Letters to the editor

Jul. 03, 2013 @ 02:09 PM

Exercise your right to know

This Independence Day marks 47 years since the landmark Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was signed into federal law – yet Americans are still distrustful of government.  A 2013 Pew Research Center poll showed that only 26 percent of Americans surveyed say they can trust government in Washington "almost always or most of the time" — among the lowest ratings in the half-century since pollsters have been asking the question.

FOIA established our right to access government records and to know what our government is doing – both its successes and failures.  Exercising our right to know gives us – the public – power.  It allows us to contribute to our government and hold government accountable.  From food and transportation safety to the use and disposal of chemicals, FOIA has enabled the public to ensure the health of our democracy and our own well-being.

FOIA (and related state and local laws) are only as good as we demand they be. For decades, members of the League of Women Voters have acted as government watchdogs at the federal, state and local levels -- observing government meetings, conducting document audits and empowering citizens, but more work needs to be done.

The key to a healthy, open and trusted government is public participation.  This FOIA anniversary, exercise your right to know by attending a government meeting, contacting an elected official or visiting a government website. Join your local League of Women Voters to continue a legacy of volunteer work to empower citizens and encourage voter participation.

Brenda Hyde Rogers

Chapel Hill

President, League of Women Voters—Orange, Durham and Chatham Counties

More research on single-gender

Your editorial Monday was right on target regarding Frederick Davis' attempt at an end run around Superintendent Eric  Becoats.

Although Becoats had shared his compromise with all members of the Board of Education before the meeting, this compromise was not available to those of us in attendance. 

It came after a very bad start with faulty research.  Of the two schools offered as examples of success, one, in Wake County, had been open less then a year and focused on two middle school grades and one high school grade. The second, in Dayton, Ohio, teaches elementary and middle school children.   I actually visited this school the first week of June on my way to my reunion at Antioch College.

Its test results are only slightly better then other schools in the Dayton school system but far below Ohio state results.

I support the need for more research.  Most children who perform poorly in school do not do enough reading, homework and/or classroom work. They pick up poor study habits before they reach middle school. 

We must target children much sooner then their first year of high school.  The superintendent's revised plan deserves full consideration.  We need to find a suitable building, include costs for start-up in the school budget and train teachers on the pedagogy needed for teaching male and female students in separate classrooms.  What are the plans for band, sports and the infrastructure required for all these students to know they are part of One Vision One Durham?

Allan Lang

Durham

Mistake on Nov. 6

I urge all to read George Will’s June 23 letter on obummer hits a wall in Berlin. It is good and true, of course..

A mistake was made last Nov. 6.

Lee Stem

Durham