. But the overall flood on the big screen reminds us that God wasn’t kidding.

God chose to save Noah and his family. My Bible says Noah’s family consisted of his wife, three sons and their wives. Why did He choose to save them when He could have made new like He did in the garden of Eden? Perhaps to promote faith. We will have to ask Him when we see Him. We want to argue as to whether it is OK to eat a hamburger when we let domestic cats and dogs run loose and multiply. Shame on us.

— Sue Baker, Sullivan

Addressing issues of inequality

On March 6, a meeting was held with local citizens from within our community to discuss issues of inequalities that hinder African Americans and other minorities in Vigo County. A committee was formed known as Citizens of Actions (COA) to address these issues in employment, education, correctional facilities and economic opportunities in our community. Anyone interested may join with welcome.

During this meeting a list of concerns and complaints were addressed regarding our public school system in Vigo County. The following issues were submitted to Superintendent Tanoos and each school board trustee on March 14.

Our concerns:

• Lack of African-American faculty and staff within our schools, especially black men.

• Academic achievement gap between African-American students and their peers.

• Lack of parental involvement.

• Investing in lower income and African-American students/community.

• Athletic participation by low income and African-American students.

• Behavioral medications.

• Suspension and expulsion rate of African-American students.

• Closing schools but building jails and swimming pools.

• The high number of poor and African-American students placed in learning disabilities classes.

• How taxpayers’ monies are spent on our facilities and needed resources for academic/athletic success.

Complaints by parents and citizens to COA:\R• Race discrimination issues with retaliatory behaviors toward students and parents.

• The politics surrounding athletic teams.

• The conflict of interest from administrators and school board members being coaches.

• Lack of support provided to African-American student athletes by African-American coaches.

• Rerouting African-American students down 25th street while allowing white students to continue on their normal route on 24th Street after an incident occurring on 24th Street.

• Parents receiving calls from schools when students are absent or misbehaving but never for failing grades.

• Students being separated by race during lunch periods.

• Students being targeted by teachers and administrators by race and behavioral issues during school.

• Students not feeling safe due to gangs.

• Zero tolerance policy.

• Bathroom breaks during school and passing periods.

It is the purpose of COA to establish methods in which concerned citizens of Vigo County can voice their concern and document their issues to be addressed.

It is COA’s intent to improve the quality of life for all citizens in Vigo County by addressing inequality issues in an effective and productive way.

Our goal is to keep these issues in front of the public and school administrators, especially in the light of the new findings by the U.S. Education Department and the Office of Civil Rights data collected. In a report by the Huffington Post on data found, it claims “American schools are still racist, Government report finds.”

The report found that black students are suspended or expelled at triple the rate of their white peers, black students receive more disciplinary punishments and less access to veteran teachers, and receive less access to high level courses.

Our prayer is to work together collectively finding positive solutions to these issues as we mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act to ensure that all of our schools are serving all of Gods children equally.

— Margret Taylor, Anna Smith, Archie Smith, Barry Minnett Jr. and Dwayne Malone, COA members, Terre Haute

Perfect blend of attributes

The purpose of this letter is twofold: First, to encourage everyone to vote in the upcoming primary election, and second, to encourage those of you who do vote to choose John A. Kesler II as the Democratic candidate for judge of the Vigo Superior Court, Division 2.

I first met John when he was a student in my sophomore English class at West Vigo High School. I know that he likes to tell people that he preferred the gym to the classroom, but the truth of the matter is that he was an excellent student. He was well-liked and well-respected by both his teachers and his fellow students. Even then he was a leader, as I recall the students selecting him to make the case to me that they really did not want to read the novel I had chosen for them.

Later on, our roles were reversed, as he graduated from law school several years before I did. Now it was my time to learn from him and I did. Over the years I have had many cases, both civil and criminal, where John was the opposing counsel. I was always pleased to learn that John was to represent the other party in a lawsuit because that meant the case would be handled professionally, competently and expeditiously.

