Fight to close digital divide is not over

It would be a tremendous disservice to Oakland students if the recent experience described at Oakland Military Institute sent teachers scurrying back to the chalkboard.

The affordability and convenience of classes over the Internet, not to mention the ability for low-income high school students to gain college credit with online help at their fingertips, make e-learning an ideal vehicle for overcoming the digital and economic divide.

That some students cannot complete classwork because they lack high-speed Internet at home is a shame. But here is the good news: Virtually every child in the Oakland Unified School District is eligible for discounted, in some cases even free, broadband at home.

Check out Comcast's Internet Essentials program or a new offer from FreedomPop for 4G Internet service by going to www.connect2compete.com, a national nonprofit committed to helping everyone harness the transformational power of the Internet.

Right here in Oakland, since 1999, OTX West has provided more than 10,000 computers to Oakland public school families free of charge and another 10,000 to public school classrooms and community computer labs.

Like any new venture, there may be bumps in the road, but that is no excuse to leave low-income first-generation college hopefuls without online access to college classes, especially when Internet at home can be so affordable.


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Luis Arteaga

Director of emerging markets California Emerging Technology Fund San Francisco

Principal turned city into a laughingstock

Charles Hill, principal of Strobridge Elementary School, will have to pry my toy squirt gun from my cold, dead hands.

I thank him for turning my city into the laughingstock of America. By the way, will Hill accept Pop Tarts chewed into the shape of a gun as well?

Margie Nagel

Hayward

Animal cruelty should not go unpunished

I am sorry to see this matter disappear from the news. Where is the outrage over the piece of filth who beat, tortured and starved the poor German shepherd to her death in Oakland?

We must keep pressure on the police to identify and arrest this despicable person, and not let this crime disappear because "it is only a dog."

A man who would do this to a helpless animal should not be allowed to remain free in a decent society, and the police should use every resource to find and remove him.

Please don't let this victim be overlooked and forgotten.

Frank Mansfield

Walnut Creek

Berkeley's library needs better control

It is apparent that the Berkeley Public Library is not just about books anymore. There are no controls on self-checkout.

Along with the computer expansion, the library is not taking into account the concerns of parents and others for youngsters. People under 18 are welcome to check out DVDs that are rated R, NC 17 (no one under 17 allowed) and explicit content.

The library card has the power to exclude adults from computers meant for youngsters, so they could exclude youngsters from checking out adult material meant for adults only.

When the library carried Playboy magazine, a library assistant told me how embarrassing it was for her to hand over copies to teenage boys (when they couldn't even buy them in stores).

Employees have heart, soul, and moral standards, whereas the library, being an institution, does not. The community as a whole must do something. Individual complaints do not work. Freedom of speech can exist in conjunction with moral responsibility.

Thomas Lynch

Berkeley

Spend our tax dollars wisely

Passage of the utility user tax increase in Hercules was something badly needed.

As a result, we can now keep our police department and not contract with the county. Response time with the sheriff's office would be a disaster.

Hopefully, the city will utilize the money for the purpose citizens voted for. Too many times this is not the case. Citizens of this city and other cities cannot afford to continue to vote for tax increases.

We hope the powers-that-be will utilize our tax dollars well; we will be watching. And don't even think of any additional taxes.

Marilyn Cramlett

Hercules