Letters, Letters to the Editor, Opinion

Oct. 24 letters to the editor

Great teachers make for great schools

I have been a resident of Morgantown all of my life. I was educated in the Monongalia County Schools and at West Virginia University and feel that I have been very fortunate to have received an excellent education. I have also been fortunate to have spent 41 years of my life as an educator.

Recently, we have been informed that Monongalia County Schools have the highest test scores in the state and that three of our elementary schools are rated in the top five in West Virginia. We should be proud of our students and of our excellent schools!

I believe that educating children must a combined effort between parents and schools, with good teachers being the most important element. It is my opinion that there is nothing more valuable in the education of a child than the presence of a good teacher.

It is my belief that if there are administrators who do not value teachers and who choose to make it difficult for them to do their jobs, it is a shame. In order to be effective as a teacher, you must have the support of the administration, both at the building and county level. In addition, I believe that the Board of Education has the responsibility to support our teachers in their efforts to do their daily jobs. Many teachers live on very tight budgets and struggle to meet their financial obligations, yet our expectations remain high.

I would like to express my appreciation to the teachers of Monongalia County for a job well done. Our granddaughter tells us all the time how much she loves her teacher and her school. If you want to know how important good teachers are, ask a child!

Sandra K. Wolfe

Too many don’t know what’s in BBB Act

Only 10% of the general public knows what’s in the Build Back Better Act, though its individual points are popular and necessary.

Mainstream media (not The Dominion Post) has been focused on building shock-value narratives about its cost — $3.5 trillion — without providing  context, making it easy for Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema and Republican-led legislatures to attack it. But failing to invest in education, clean energy and health care in order to preserve tax breaks for the likes of Jeff Bezos is not popular. The cost of not passing the bill is far greater as the income gap shoves more citizens into poverty.

Here’s a list of what’s most in danger of being cut:  

○ Expanded pre-K, which would give all kids the best start to their education (and where many kids get breakfast and lunch).

○ Medicaid coverage of dental, vision and hearing — filling a critical gap that disproportionately impacts low-income communities.

○ Free community college, which would give millions of students in underserved communities the chance to access higher education and find good-paying jobs for their futures.

○ Lowered drug costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices — a change that could finally stop drug companies from price gouging consumers on lifesaving medications like insulin.

○ Paid family leave for new parents and those caring for sick relatives — a program that would finally end the United States’ shameful position as one of only three nations not to provide such a service.

○ Increased clean energy to solve the climate crisis — a critical step toward tackling the existential crisis of our lifetime.

We need to make sure everyone knows that’s really what’s at stake. West Virginia needs these programs badly as a state that suffered with poverty even before the pandemic. Studies show babies living in poverty can have slower brain development and may never make up the gap, almost ensuring they continue in poverty as adults. Many grandparents in West Virginia are raising children, many on small incomes. These programs can make the difference.

Eve Faulkes

What does Sen. Manchin want his legacy to be?

With the Build Back Better plan, Sen. Joe Manchin could have a profound impact on West Virginia, long past when he leaves office. One piece of that plan, the enhanced Child Tax Credit, can help a generation of West Virginia children get out of poverty.

Child poverty rates are already high in the U.S., and West Virginia has long ranked well below the national average. Since enhanced CTC payments began over the summer though, child poverty rates have decreased by nearly half. Over 93% of West Virginia children — that’s nearly 350,000 — have benefited from this credit.

Imagine the implications within our state. That’s more kids getting healthier, doing well in school, going to college and getting good jobs right here in the Mountain State.

And by insisting that the wealthy and big corporations pay their fair share of taxes, the one thing our kids won’t get from Build Back Better is more debt.

As transformational as the CTC has been and could continue to be, Sen. Manchin has not given his full support of extending this measure beyond its expiration at the end of the year. Instead, he has suggested that the benefit should be tied to work requirements. This particular constraint stands to do more harm than good. The greatest would be the inevitable exclusion of children raised by their grandparents and children of parents with a disability, not to mention children whose parents are enrolled as full-time students or otherwise have full-time caretaking commitments.

The CTC has been life-changing for children and families across our state and throughout the country. It is an example of policy that works, and it deserves enthusiastic support, not arbitrary limitations that needlessly cut out many of the people who need it most.

Sen. Manchin’s action on Build Back Better and the CTC may well determine what his legacy will be. Perhaps it will be politicians and business elites saying he was a good penny-pincher. Or it could be a generation of West Virginia kids saying thank you. Which will he choose?

Rebecca Reece

Column on community forum was on point

I sincerely, honestly believe the column written by Brian J. Allfrey (DP-10-09-21) was great! It was very necessary and informative and directly on point about the necessity for a community forum. It is refreshing to get such a viewpoint, well-written from someone talented.

I would also like to add that I still feel there’s a need for a family crisis counseling center confronting drugs and violence.

Ellen Pirlo