Online readers comment on "Efficiencies," by Margaret Downing, April 14:
Teach job skills: Unfortunately, the public school system has mostly turned away from teaching real-life job skills and instead is intent on preparing every student for college. The fact is, not every student is going to college, or for that matter should go to college. Schools used to teach young people life skills that would prepare them to either go off to college or enter a skilled trade where they can make a decent living. Without a high school diploma, trade skills or college, you may end up working for Walmart. Good for Walmart, but bad for our young people and bad for our country.
A success story: I am the parent of a graduate of Barbara Jordan High School. I sent my daughter there because she wanted to become a licensed hair stylist. Upon graduation from there, she had passed her state exam, and she became a licensed beautician. She is now a successful entrepreneur who owns her own shop and has several people renting booths from her. She was not college material — I knew that when she enrolled. But she loved the COSMO crew there, and her story and those of several of her classmates are stories of success.
I have a niece who is now a junior there, and based on her comments about the new principal, Mrs. Schur, the school is doomed! I understand that the woman is inexperienced. But it is being said that there is no longer any "school spirit" and both teachers and students are extremely unhappy with the current administration.
Produce: Twenty-first-century thinking is exactly why we are in the fix we are today. We have become a nation of consumers rather than producers. No more steel, auto or textile manufacturing. A country of high-tech services — no production.
Balancing the budget: Let me see if I have this straight. The principal wants to replace a program that gives kids outdated skills with programs that require more valuable technological skills, and somehow that's a tragedy? The instructor seems like a good man who is beloved by his students, but frankly, that's not good enough.
I'd love to see schools offer a variety of programs, but the sad truth is the state budget cuts are forcing principals to cut their budgets. If not this program, then what? If people want to save the body shop program, they need to have suggestions for what else to get rid of. It's easy to say this program shouldn't be cut, but what else would you have the principal do? Everyone crying for this program should be asking themselves if they'd pay higher taxes to keep it.
A volunteer: I will gladly pay more taxes. Probably cost me an extra $100 a year, right? I can swing it!
What a pity: Here we have inner-city kids preferring to incorporate their innate artistic talent with technological skills to create award-winning automotive collision design/repair. Utilizing their heads, hearts and hands to create amazing art pieces, these youths should merit public recognition and respect. Instead, the HISD feels compelled to extinguish their burning desire to complete this vocational program and perhaps gain a foothold in creating a prosperous future for themselves and their families.
No electives: They should do away will all elective programs. Spend the money on better teachers, to emphasize math and science. If the kids want to obtain a trade, let them sign up for trade school with diploma in hand.
Online readers comment on "Underground Footage from a Texas Dairy Farm (Not for the Weak of Stomach)," Hair Balls blog, by Craig Malisow, April 20:
Shame on them for this: Please follow up with this. I'm horrified. I grew up in the country and knew many families who raised cattle and other animals, and this was never ever in a million years something that would happen. This affects all of us. Poor management does not end with cruelty — I'm sure the product they are sending out is equally horrid and shoddy.
The evils of meat: The meat/dairy/egg industries spend hundreds of millions of dollars lying to the public about their product. But no amount of false propaganda can sanitize meat. The facts are absolutely clear: Eating meat is bad for human health, catastrophic for the environment and a living nightmare for animals. There have never been more compelling reasons or a better time to opt for a plant-based diet. Want to create a better world? Eat like you mean it — go vegan.
Inexcusable: Both my family and my husband's family raise livestock, and this type of treatment of any type of livestock is not condoned. The employees and owners of that ranch should be punished to the full extent of the law. This abuse is inexcusable by both the law and the agriculture industry. Please don't let this horrible example of animal care lead you to believe that an entire industry behaves that way, for that is most certainly not the case.
Off the Air
Online readers respond to "KTRU Departs FM Airwaves Defiant, Unique as Ever," Rocks Off blog, by Marc Brubaker, April 28:
This is a new beginning: Now that KTRU is free of the cumbersome old technology, they will be able to pour more effort into the future of radio. Frankly, I am surprised that they have not done much to beef up their Web presence or their streaming capabilities. Now is the time to embrace the future and do what Rice students do best — innovate. Often, people fail to see opportunity in change. All I can say is, watch closely. We are about to witness just what Rice students are capable of. I, for one, am excited to see it happen.
Nice article: Kudos to the Press for leading the coverage on this. You guys did a great job that left everyone else in the dust. Kudos also to Yang and the KTRU staff, volunteers and supporters for their hard and tireless work.
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Houston's analog FM band is now pretty much worthless. The Man won the fight after years and years of trying. They won by playing dirty — with lies, obfuscation and a general contempt for the community they are there to serve — so beware, KTRU; I'm sure Leebron and his similarly small-minded, shortsighted and arrogant cronies will eventually look to defund what is left of the station. Don't ever let your guard down again.
Bittersweet: From this point forward I will be forsaking the FM dial and focusing my listening exclusively on HD and Internet radio. I remember as a kid, my father bought me a shortwave radio and I was astounded that I could listen to broadcasts from other countries, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. Now I carry the most profound piece of communication technology around with me 24/7. It is my intention to put it to good use now. Onward into the future.