When I learned that John was considering running for judge, I encouraged him to do so. I know that John is emphasizing his many years of varied legal experience, and indeed that is a very important consideration when choosing a judge. But in addition to his legal experience, he also has what I consider to be the perfect demeanor for a judge.

In all of the years I have known him — as a student, as a colleague, as a friend — I have never seen him be disrespectful or demeaning to any individual, and in my opinion, that is the most important quality for a person who is going to sit in judgment of others.

For all of these reasons, I hope you will give John your vote on May 6.

— Nina J. Alexander, Senior Prosecutor, Clinton

An outstanding choice for judge

I recently attended a meeting at which retired Supreme Court Justice Frank Sullivan Jr. spoke about the candidacy of Lakshmi “Lucky” Reddy. His words convinced me that Lucky Reddy has the experience and qualifications to fill the judgeship being vacated by Philip Adler in the May 6 primary election.

Justice Sullivan told the audience that Lucky Reddy was chosen to be a clerk for the Indiana Supreme Court based on her academic excellence as a graduate of the Indiana University School of Law. Only the top law scholars are selected. Justice Sullivan told my wife and me that he believes Lucky Reddy is the smartest law clerk who ever worked for him. That is high praise coming from someone who I would say probably knows the law and lawyers better than anyone who will be voting in the Vigo County primary election.

I also had the opportunity to meet a family at that same meeting who praised Lucky Reddy’s handling of their son’s battle for custody of his children. They were lavish in their admiration for her attention to the interaction between the parents of those children. They said she had very kindly yet firmly explained to the two parents who were battling in court that children can suffer severely if they see or hear their parents fighting or yelling.

She explained to the feuding parents that children frequently blame themselves for the family’s problems. The grandparents said Lucky Reddy’s quiet, professional explanation and her appeal to them actually made those feuding parents behave in a civil manner. By the way, Lucky Reddy won that case.

Lucky Reddy offers much to this race. She is a mom, a wife, a businesswoman — yes, a woman. As hard as it is to believe in the 21st century, there is not one woman judge among the five county judges holding office in the Vigo County courthouse.

Vigo Superior Court 2 deals primarily with matters of family law. Lucky Reddy is perfectly suited to deal with these cases. She is compassionate, considerate and reasonable. I personally know her to be a lovely and thoughtful individual.

You will never hear her say a single word against her opponent in this race. That tells a great deal about her character. It tells us she is the kind of person we want to be the judge in the family court. Lucky Reddy is an outstanding choice to be judge. It’s time to elect a woman who is an experienced and qualified lawyer — and we’re lucky Reddy is a Democrat running for Judge of Vigo Superior Court 2.

— Ted Elbert, Terre Haute

No excuses for Benghazi tragedy

In the last few weeks, Hillary Clinton’s name appears, very frequently, in the daily press (printed and electronic).

This indicates to me that the former secretary of state is getting ready to run for president of the United States. As I remember of my class in high school civics, our system of government has civilians in supreme command of our armed forces.

The theme of this letter is the tragedy of Benghazi. The date of the battle was Sept. 11, 2012, a very few months before a fateful election. President Obama (and Mrs. Clinton) wanted to prove that al-Qaida was on the run and was militarily inconsequential. And hence, our three leaders decided to choose a very inexcusable tactic: They refused to fight, and brave Americans were murdered. It is an old military principle. You never leave your fighting personnel on the battlefield to die. Just for the record, our three leaders were President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.

I happen to be a veteran of the United States Army. After graduating from Purdue University School of Pharmacy (January 1952) I was drafted in the U.S. Army for two years. I took my military training at Fort Sill, Okla., and in my second year I served in Osaka, Japan, as a pharmacist at Osaka Army Hospital.

In closing, how great it was for me to go from wearing the striped prison uniforms in Nazi Germany to proudly wearing the G.I. uniform as corporal in the U.S. Army.

— Michael Kor, Terre Haute

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    March 12, 2010

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