November 13, 2013 at 7:36 PM
Mothers pushed out of workforce to stay at home
I want to thank Gene Balk for revealing the facts about child care in Washington state [“Washington among states with least-affordable child care,” Online, Nov. 4].
The information he shared is not only sobering, it’s distressing. Countless families are struggling with being able to afford quality care and meeting basic needs, such as food and housing. The subsidies available are not enough, either due to lack of funding or because many working families do not qualify. As a result of this catch-22, many mothers are pushed out of the workforce to stay at home with their children. Instead of giving away billions to Boeing, the Legislature needs to put that money towards child care, social services and education. Washington state needs to get its priorities in order.
Gina Petry, Seattle
September 13, 2013 at 7:33 AM
The despicable crimes that Carri and Larry Williams committed against their adopted children are very difficult to comprehend. [“Parents convicted in adopted girl’s death,” page one, Sept. 10.]
It is unthinkable that any member of a civilized society would commit such heinous, inhumane acts against a child. What the Williams couple did to the little Ethiopian girl, Hana, will remain a tragic reminder of the horrors that many young adopted children face.
Hana’s young life ended in the cruelest and most undignified manner; dogs and cats receive a far superior treatment in America than what little Hana got from her adoptive parents.
Ethiopians around the world, like myself, are mourning the terrible loss of a promising life. The guilty verdict may not serve as a consolation for any of us, particularly to Hana’s family in Ethiopia.
I hope the case will present a compelling reason for a thorough review of the adoption process. The lives and well-being of thousands of defenseless children are at stake.
As I was reading your article, I noticed that Hana’s brief life on this Earth ended in a double-edged tragedy. As her adopted last name indicates, Carri and Larry Williams managed to kill Hana’s identity first, before they murdered her. I hope her original name was restored at her final rest.
Tewodros Abebe, Accokeek, Maryland
August 29, 2013 at 7:04 AM
Family court dropped the ball
How in the world did the sadistic Brandon and Viviana Gunn of Kitsap County get guardianship of his 13-year-old brother? [“Around the Northwest: Couple charged with child assault,” NW Wednesday, Aug. 28.]
Their arrest for brutally torturing the boy sickens me. I just recently jumped through numerous legal hoops here to be given guardianship of my disabled younger brother after our mother died, even though I had lovingly overseen his care for most of his life. I had a criminal-background check and had to be vetted by a court-appointed family attorney, at Thurston County’s expense. This was after decades of working with my brother’s case manager.
With such scrutiny and expense made over a dependent individual in my family’s situation, where did Kitsap County’s family court drop the ball? Surely there must have been warning signs of this couple’s outrageously cruel behavior.
They should never have been awarded guardianship of this child, and need to go to prison for a long, long time.
Carolyn LaFond, Olympia
April 18, 2013 at 5:14 PM
Give all mothers support
All new moms need support for their feeding choices, not stigmatization from health-care providers, family, friends and society at large [“Breast-feeding is not always everyone’s best available option,” Opinion, April 13].
Beth’s story poignantly demonstrates just how much support all new parents need while caring for newborns.
She reminds us that regardless of a woman’s determination, sometimes there are reasons why breast-feeding is not an option. There are many crucial factors involved in breast-feeding an infant, some outside a woman’s control.
In recent generations, formula feeding had become the norm. Today, health professionals are working to normalize breast-feeding.
Medical evidence demonstrates that breast-feeding has short- and long-term health benefits. For this reason, we believe that breast-feeding advocates have a responsibility to work toward policies to increase awareness and support for breast-feeding moms.
We also believe that health experts have the responsibility to offer accurate information and adequate support for parents of newborns. It is clear that we are still working as a community toward this effort to support all families with babies.
Gwyn Jones, breast-feeding promotion coordinator, Public Health — Seattle & King County, Seattle
March 25, 2013 at 3:36 PM
Lessons have power to change hearts and minds
I am writing in wholehearted support of Jon Greenberg and his Citizenship & Social Justice course at the Center School [“We shouldn’t be afraid to have Courageous Conversations,” Opinion, March 21]. My son graduated from the Center School in 2007. He was a student in Greenberg’s Poetry and Citizenship & Social Justice courses.
As a regular volunteer at the school I witnessed Greenberg’s teachings firsthand. He is a gifted educator. He challenges his students to explore their beliefs, values and perceptions. He brings an enormous amount of energy and commitment to each and every class, he is there to guide, teach and challenge our children. He does so with passion seldom seen in Seattle school classrooms.
My son and his friends from high school, black and white, regularly continued discussions begun in Greenberg’s class once they reached home. His lessons truly changed hearts and minds and always encouraged much discussion.
I am ashamed of the Seattle School Board and the superintendent. They have allowed the voice of one disgruntled student to change the course of thousands of students who may miss out on Jon Greenberg’s brilliant teaching of Courageous Conversations. Where is the justice in that decision?
