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Editorial: Opinion roundup (August 8,2014)

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Children at southern border not just pawns

Journal & Courier (Lafayette)

Gov. Mike Pence didn’t mince words last week in a letter to President Barack Obama about his “profound concern about the federal government’s mishandling” of the rising number of unaccompanied Central American children crossing the U.S. border.

In particular, Pence was irked that more than 200 of those children have found their way to the homes of sponsors in Indiana — a fact that wasn’t relayed to the Statehouse by anything more than media reports.

Pence’s proposed solution: “Those who have crossed our border illegally should be treated humanely and with decency and respect, but they should be returned expeditiously to their home countries to be reunited with their families rather than being dispersed around the

United States in sponsored placement or long-term detention facilities.”

Short of substantial legislation, this country should act as if the kids arriving at the border are more than just pawns. There must be a realization that just sending them back is easier said than done. Send them back where and to whom?

The transparency Pence demanded from the federal government is a legitimate demand. But Congress and the White House can’t miss the violent terms that sent those kids this way — and the promise, legitimate or otherwise, that provided the need to make a dangerous trip.

State education suffering pains of fighting

Evansville Courier & Press

Indiana education’s hierarchy continues to wade through the muck.

A Marion County judge last week ruled that a law- suit against members of the State Board of Education alleging public access violations can proceed.

The issue is whether state school board members broke Indiana open meetings laws by circulating a letter seeking changes in who can figure the state A-F school grades.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz, no friend of the state board that she chairs, filed a similar suit last year against the board, but it was dismissed on the grounds she could not sue without the agreement of the Indiana Attorney General. However, Democratic lawyer Bill Groth filed the suit on behalf of four residents, and so it goes.

The suit is based on what seems to be a legitimate concern. In fact, the state’s public access counselor said that while board members may not have technically violated the letter of the law, it may have violated the spirit of the law.

And so, we expect, the arguing will go on, in court and out. As Indiana should be getting its educational standing in order, and hopefully, once again, acquire its No Child Left Behind waiver, it looks as if the arguing will take us right up to the 2016 election, to the harm of Indiana education.

Hero of gun control continues to inspire     

San Jose Mercury News

America’s “first family of gun control” lost its tough-as-nails patriarch Monday when former presidential Press Secretary James Brady died at age 73.

For 33 years, Brady had been one of the country’s most visible reminders of the need to control access to guns, especially handguns.

In March of 1981 Brady was shot outside the Washington Hilton Hotel by John W. Hinckley Jr. as part of an assassination attempt that also wounded President Ronald Reagan.

A bullet entered Brady’s skull and fragmented into his brain, causing massive damage. Reagan was hit in the lung by a bullet that ricocheted off the presidential limousine. He had been in office only 69 days.

The president recovered quickly, but Brady’s injuries were much more serious, and his recovery was agonizingly slow.

Brady recovered, spending much of the past 33 years in a wheelchair, and went on to become a galvanizing symbol for gun control.

A powerful spokesman for the ongoing debate has left us. But his spirit lives on.

College should help build skills, not debt

The Arizona Republic

Through various regulations and requirements, we’ve allowed our education system to become stagnant. Far from being the gateway to success it once was, much of today’s higher education system treats students as commodities to be processed through an assembly line.

While they were once faced with limitless possibilities, today’s graduates receive a crushing burden of debt with their diploma that meets or exceeds the cost of a mortgage in many cities.

Since 1985, college costs have risen 500 percent.

Last year, U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., introduced a bipartisan bill which would give future generations a better way to address the problems of access, affordability and utility of education. Last month, H.R. 3136, the Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration Project Act, passed the House of Representatives unanimously.

Even President Barack Obama has indicated his support for this bill, and it’s easy to see why — we all want our children to be successful in school and in life.

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