Arthur Horn, East Windsor
Former Gov. Ed Rendell's perspective ("Answer is here: Natural gas," Sunday) is entirely appropriate when you view the situation in a narrow, short-term way that focuses on the economy at the expense of everything else. Rendell apparently believes that he and all of his offspring into eternity, as well as anybody he might care about, will be insulated by their money from the unavoidable consequences of fracking.
Well, he may be right. Or he may not. Contaminating the water that your natural environment depends upon is equivalent to poisoning and corrupting the air you need to breathe and the food you need to survive. Oh, wait, we're already doing that. Never mind. Just business as usual.
Rachel Chaput, Dingmans Ferry
Look at costs
I agree with Amanda Bennett ("The true costs of medical system," Sunday) that we consumers are totally unaware of the true costs of our health care. I believe it is the biggest reason for the out-of-control expenses. How many employees are truly aware of how much their insurance carrier pays for their health care if they don't have to pay a significant portion of it? And why do premiums vary so greatly among various companies? In Bennett's example, why should the Blue Cross plan pay so much less for a scan than another insurer, or even a patient who pays the total himself? The service is the same; why are the reimbursements different? I believe when the consumer is in control, the costs will be less and fees will be fairer.
Marty S. Betton, Landsale
Listen to teachers
Embracing the charter-school movement is the final abdication of responsibility by big-city school administrators and education "experts" such as Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and former Secretary Bill Bennett. It actually is an admission that these education policymakers don't have a clue how to solve the problems of American public education. If some charter school or company knows things that work, why not simply do those things in our public schools?
I've heard things like the public-school teachers' contracts make it impossible, or it's too hard to get rid of bad teachers. Anybody with half a brain knows how false and weak these arguments are. Does that mean that unless teachers work until 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. (which many public-school teachers do) for six days a week, effective instruction can't really occur? Also, is a prevalence of bad teachers really the problem in "failing" public schools? How many are there? How did so many get hired and reach a second or third year of teaching? Who hired these people and allowed them to continue in their classrooms?
Is it possible that the root issues are not really being addressed? Could we begin dealing with the problem by first asking what's necessary for learning at high levels to occur? How can we accommodate for what children need, especially in preschool and early education, that should be provided at home and may not be? Who should be making decisions and establishing policy instead of the failing education leaders of today? How about the one group that seems never to be included in the discussion, let alone the decision-making — teachers! Oh. I forgot, they're the problem.
Joseph Goldberg, Abington
ID law unneeded
Pennsylvania's voter-ID law is about voter disenfranchisement, not "protection."
If the state passed a law that prohibited voting by urban voters, students, the disabled, minorities, and the elderly, especially women whose names are different from what is on their birth certificates or other legal documents because of marriage or divorce, no legitimate public official would openly try to justify the law.
But what if the law weren't so patently odious? What if, instead, it seemed reasonable? What if it didn't prohibit voting outright, but rather simply imposed obstacles that affect only a relatively powerless minority of voters? What if it seemed to be a simple "remedy" to a real-sounding problem? Well, that is the case with Pennsylvania's voter-ID law. The law is a remedy for a problem that does not exist. Voter-impersonation fraud is a phantom.
Colleen F. Conelly, Bryn Mawr
A letter Monday, "Some facts about vouchers," was correct when it pointed out that schools other than parochial schools will benefit from the governor's voucher program. Students at Friends Select, Friends Central, the Baldwin School, the Agnes Irwin School, Shipley, the Haverford School, Waldron Academy, Merion Mercy Academy, Episcopal Academy, and a host of other expensive private schools will also benefit — another boost for the wealthy at the expense of working- and middle-class families.
While raving about parochial-school successes, the letter writer neglected to mention that parochial schools routinely expel poorly performing and disruptive students whom the public schools are then required to take and keep. Parochial-school tuition goes a long way because they do not provide breakfast and lunch to economically disadvantaged students as public schools do. And parochial schools pay teachers, many of whom are not certified, lower wages.
Chris Butto, Havertown