Thanks for taking a strong stand on the issue of school funding ("Study time is over," Dec. 3). Public school advocates have been screaming about this for years, especially since the state takeover of the Philadelphia schools and the hiring of for-profit managers like Edison Schools.
The Inquirer must keep our legislators' feet to the fire. We cannot afford to waste more time and money organizing another fiscal study of "accountability." That is just an excuse to pass the responsibility for the schools to another election year.
Schools are underfunded, period. There are schools in Philadelphia where there are not enough books, where classrooms are overcrowded, and where they have to choose between a librarian or a music teacher in their budget. It is sickening.
Gloria C. Endres
Adjunct assistant professor
College of Education
The editorial "Study time is over" (Dec. 3) mentioned the possible creation of a bipartisan commission on education funding. For the record, two such panels already exist: the House Education Committee and the Senate Education Committee.
Skeptics will rightly observe that those committees have done nothing in 30 years about Pennsylvania's bottom-of-the-barrel system of school funding. But that doesn't mean a different commission would produce a different result. A new panel would end up at the same place: in front of a majority of legislators who value reelection more than they value the lives of children and the future of the commonwealth.
If lawmakers want to solve the school funding problem, they already have all the information and power they need.
Democracy Rising PA
The editorial "Senate bill doesn't measure up" (Inquirer, Nov. 30) laments that the right-to-know legislation which recently passed the state Senate exempts the General Assembly from its requirements. I thought it should be noted that the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association, of which The Inquirer is a member, failed to advocate for an amendment I offered to include the legislature in the provisions of the bill.
PNA was informed directly, by me, on several occasions, of my desire to advance this position. Despite this, and for reasons known only to the PNA, it failed to offer any public support for my amendment. My amendment was tabled in committee.
A different outcome may have been likely if one of the largest stakeholders on this issue, namely the PNA, would have publicly urged adoption of the amendment.
State Sen. Jeffrey Piccola
(R., York and Dauphin)
I was angry about the editorial "Police union rules: Handcuffing progress" (Inquirer, Nov. 29) because it took until the last paragraph to mention that it is the City Charter, not unions such as the Fraternal Order of Police, that limits how many deputies a police commissioner can appoint. Why all the anti-union utterances before we get to that fact? What is your agenda?
At one time, the commissioner could appoint deputies and others, but that system didn't work, hence the reform of 1951. What makes you think that failed system will work now?
Fire service paramedic
Philadelphia Fire Department
The criticism by Pope Benedict XVI that atheism has led to the "greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice" (Inquirer, Dec. 1) is revisionist history. Disease and famine, with religion a respectable second, have caused more pain, injustice and innocent suffering than all other "upheavals" the world has known. The French Revolution and Karl Marx share with the Spanish Inquisition and centuries of church-sanctioned anti-semitism - which laid the groundwork for the Holocaust - the distinction of being man's evil creations. Neither God nor atheism is the disease or the cure.