Since Corbett took office, his budgets have focused on undoing the damage. It's been reported that total state funding for schools was lower in 2011-2012 ($5,149 per student) than funding levels in 2008-2009 ($5,190 per student); however, these reports fail to mention that, in 2009-2010 and 2010-2011, under Rendell, state funding plummeted by $566 million, or $270 per student to $4,983 in 2009-2010 and $4,920 in 2010-2011.
Corbett's first budget reversed this trend. In total, the governor has increased state funding per student from $4,920 in 2010-2011 to $5,558 in 2013-2014 - an increase of $638, or 13 percent. State funding for education is now at historic levels. More than 41 cents of every tax dollar that goes to Harrisburg supports schools. In Philadelphia schools and across the state, the focus must be to prioritize and direct these dollars to programs and services that benefit students.
Carolyn C. Dumaresq, acting secretary, Pa. Dept. of Education, Harrisburg
Making sense on marijuana
As a drug-policy reform activist and longtime New Jersey political operative, I am very proud to support State Sen. Barbara Buono for governor, Milly Silva for lieutenant governor, and Newark Mayor Cory Booker for U.S. Senate. These fine candidates and proven leaders have stood for sensible, just policies that include safe, legal access for medical marijuana patients, and ending the criminalization of nonmedical users.
Eric Hafner, Toms River
Few safeguards, per the N.R.A.
Infamously, the chief executive of the National Rifle Association declared last year that "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." But the Navy Yard rampage gives the lie to that assertion. Not only did gunman Aaron Alexis kill the security guard nominally protecting the area, the troubled government contractor used the guard's weapon against his other victims. Had Alexis' hotline calls been taken seriously, and cross-checked with a list of gun owners, Alexis might have been disarmed by local law enforcement, and his ability to purchase ammunition might have been curtailed. But that would be in a country that treated gun ownership as a threat as well as a right. The gun lobby has made such reasonable-control legislation politically infeasible, and the enablers of the Supreme Court have overturned centuries of precedent in their senescent surge to transform our democracy into a right-wing Soviet Union. For now, not only is it constitutionally protected to yell fire in a crowded theater; it is a privilege to murder its patrons.
Ben Burrows, Elkins Park
How troubled to be disarmed?
A common theme in recent mass shootings has been that a person now seen to have been mentally disturbed obtained a firearm and used it to murder. So we need a discussion - reasonable, rational, and dispassionate - to consider how to make these tragedies less likely. That will require considering exactly what mental or emotional disturbance requires that an individual lose the right to possess firearms. For instance, would a young student diagnosed by a school child-study team lose that right once he graduates? Does a returning veteran suffering from post traumatic stress lose the right? Who makes the diagnosis, who's required to report it, and to whom? Though not a simple matter, these issues need to be addressed.
Kevin McGonigal, Moorestown, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bogle legacy benefits many
Jack Bogle's physical stature is ordinary, but there is nothing ordinary about him or his impact on the area, the financial community, and investors everywhere ("Vanguard founder John Bogle's enduring wisdom," Sept. 15). Bogle founded one of the region's largest employers, but equally, or even more importantly, his brilliant investment insights - for instance, you cannot time the market, fees are very important, and invest for the long-run by ignoring emotional turbulence in the short-run - have enriched millions of American investors and forever altered the investing culture. Bogle is a modest man with a very immodest legacy.
Ken Derow, Swarthmore
Heartfelt concern over changes
I am extremely disappointed in the shortened (by 50 percent) daily opinion-page format. One half of the heart of The Inquirer is gone.
Linda Reichert, Chester Springs