If you are happy with the present state of affairs in our country war without reason or end in Iraq; high unemployment here while our corporations send jobs overseas; a know-nothing energy policy with unprecedented profits for Exxon, BP, et al, while we pay sky-high prices for gasoline; an economy gone amok for lack of any government oversight of mortgage banks and other financial institutions you can guarantee more of the same by voting for John McCain (the warrior with knee-jerk Cold War reactions to world problems) and Sarah Palin (the gun-totin beauty queen).
Mr. McCain has been accepting donations from the big oil and other lobbyists; Ms. Palin says she was against the Bridge to Nowhere and claims to oppose earmarks but kept the millions of dollars from the federal government that were earmarked for it. How can we expect anything better from them when all their so-called wonderful experience adds up to creating the biggest mess we have ever been in?
Since I am not satisfied with things as they are, I will cast my vote for a new future with Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
After opening my newspaper the last couple of weeks and reading the editorials and opinion pages, I can t help but run to the street in the morning to see if it has happened yet. Surely the next Blade expose will be about Sarah Palin being a Tom Noe conduit.
In a recent speech in southern Ohio, Gov. Ted Strickland stated that overcoming racism was the key to Barack Obama winning in southern Ohio, and he said, I don t want people to vote against their own interests because of an unwillingness to vote for a black man.
Well, he sure has opened my eyes. I didn t realize that there were so many poor, ignorant racists in Ohio who will have to overcome their misguided bigotry in order to accept Mr. Obama as the next president, commander in chief, and leader of the free world.
I thought people might not want to vote for Mr. Obama because of his relationships with some very questionable individuals for the sake of political gain. Or maybe it could be his costly economic agenda and philosophy of socialist redistribution of wealth. Perhaps his utter lack of executive leadership experience might give some people pause.
Others might be troubled by his total disregard for the sanctity of human life. Maybe his uninspired and uninformed energy independence policies leave some people unsatisfied.
But thanks to Ted, we can see that this race is actually all about race.
A recent editorial in The Blade dumped on the Electoral College. The Blade s editors would like to see the Electoral College eliminated in favor of a national popular vote.
It sounds as if they wish to disenfranchise all of those voters from smaller states who don t always support the candidates that the four or five big population states support.
If Ohio voted 60 percent for candidate A, including my vote, and Ohio s electoral votes were given to candidate B because he or she received the national popular vote, I would feel disenfranchised. The 60 percent who voted for candidate A just might not vote the next election.
In addition, The Blade wants to accomplish this by running an end around the Constitution. Would it also support an end around the Constitution s support for freedom of the press? As a newspaper for the Democratic Party, why does The Blade always feel that the Constitution should be ignored if the Democrats don t like it?
Using The Blade s words, Is this any way to run a democracy?
John W. Foster
I look at the results of the Ohio Department of Education school report cards and I see a Lake Wobegon Effect : where all children are above average.
How is this? A new rating, excellent with distinction, was added this year. Looking at the total number for each rating statewide, there are fewer at the bottom and an increasing number upward. Is this good or bad? It s really hard to tell because no district can actually be sure what rating it will get until the state education department decides on a grading scale, which seems to be a moving target from year to year.
All this despite recent results from the ACT and SAT tests showing no significant change. Perhaps ODE should norm-reference their data for a true comparison.
Oh well, why complain about good news? In the meantime, Ohio residents will be glad to see school officials from all over the country rushing to Ohio to see how we did it.
As I reflect upon my time in Ohio, I am grateful for the hard work of Ohio s educators and students and proud of our schools successes.
It s been quite a journey. Ten years ago, we had 69 school districts in academic emergency. Today, Ohio s education system ranks 7th in the nation in Education Week s 2008 Quality Counts Report. In the 1990s, we were in the middle of the pack. On national measures, our students now consistently perform better than the average. A record number of Ohio students took the ACT college entrance exam in 2008. Our average score is the ninth-highest nationwide.
The recently released local report cards mirror this success. The statewide average of all students tests scores has increased by more than 25 percent since 1999-2000, and for the third year in a row, we have no districts in academic emergency.
As we celebrate our progress, we also should recognize the challenges ahead. We have a 19-point gap in the graduation rate between black and white students. Ohio must continue to fight so that all students, regardless of race, receive a high quality education.
We must have high expectations for all students and explore new methods of teaching and learning that reflect the knowledge they need to thrive in our ever-shrinking world.
Our students must be able to collaborate and compete with students in other states and countries so that together they can create a better humanity than what we ve given them.
We can t do it alone. It will take the leadership and resources of businesses, policymakers, and communities to prepare our children for a world we cannot yet imagine.
Together, you can continue the journey and elevate Ohio s education system to world prominence.
Susan Tave Zelman
Superintendent of Public InstructionOhio Department of EducationColumbus
Regarding lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18, I imagine it would result in more traffic deaths, as was pointed out by a recent letter writer. However, if that s the only factor to consider, then we should raise the drinking age to 25 since drivers age 21 through 24 have the greatest number of alcohol-related fatal traffic accidents.
The real issue here is a consistent legal definition of adulthood. If 18 is too young for alcohol consumption, shouldn t it also be too young for voting, military service, and the adult criminal justice system? Maybe we should make age 21 the standard for all of these activities or compromise at 19 or 20, but if we re not willing to do that, then I agree with the college presidents who want to lower the drinking age to 18.
Robert A. Kelso
If the Republicans were as good at running the country as they are at deceitful campaigning, our internal problems would start to diminish and the United States would be respected throughout the world again .
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