Letters to the Editor, April 8

Apr. 07, 2014 @ 01:01 PM

Response on Head Start

The North Carolina Fund was to create projects to address education, health, job training, housing and community development.  It established Operation Breakthrough (OBT),Inc. as an agency to carry out that mission in Durham.  Neighborhood Youth Corp (NYC) was the first program.  In summer of 1965, Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) launched the eight-week Project Head Start.  In 1969, Head Start transferred to the Office of Child Development (now Office of Head Start), U. S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare (DHEW), now Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

OBT has weathered its share of issues with other programs funded through OEO; however, Head Start has consistently delivered outstanding services to children and their families.

Regarding ratings, child care centers meeting voluntarily higher standards receive 2 to 5 license stars from the North Carolina Licensing Assessment Project.  For many years, two Head Start centers had five-star ratings; the others rated four stars, well above average.  In January 2013, Terry David accepted the Head Start director's reins and accepted the challenge to have all centers at five stars.  With a supportive staff, the program reached that pinnacle of excellence within one year.  Kudos to Mr. David, his staff and the Head Start Policy Council for this fruitful, collaborative effort. 

Finally, an enhancing male involvement program is well underway.  A staff person, recently re-assigned as the coordinator, met the challenge of getting more males involved with unparalleled willingness and excitement.  Success and more involvement are not only expected, but inevitable.

Gwyn Silver

Durham

Stale White House

These are not good times when the United States has Barack Obama in the White House, who is a constant photo op and has no vision for the country.

The country is stagnant and needs new thinking in the stale White House. Got air freshner? 

Lee Stem

Durham

Oligarchy, not democracy

It’s finally spring! Like daffodils and dogwood, campaign yard signs are sprouting throughout the Piedmont. Once again, we are being bombarded with political advertising for candidates who will be making life-and-death decisions for us for years to come.

But who will those politicians truly represent?

In 2010, five conservative Supreme Court justices ruled that corporations could spend enormous amounts of money supporting candidates who favored business interests. Once elected, those politicians lost no time in passing legislation that put profit before the needs of the people. They reversed previously enacted laws and ended previously successful programs that protected our health and safety, our jobs and our environment, with callous disregard for the people they were elected to serve.

With the McCutcheon decision of April 1st, those same five justices now have ruled that individuals, like corporations, may finance campaigns without limit. That means one wealthy individual donating $3 million will have the same political clout as 300,000 people donating $10 each.

This is not “one-man, one-vote” democracy. It’s oligarchy. But there are things we can do to restore our political power. By moving our money from banks into local credit unions, by building community-based solar and wind power plants and by shopping only at locally owned shops and farmers’ markets, we can stop supporting the profiteers who are buying our elections. At the same time, we’d be building more economically resilient and environmentally healthy communities.

And, most importantly, we still can vote out politicians who fail to serve us.

Vicki Ryder

Durham