Letters to the Editor – Southwest Airlines, Global Partnership for Education, STAAR testing, air purifiers, Doak Walker, the homeless in Dallas

Mandate testing and safety

Re: “Southwest CEO argues against testing — Placing requirement on domestic travelers would cripple airlines, he says,” Thursday Metro & Business story.

This letter is regarding Gary Kelly’s letter to the White House opposing COVID-19 testing requirements for flying within the United States following the new Biden administration’s restrictions on international travel. I am one of the “millions of people (business travelers) whose livelihoods depend on a stable air travel industry” and I along with millions of others will not be traveling by air until COVID-19 testing requirements and other safety precautions are in place.

Until such time as a safety and testing mandate is in place, I believe that in Kelly’s words, the airlines will find it “costly, and have serious unintended consequences” for the airline industry.

Gary L. Kudrna, Ennis

Safeguard education opportunities

The News’ Education Lab reported that our students are behind across the board. I’m troubled hearing that, but I’m also grateful they can even go to school.

COVID-19 could cause the number of children who aren’t in school to surge from 250 million to 825 million. And as everyone knows, no school means no opportunities.

The Global Partnership for Education is a good place to start safeguarding these opportunities. GPE’s 20 years expanding educational access has brought 160 million children to school — many of them in countries struggling with conflict or fragility — and saved $6 billion in educational spending by addressing systemic inefficiencies.

Millions of futures are at stake, and the cost of failure is too high.

So I ask Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, and Rep. Beth Van Duyne to support a strong pledge from the United States at the GPE Replenishment Summit in July 2021.

Hwa Young Lee, Carrollton

STAAR tests would be a waste

Re: “Lawmakers seek policy for STAAR — Letter requests formal way for remote learners to skip mandated test,” Wednesday Metro & Business story.

State Education Commissioner Mike Morath refuses to waive all of the STAAR tests because he thinks “It is vital to find out which areas the students are struggling in so we can direct resources to help them recover from losses in those areas.”

Why not start with math and reading, since those are the two areas that require passing grades to advance to the next grade? Common sense says that giving the STAAR tests after all that has happened would be a huge waste of time, effort and especially our tax dollars.

Students have had to endure fear of the virus, many have lost parents or grandparents because of the virus, and now the weather has changed for the worse, with warnings of ice and extremely low temperatures.

Our hope is that Morath will reconsider, and listen to the lawmakers who are asking him to waive all of the STAAR exams the same way he did in the 2019-20 school year.

Howard Logan Casada, Duncanville

Hypocrisy in Austin

Re: ”A cool mil to clean air at the Capitol?” by Dave Lieber, Feb. 7 Metro column.

Lawmakers in Austin have spent over $1 million to put an air purifier system in all their offices, hearing rooms, conference rooms and Senate chambers. My guess is the majority of them have also been vaccinated.

Yet, Gov. Greg Abbott doesn’t feel the need to take the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and put teachers higher on the list for vaccinations. How many lawmakers are sitting in a room for seven hours a day with 30 children and no air filter system or provided personal protective equipment?

My guess would be zero. They want the schools open, but yet offer no safety measures (vaccinations, air filter systems) with which to do so. What a bunch of hypocrites.

Audrey Pincu, Far North Dallas

Don’t forget Doak Walker

Re: ”The Kid & the GOATS — Mahomes starts off quickly in bid to join elite circle of Texas legends,” by Kevin Sherrington, Feb. 7 SportsDay column.

Sherrington’s column about Texas’ best football players was terrific. However, he left off Doak Walker. The Doaker led Southern Methodist University to the next level, which led SMU to move home games to the Cotton Bowl.

The plaque on the Cotton Bowl reads “The Cotton Bowl, the House that Doak Built.” He was a sophomore when he won the Maxwell Trophy and a junior when he won the Heisman Trophy.

He was admitted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame after only six years with the Detroit Lions as a running back, punt returner and extra-point kicker. After nearly 70 years, Walker still holds third place for scoring for the Lions. The best college running back award is named after him. He was a hero to a lot of kids (me included) around these parts a long time after he retired. Just sayin’!

Barry Rothschild, Dallas

Don’t criminalize homelessness

Re: ”No longer home for homeless — City says camp violates code, begins relocating residents,” Feb. 6 news story.

So Dallas is still trying to criminalize or at least stigmatize homelessness and punish it by trashing the camps of homeless people, throwing their belongings and tents away, and then not having any place to offer them that will provide at least semipermanent homes where they and their belongings and pets will be safe. Sometimes a pet may be the last shred of hope that a homeless person holds onto.

A tent may be a castle to a homeless person. A personal book, photograph or garment may be the last remnant of a former life that has been cruelly shattered. So Dallas throws it over a fence, or tosses it into a garbage truck, or takes the pet to a shelter, or makes rules for city shelters or housing that many cannot meet. This is completely unacceptable.

But I forgot, didn’t I? People in our fair city don’t like to look at poor people. In fact, they will do almost anything to keep from seeing the poor among us, especially those who are homeless. Sometimes these homeless encampments work very well. Trashing them is not the answer.

Ellen Childress, East Dallas

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