TO THE EDITOR:
I read with interest the letter ("We must raise graduation rates" July 29). The writer was absolutely right. However, the writer's solution, "fixing public education" is all wrong.
The writer states additional statistics, which I assume are accurate - 71 percent national average graduation rate in the United States, all the fixing should be aimed at the parents of the 29 percent who did not graduate and failed their children and their country. Do these frightening statistics mean our public education system is failing? I think not. Parents are responsible for their children attending school, not public education. I can't begin to think of the consequences had I told my dad or mother I was dropping out of high school. Parents must be held accountable for the actions of their children or their inaction if they drop out of school.
Perhaps it is time to require a parent to finish the high school classes a son or daughter misses when they drop out of school. If they fail to attend, then incarceration could follow. I commend the Cincinnati Public Schools who increased their graduation rate from 49 percent in 1999 to 60 percent in 2003. Although still below the national average, they are definitely moving in the right direction.
Jack Walsh, Union Township
What are people in Washington up to?
What's going on? Presidential advisers are jostling with each other to fall on their swords, after a one-sentence gaffe in the State of the Union address. Portions of the Congressional 9/11 report are being redacted, despite the requests of leaders of both parties and the ambassador of the country reportedly involved. The Pentagon creates (and suddenly withdraws) a futures market in assassination and attacks, a government-sponsored betting pool on terrorism.
Three years ago, Americans were promised unity, dignity and integrity. But none of this stuff passes the smell test. What are the people in Washington really up to?
William Klykylo, Finneytown
Convergys deal good for all involved
We appreciate Cincinnati City Council's support of the economic development package that allows us to consolidate our global headquarters in downtown Cincinnati. Convergys is committed to Cincinnati. We know Cincinnati is the kind of home in which our employees and our business can succeed and grow. The vote by City Council was a defining moment.
Good for Cincinnati? Convergys will invest more than $125 million in Atrium I and other downtown facilities, and if we meet our growth goals, we would invest up to $75 million in additional new space downtown. This means not only new downtown jobs, but also a healthier economy and better support for stronger neighborhoods and for local services.
Good for Ohio? We estimate that Convergys will pay $475 million in state, county and city taxes in the next 15 years. As Ohio's 2002 Exporter of the Year and a leading proponent of the state's Third Frontier initiative, we will continue to work to ensure that companies in high-growth, magnet industries like technology and the biosciences are attracted to Cincinnati and Ohio.
Good for business? A strong business culture that supports the arts, education and vibrant neighborhoods is fundamental to a healthy, growing city and a high quality of life. These are key factors in attracting new businesses, new jobs and new employees.
James Orr, Chairman and CEO, Convergys
Egg industry is important to Ohio
The egg and poultry industries have been receiving more news coverage recently than perhaps any time in our history. However, much of this coverage has focused on the problems of one or two farms, leaving most people with only a partial understanding of the egg industry overall. Agriculture is Ohio's leading industry, and poultry and egg producers are an important part of it. In fact, Ohio is the second-largest egg-producing state in the nation, providing more than 8 billion eggs per year. That is equal to about 675 million dozen - enough to provide every person in Ohio with a dozen eggs every week for more than a year. The total retail value of those eggs is more than $600 million per year, and poultry producers pay nearly $1 million in taxes each year - money that, by and large, remains within the state. Ohio laying hens and pullets consume nearly 35 million bushels of corn per year, most of which is purchased from Ohio farmers.
Today's egg farmers use modern methods that promote a safe environment for both humans and animals. I urge readers to learn more about Ohio's poultry and egg industries - an important economic segment that, as a whole, acts responsibly with the best interests of local communities in mind.
Jack Heavenridge, Executive Vice President,
Ohio Poultry Association, Columbus
Teaching black history
Public defenders a high priority