Name withheld by request
via Internet

Minorities + Vouchers = Learning
Your articles are an outstanding public service. I've spoken to parents who tell me that public school is too hard. Yet, as you point out, the questions are often simple arithmetic. Even my prekindergarten five-year-old can calculate 5-2 = 3. Will it take him another 13 years to learn that 32-8 = 24?

The poor, many of whom are minority, suffer the most from the lie that our children are being educated. The rich already send their kids to private school.

For all those who argue against a voucher system, how could we do any worse? The most logical approach would be for HISD to rent space in public school buildings to private schools.

John Flato
via Internet

Paige Boys
Thank you for your article about Don McAdams [Insider, by Tim Fleck, March 4]. It put into rather chilling words the atmosphere I've sensed around the district for some time now. My gut feeling has been that a small cadre of people (primarily McAdams, Cathy Mincberg, Terry Abbott, Harold Hooks, Al Haines and Rob Mosbacher) have been running the district as they -- and only they -- see fit.

The policy of board approval of administrative appointments was changed to give Paige total power to appoint and set salaries. A few minority board members cried foul, but I'm told they were strong-armed pretty good by the downtown types.

The biggest spoils of today's HISD's self-interest, politics and cronyism go to corporate "partners" which make big bucks off district contracts and provide service that is not only more expensive but also less efficient.

People in high places who think they have all the answers to impose on everyone are not just patronizing snobs, they are ultimately scary and very dangerous.

Not that your shedding light or my venting will change anything, particularly with Paige's new contract and board members simply falling all over themselves to praise him as the best superintendent since, well, ever.

Name withheld by request
via Internet

Out of Bounds
Don McAdams may have been bluntly correct when he suggested that, under the current districting plans, many local politicians have "a political incentive to champion ethnic interests."

The HISD district boundaries are distorted by the effort to corral Hispanics into separate districts from blacks and to keep whites out of minority districts. White folks in Lazybrook and northwest Houston are linked to a white district centered on River Oaks and Memorial. Blacks in Acres Homes are linked over to join blacks in Fifth Ward, thus avoiding Hispanics on the north side. This is precisely the sort of racial representation that the Supreme Court has recently criticized.

Douglas E. Markham
via Internet

Hand Over the Keys
Very good article on the Internet campaign-finance reports (or lack thereof) ["Contributing Factors," by Stuart Eskenazi, March 11]. You guys are definitely hitting the hot button! Expansion of this material could lead to Pulitzer Prizus Majoris.

But you totally missed the point in the Judge Eckels speech [Insider, by Tim Fleck, March 4]. For once in the entire political history of this city, someone (the county judge, no less) has the courage to speak up about campaign-finance criticism. And all the media gives is time to the wannabes who help perpetuate this bogus system.

You can do better than that. You're supposed to be the freedom-fighting brigade.

This guy you have, Richard Connelly, is he a breakthrough journalist or what? Whatever you are paying him, you need to double it immediately. A new car might also help him to concentrate better.

When I pick up my Houston Press, his column will be the first page I turn to (right after I read This Modern World).

Kel Roberts

Sorry State
Regarding your article on Chris Boone ["Fire Alarm," by Wendy Grossman, March 18], just wanted to commend you and the Press for exposing Mr. Boone's employer as a bigot. His defense of Mr. Boone's experiences was laughable at best. Just another intolerant good ol' boy in a state full of the same. We need a lot more people like Chris Boone and a lot fewer people like his boss.

Jennifer B. Hoff
via Internet

Boone Backer
I salute Mr. Boone for his courage in standing up to some ignorant people in Houston. When will we learn that sexual orientation, religion and gender do not matter on the job?

Please keep your morale up, Mr. Boone. Not everyone is like these people.
Nora Cantrell
via Internet

Make It the Law
Thanks to Wendy Grossman for her well-written article on sexual harassment.
Unfortunately, as a board member of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, I'm not shocked by such allegations. The NGLTF hears every day from innocent people who have been harassed on the job and in many cases fired only because of their sexual identity. Chris Boone's horrible experience is yet another example of why the work of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is so important. It also illustrates why we need hate-crime laws as well as civil-rights laws that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual identity.

We've come a long way as a society, and we obviously have a long way to go to achieve freedom, justice and equality for all people. Thanks to the Houston Press for continuing to point that out.

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