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None February 5th, 2013

The larger fallacy John Thompson (Commentary, “The fallacy of test-driven school reform, Jan. 16, Oklahoma Gazette) fails to recognize is the fallacy of centrally planned and administered education. MAPS for Kids has been a total failure, as schools are not buildings. The only obvious beneficiaries are the government contractors who built the buildings.

Oklahoma Gazette provides an open forum for the discussion of all points of view in its Letters to the Editor section. The Gazette reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity. Letters can be mailed, faxed, emailed to pbacharach@ okgazette.com or sent online at okgazette.com, but include a city of residence and contact number for verification.

School choice is the answer

The larger fallacy John Thompson (Commentary, “The fallacy of test-driven school reform, Jan. 16, Oklahoma Gazette) fails to recognize is the fallacy of centrally planned and administered education. MAPS for Kids has been a total failure, as schools are not buildings. The only obvious beneficiaries are the government contractors who built the buildings.

You say these schools serve intense concentrations of poverty and trauma. A primary cause of such concentrations of poverty and trauma has been our public city schools. That is what happens when generation after generation of caring parents escape to the suburbs as fast as possible because well-intentioned liberals like yourself refuse them the choice of where their child should be educated.

Who is left behind? Those who reject educational choice shoulder much of the blame for the decay of our inner city and associated suburban sprawl.

Best practices are only replicated when bad schools are allowed to fail and successful schools are allowed to prosper. The only avenue for this to occur is by school choice. This is no different from any other aspect of our economy. For a society founded around freedom of choice and voluntary association, it is ironic that our school system is about the most communistic in the Western world.

I only hope the “Great School Wars” have just begun. May the elitist disdain for parent’s ability to choose the best school for their child be defeated by a respect for their ability to choose the best school for their child. Mr. Thompson, I know you are well-intentioned, but like No Child Left Behind, your “updated terminology” and vague platitudes do us no good.

—Matthew Trimble Oklahoma City

The biggest problem with guns

I have spent much of the last 75 years in both military and civilian service under arms. I was born and grew up in rural Oklahoma, where I learned that firearms were tools, not toys or status symbols.

The letter from Vance Armor (”Beware a well-armed government, Jan. 16, Gazette) indicates that he learned neither of those lessons, nor the ones taught in what was once called “civics.”

I served on the committee for examining the “active shooter” issue for the American College of Forensic Examiners. Our conclusion was that the greatest problem we have with firearms is the growing number of radical anarchists who see every effort to bring sanity to protecting constitutional rights regarding firearms as an attempt to marginalize civil rights and weaken the ability of citizens to control their government. This attitude stems mainly from the lack of real-world experience of these people, most of whom either ducked military service or were found unfit to serve.

Anyone who has actually been in combat will tell you that the first lesson is to respect firearms and the consequences of misuse or poor control. They will also tell you that the oath to defend the Constitution does not extend to mistreating the citizenry. I believe there would be mass desertions and riots if anyone tried to force the military to turn on the citizens.

On the broad issue of control of access to firearms, I believe that those who preach absolute freedom to “keep and bear arms” are ignorant of the actual meaning of the decisions reached by the U.S.

Supreme Court on Second Amendment rights. You can keep your guns so long as you obey the laws intended to protect the welfare of the rest of us. Mr. Armor’s avowed nihilism and anarchic rhetoric gives me pause.

—Thomas Baines Oklahoma City

 
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