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LETTERS: Question 3 builds more bureaucracy

To the editor:

Vote no on Question 3. Why? Because government, both at the state and federal levels, spends billions and billions of dollars a year on “education,” yet it simply can’t raise the test scores. These monies prop up a bureaucracy that makes the funding of administration the priority, with less than 20 percent finding its way directly into the classroom.

If the state of Nevada wants more funds for education, it should look to the federal government. The best way to do it would be to eliminate the Department of Education, then block-grant money back to the states on a per-student basis. Far too much of the funding for the Department of Education — a behemoth of a boondoggle — is used to pay the salaries and benefits of its thousands of employees.

Until we as voters do our homework and get educated about how the government wastes our money, the education establishment and politicians will continue to float ideas such as Question 3 and mislead us about just exactly where our money is going — straight into their pockets.



Cooked numbers

To the editor:

When someone tosses out the phrase, “Numbers don’t lie,” I’m pretty sure that I’m about to be lied to. Of course, numbers and letters and punctuation marks can’t lie; it’s the people who misuse them who are the liars. Enter Review-Journal columnist Glenn Cook and his arguments against Question 3 — the margins tax ballot initiative — from the study of our school system over the past 2½ years (“On margins tax, numbers don’t lie,” Oct. 19 Review-Journal).

First, Mr. Cook fiddles with the numbers by dismissing rural schools because their “campuses don’t benefit from economies of scale.” In other words, some of those schools get three times the funding per pupil than do the schools in the Las Vegas Valley, and if those schools were included in Mr. Cook’s little study, they might just totally blow his argument out of the water. Isn’t this what the margins tax is about — more money for students equaling better education? But we’ll never know, because Mr. Cook dismisses them.

Second, when he equates schools in poor neighborhoods with schools in rich neighborhoods, Mr. Cook is comparing apples to oranges. Most of the wealthier neighborhoods don’t have the same problems that poor neighborhoods do: students and/or parents who don’t speak English, single-parent families, bad nutrition, drugs, gangs, violence, early pregnancies, health problems and so on. Poor children in rural areas of China were given eye examinations and corrective glasses, and suddenly their school exam scores jumped. To be poor is a true disadvantage, and Mr. Cook wants you to believe the field is level.

People with little or no education usually don’t have the ability to pass on to their children necessary education skills, leaving it up to the school system to do it all. Parents matter, and educated parents give their children a huge advantage in school. Mr. Cook might have an argument if he would compare poor schools in poor neighborhoods with schools in poor neighborhoods that are better funded; but again, that might just lose him the argument, so he doesn’t do it.

Nevada schools are near the bottom nationally in both funding and performance, and there is a strong correlation, despite Mr. Cook’s fishy numbers.



Painful punishment

To the editor:

The regulations listing hydrocodone combinations as Schedule II under the Controlled Substance Act have caused much trouble within the pharmaceutical community. In addition to the issues outlined in Yvonne L. Bethea’s letter (“Regulating medications,” Oct. 18 Review-Journal), the major problem right now is obtaining any hydrocodone, as the product has been returned to the manufacturers for relabeling.

My pharmacist said it could be as long as two months before his shipment arrives. He said he is hopeful that he will have the product sooner, but he could not give a date with any certainty.

I am a 76-year-old woman suffering from debilitating osteoarthritis. Movement is painful and was previously alleviated by my pain medication, which allowed me to walk for exercise. Without the relief provided by my medication, I will not be able to move around much, which makes my condition worse. While I appreciate the effort to weed out cheaters, I believe the issue could be better handled with some forethought. It is unnecessary to punish everyone for the sins of the few.



Reid’s popularity

To the editor:

Have you heard the news? Washingtonian Magazine conducted a survey among congressional staff, rating the best and worst lawmakers in Congress. Guess who was selected as the “meanest,” “worst speaker” and “most partisan” in the Senate? Yes, Nevada’s very own Sen. Harry Reid. Is anyone surprised?

I would add that he is also the most arrogant and big-headed politician. When his term comes up, let’s make sure we vote him out of the Senate.



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