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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 7, 2009 at 5:00 PM

Cutting General Assistance Unemployable

What would it teach our children?

Your editorial position stating that General Assistance Unemployable should be cut to save education is appalling [“Some programs must die to save state education,” Opinion, editorial, April 6].

GAU is a program that gives a little money and badly needed medical care to those who don’t qualify for any other sort of help, but are unable to work because of their physical condition or mental illness. Washington state has such a program because, as you say, “we are a humane state and could afford it.”

But when money is short, humaneness goes out the window, and you propose a false contest between helping those at the bottom to stay alive and educational expenses, even though you proposed another source of money for schools at the end of the editorial.

Some of The Times’ editorial-board members must have children or grandchildren in public school. Why don’t you ask those kids how they feel about that trade-off? Do they think their smaller classes and foreign-language teachers are worth more than human lives? What would that choice teach them?

Education isn’t confined to school; we teach our children every day with what we deem worthy. The Times’ choice is shameful.

— Sally Kinney, Seattle

Real savings would come from education reform

How ironic that The Seattle Times editorialized for discontinuing the funding of the state’s unemployable in favor of continued funding of public education.

Doesn’t it occur to The Times that our state’s public education is perhaps the major cause of creating the unemployable? The state could save taxpayers millions of dollars if it truly reformed how education is delivered to our children.

— Bob Dorse, Seattle

Consequences for cutting program

Your editorial fails to indicate what would happen to the many individuals who would be turned out on the streets.

Where would they obtain the essential medication they need to function? Obviously, they would have to locate sleeping quarters and food. Would eliminating GAU switch the responsibility to our already overburdened nongovernmental social services? What would happen to those who rely on wheelchairs for movement? Has a cost/benefit analysis been made that shows that such a draconian action would actually save money?

Regarding financial support for our schools, perhaps getting the parents and the community in general to pay for competitive athletics that they feel are essential to a good academic experience would make large sums of money available.

— Robert D. Theisen, Seattle

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