Governor must wise up about education

With his latest budget, Gov. Jerry Brown overlooked early education once again. In his budget revision, he allocated no new money for child care and preschool programs, focusing instead on saving surplus money in a rainy-day fund.

Doesn't he understand that the education of our littlest learners is the best future investment we can make?

Economists estimate that every dollar invested in early education generates a $7 return on investment. And that's because high-quality preschool programs have been shown to increase graduation rates and save taxpayer dollars on remediation, public assistance and criminal justice.

Right now, only about half of 3- and 4-year-old children in California are even enrolled in preschool programs. It's time for Brown to wise up and start making the investments that are critical for the future success of our children and our state.

Jason Pfeifle

State director California Fair Share Oakland

Religious schools can make demands

This is regarding the protests of Catholics invoking the morals clause for teachers. Rep. Nancy Skinner would do well to review some of the Supreme Court decisions both at the state and federal levels on the First Amendment regarding the hiring decisions of religious schools.

Where teachers are considered ministers, the government has much less oversight. I am not an attorney, but Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC seems pretty relevant. There are many other Supreme Court decisions that strengthen religious autonomy, even concerning animal sacrifice during certain Caribbean religious ceremonies.

Also, as a Catholic, I have never heard Pope Francis speak specifically on hiring criteria.

Joe Loduca

Piedmont

Alma mater's action very embarrassing

As an alumna of Bishop O'Dowd High School -- class of 1964 -- I am offended and embarrassed that the school is requiring teachers to sign a contract with a new morality clause for next year.

Members of my extended family have been enrolled at O'Dowd from its founding in the 1950s to the present day. We teach our children to be independent thinkers and respectful of the diversity that is the human race. A good many of us are teachers, and every one of us has integrity.

I can't imagine that any of us would accept such a clause.

By narrowly defining what is personally moral as dictated by a hierarchy with little to no experience in adult family life is insulting and certainly not found in the teaching of Jesus Christ. Can't the bishop see that the obsession with all things sexual is making the church look ridiculous?

Marjorie Matthews

San Jose

Catholic Church is shooting itself in foot

I have supported both an Oakland Catholic middle school and Bishop O'Dowd High School by my children's attendance.

The protest against the "faith and morals" clause in the current teachers' contract written by the Catholic Diocese of Oakland goes much deeper than a small group of parents at Bishop O'Dowd High School.

Teenagers at Catholic high schools are having sex with each other. Solid statistics produced by competent research methods indicate that American children are having sex with each other at tragically young ages.

Teenagers must be educated by professionals who are able to openly acknowledge this fact, to each other and to the students. High school and middle school students must be educated about the risks and dangers of sex by tolerant, open-minded teachers.

The Catholic church's position on homosexuality would be laughable, if it were not so dangerous. Society and the Catholic church will move forward in a healthy and productive manner by openly acknowledging the world we live in.

Diversity is celebrated in Oakland; our local Catholic diocese must do the same.

An institution as powerful as the Catholic church is shooting itself in the foot with the current faith and morals clause in the teacher's employment contract.

Elizabeth Preston

Oakland

Stranger's kindness is much appreciated

This is a very heartfelt letter of thanks to a beautiful stranger.

On May 3, we were having a very late breakfast at La Pinata Restaurant on Paseo Padre in Fremont. My husband was wearing his World War II cap. When we sat down, he placed his cap on the table beside him.

Toward the end of the meal, a waiter came and mumbled something and gestured toward our back. He walked off, and we did not pay much mind. Then, when we asked another waiter we are familiar with to bring us our bill, he told us a woman who was sitting behind us had paid for our breakfasts.

I wanted to thank her, but she was gone.

If she or her friends read this letter, we want her to know she made our day. That unexpected act of kindness brought tears to my eyes. They were tears of appreciation and joy. May the Lord bless you a hundredfold.

Mary Tovar

Fremont