Letters to the Editor

03/09 – What you’re saying: Sean Kurz, Suzie Diamond, Rebecca Burmester, Paul Blank, Youmna Elkamhawy, Michael Whittingham

Cursive? Really?

Re: “Cursive writing makes a comeback in NC,” March 2:

Growing up in the North Carolina public school system, I learned cursive starting in third grade. Since then, I have only used it to sign my name at the end of a cover letter.

Representative Hurley is pushing classrooms to teach cursive handwriting on a regular basis so that students can “create readable documents by the end of fifth grade.” Representative Hurley has placed importance on cursive, as well as other aspects of this “Back to the Basics” law. I found myself disappointed that North Carolina public education is pushing students to go back to the basics.

Is it important to know cursive so you can sign your name on documents? Yes. Is it important to know cursive so you can read handwritten letters from your grandma? Absolutely. But is cursive something that the youth are going to need in the next five years? Not really.

The fact is: Our world is becoming more and more digital. Young students are typing more than writing as computers are becoming more widely used in classrooms. Instead of placing emphasis on going “Back to the Basics,” we should be looking forward to the future. Students should be learning to type faster, use the Internet, and improve overall technological competency.

Students in the state of North Carolina need to be armed with the tools to succeed in the job market, and this can be achieved with a more forward-thinking public education system.

Sean Kurz

Chapel Hill

Discerning fact from fiction

The use of media to spread news is extremely beneficial to a lot of people. However I continue to be shocked by the number of people who are unable to tell a reliable source from an unreliable one and who make themselves susceptible to incorrect and biased information simply because they agree with the concept.

The fact that so many people are unable to tell fact from fiction is extremely worrying. In the United States especially, when citizens play such a major part in the appointment of government officials, it is more important than ever that people learn the difference between true and false, as well as the importance of listening to those with differing opinions.

Suzie Diamond

Chapel Hill

Bad public policy

What are the poor to do? I see that President Trump's new budget is a retread of bad ideas and misguided priorities that most of America strongly opposes. As predicted, his budget would finance his massive tax cut on the backs of ordinary American families who just want to make ends meet each month.

Last year we saw repeated attempts to gut essential programs like Medicaid and SNAP (formerly Food Stamps). And now after giving away $1.5 trillion in tax breaks to millionaires, President Trump and some leaders in Congress want to put these critical basic assistance programs back on the chopping block with cuts, time limits, and restructuring. With 40 million Americans living below the poverty line, this is both bad public policy and just plain wrong.

I urge our members of Congress to make it clear to the President and congressional leadership that they won't stand for any attempt to unravel anti-poverty programs.

Rebecca Burmester


Shocked and disheartened

All of us who rely on the local news as a monitor on morality have borne witness to the fault lines in our great nation. Core values, common decency, and social mores have been set spinning. The causes – multitudinous and complex – demonstrate divisions not seen since the Civil War.

A while before the sexual-harassment allegation epidemic instancing another fracture in our American solidarity became daily news, I, a male patient, experienced sexual harassment by a female employee at a regional hospital in the western Carolina mountains. What was yelled at me and the actions following, without any provocation, constituted assault, premeditated discrimination, infliction of intentional pain and suffering, and sexual harassment. At the top of her lungs, in a waiting room full of patients, this employee screamed out at me, “You are a male, sexist chauvinist pig!” Within one minute hospital security was compelling me to depart.

The party was deaf to my physical suffering and assumed that I was responsible as patient where the power lay with the employee. Now these were “fighting words,” not only not heard in a bar, but in a small subsidiary hospital of a nationally top ranked North Carolina health system in a western North Carolina mountain town – utterly unbelievable! Required to immediately depart, I left physically suffering, slandered, humiliated, and in a state of shock and profound disheartenment. Needless to say my attempts to obtain an apology were ignored to the top of the leadership of this hospital and its associated health system.

My purpose to the public is not to grieve before it, but to cite it as an example of how terribly torn we are as a society, as a culture, as a people, and as a country. Fragmented, fractured, and in chaos, I hope and pray that we can mend our ways before the patterns in motion overwhelm us.

Paul Blank

Franklin, N.C.

Not who we are

Just like last year, the White House has released a national budget proposal that drastically slashes foreign aid. What does this money do? For starters: it ensures that millions of people get treatment for tuberculosis, which is currently the world's biggest infectious killer. It helps babies get the medical care and nutrition they need to grow into healthy kids. It gives girls a chance to go to school.

Cutting these programs denies millions of people a future. This is not who we are. Congress knows it, which is why they fought back last year to stop the proposed cuts. They must do the same now.

Youmna Elkamhawy


A fatherless society

While many are saying the solutions to our recent mass shootings are complex, the Bible overstates the obvious in simple verse. In Isaiah 3:12 it is written; "Oh my people, their oppressors are children, and women rule over them.”

We are on the same destructive path as every civilization that has preceded us, a fatherless society.

Michael Whittingham


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