–Barbara Radford, Seattle
March 25, 2013 at 6:29 AM
Seattle Public Schools and the city need to take a clear stand
Teacher Jon Greenberg challenges on Seattle Public Schools to decide whether or not it is against racism in our public schools [“We shouldn’t be afraid to have Courageous Conversations,” Opinion, March 21]. His call should also wake up our city.
We pride ourselves on our progressive politics, and in some important ways we are progressive, but there are too many indications that our city is often racist and classist: Our police force is again being investigated for excessive force, often coupled with racial discrimination; though we brag about our racially diverse ZIP code, our city — and therefore our schools — is largely racially and socioeconomically segregated; our school district has been accused of racial discrimination in its disciplinary practices; the court found our state guilty of unconstitutionally underfunding schools; and we have a regressive tax system.
The school district is wrong and needs to take a courageous stand against racism and for critical thinking, but the district answers to the city, and those of us in the city need to take a clear stand, too.
–Mary Edwards, Seattle
March 22, 2013 at 3:47 PM
Foster parenting has specific challenges
I would like to respond to a letter to the editor titled “Foster children should not receive exceptions,” [Northwest Voices, March 18] that was written in response to an op-ed headlined “Allow kids in foster care to age 21” [Opinion, March 15].
I would like to point out that being a foster parent is incredibly difficult, even without financial support. Foster families are not just “any family.” Foster parenting is filled with challenges and opportunities. It can be challenging to parent children with difficult histories. Being a foster parent is an opportunity to take care of children who benefit greatly from love and support. Foster parents change lives one child at a time. They believe in investing in the future of disadvantaged kids living in Washington state.
I hope this helps clarify questions or confusion surrounding this important social-injustice issue.
–Ed Boyle, Seattle
Extending foster care is a moral obligation
As a foster parent to two boys, ages 9 and 14, I wholeheartedly endorse the ongoing effort to extend foster care to age 21 for youth who need it most.
Foster children are under the legal custody of the state. My role as a foster parent is to provide shelter, care and support to those placed into my home, while the state seeks a permanent placement. I do not do this for the money; in fact I spend thousands out of pocket every year to support the needs of the foster children under my care. I do it gladly because these children deserve a safe and stable home.
However, when the state’s obligation to these youth ends at age 18, I lose more than just the payments — foster youth lose the support services that help address any special needs they may have. Most foster families simply can’t afford to keep these kids, as much as they would like to help.
Giving foster youth a chance to succeed by extending foster care to 21 is not just a sound investment, it is also our moral obligation to them.
–Yossi Banai, foster parent and a Mockingbird Society board member, Redmond
March 21, 2013 at 4:37 PM
Reality suggests children will not live better in the future
There’s no way that American kids born in 21st century will live materially better than their parents [“Cheer up, young workers, the future isn’t so bleak,” Opinion, March 20].
The American prosperity of 20th century was a quirk, an anomaly that had been built upon two world wars and nonexistence of any economic competition. Many countries that squeeze USA out in present world trade hadn’t existed as sovereign a century ago.
The only way that will allow our kids to be on the top of the world is to be smarter and more educated than children in other countries, and according to results of international exams for school graduates in science and in math — it is not a reality.
–Michael Velikin, Kennmore
March 20, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Today’s students, teachers don’t want to work
Somewhere along the line “public school” became “education.” In this transformation the old “public school” readin’, ’ritin’ and ’rithmetic taught in the form of math facts, grammar, civics, Latin, sentence diagraming, geography, etc., were eliminated. They were eliminated because they required work to learn and work to teach. They could not be turned into fun.
All learning in the new “education” system must be fun and must be done with a calculator and a computer. The teachers must not have any work to do either, such as correcting papers after school.
American students are pretty much at the bottom of most international test scores. However, when asked, they think they are the best.
Is it any wonder that students do not have success in online classes if they are required to actually do some work and learn something [“Online classes could widen achievement gap, study shows,” NWSunday, March 17]? And, after all, no one has “to do that” any more as government will do it all for them.
What amazes me is that we have to spend money on studies to figure this all out.
–Joyce Kormanyos, Sammamish
March 19, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Security measure distracts from real issue
Now that the “feel good” photo ops are over, perhaps the Snohomish County sheriff can quantify how six deputies are going to effectively patrol 2,000 square miles, and more than 100 schools [“Some Snohomish County schools to get extra security,” NWSaturday, March 16]?
I doubt the response time to any incident will be any better than it would be under the sheriff’s regular services.
This is just a distraction from one of the real issues that might help stop some of the violence: And that is getting our state Legislature to require universal background checks for all gun sales. Independent polls show the majority of voters in this state support universal background checks, an idea that has again been shelved by our current crop of legislators.
Sandy Hook was an act of random violence. You can try all you want but we can’t be protected from random violence, but we can limit who has access to the weapons used with universal background checks.
–Roberta MacKinnon, Seattle
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