Public schools are under attack in U.S.

Free public schools, once America's pride, are under the same attack from big money conservatives as is the government. The effort to defund schools was spearheaded by the racist John Birch Society during the 1960s, while the business round table led the charge to privatize schools through the Clinton/Bush/Obama eras. These groups have the same goals: eliminate all sources of leftist support; eliminate teacher unions.

Our children are now not globally competitive, and America is below average on international tests. The tea party has, for the moment, succeeded in its effort in shutting down the government. Our public schools hang on by only a thread.

Without enough money, education does not happen. Without an educated public, democracy fails. We need our best minds. We've done enough testing. The results are in. Such conservative programs as No Child Left Behind and vouchers have cheated us all.

First: Reduce teacher workload and fund small classes. Any further effective reforms without willing teachers with enough time and energy to implement them just won't happen. Ask any teacher.

James M. LeCuyer

Fremont

Turnabout should be fair play in Congress

We may deplore the cynicism of the tea party shutting down the government to deny millions of people basic health care.


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But it's time to step back and look at the tactic itself. We don't like it because it runs counter to the collegial traditions in the House and Senate. But it is legal what they're doing.

It's a kind of civil disobedience, isn't it? Suppose anti-war liberals had exercised this option in opposing the Vietnam War. Suppose Tip O'Neill had told Reagan: We'll raise the debt ceiling if you stop aiding the Contras in Nicaragua.

Maybe the tea party is onto something. If they get any concession at all out of this brinkmanship, then I think the left should seriously consider that turnabout is fair play. The Keystone pipeline? Sorry, we won't vote to fund the government unless that's taken off the table. The next Wall Street bailout? I don't think so.

Henry Hitz

Oakland

Sign up for insurance over the phone

A recent letter writer incorrectly states that the new Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, requires that you get online to sign up for health insurance.

That is false information. The toll-free number to apply for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, or Covered California, is 800-300-1506.

All you have to do is call and apply. Very easy.

Bernadine Temple

Hayward

Treason acts seem to be comparable

How 'bout posing the question: "Why are not the moronic antics of the GOP every bit as treasonous to the American people as those attributed to NSA/CIA former analyst Edward Snowden, and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange?"

Dave Cardana

San Leandro

Let's do a better job of paying teachers

We should feel ashamed. The Castro Valley school board met recently to discuss teachers' pay; 125 teachers showed up.

One teacher told how her family could no longer afford to live in Castro Valley. After raising their children there, they are now forced to sell their home and rent elsewhere.

A second teacher, a single mother, told of no longer being able to pay the rent in Castro Valley. She, too, must move.

A third teacher recently advised her daughter not to become a teacher because it is too difficult to raise a family on a teacher's salary. She regretted most never having complained to the school board.

A fourth teacher described his many years of service, teaching, coaching and helping with drama productions, before a serious illness exposed his family's vulnerability. They had no health insurance because they couldn't afford the teachers' health care plan.

As a nation, we set the rules. Do we value our children, education and health care for all, or ridiculously low taxes for the very rich?

Jon Peterson

Albany