Letters: Responses to voucher, Flint commentary


Focus on what works

Re: Ingrid Jacques’ Jan. 25 editor’s note in The Detroit News: “More school choice would help Detroit”: One of the great things about opinions is that they are not limited to any one individual. While I respect Jacques and her opinion, I couldn’t disagree more with her that Detroit students should have such options as vouchers or tax credits for private schools to have access to a quality education.

Nationally and here in Michigan, the public opposes vouchers because they do not have a successful track record. Instead of buying into myths and dreams, let’s focus on putting in place what we know works. We need good, strong, neighborhood public schools, low class sizes, safe and healthy buildings, with strong community involvement, including true local control. We already have more than enough evidence indicating the need for such educational remedies as those just mentioned.

We need teachers to be properly compensated for educating our children because they deserve it. The current 170-person teacher shortage is detrimental to our children. Jacques is right that a good education is a civil rights issue. Of course that means that every child, whether they live in poverty or in relative wealth, should have a robust academic program and guaranteed school funding that provides for well-resourced, clean and safe classrooms.

If we really want to educate all children, then let us begin with what we know has been a foundation that propels both teachers and students along a pathway of not only being successful, but more importantly, of being significant. In the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.: “We are not what we ought to be, until our youth are what they want to be.”It begins with a quality education.

Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony,

Detroit Branch NAACP

No mixing water sources

Re: The Detroit News’ Jan. 24 editorial “Assigning blame in Flint”: The editorial states, “Drinking water has been pulled from the Flint River for decades to supplement Detroit Water and Sewerage Department supplies.” That is patently false.

The DWSD contract prohibits blending with other sources.

Some years back, a valve was accidentally opened by Flint, blending water from its plant, and they attempted to blame DWSD for the water-quality complaints. That should have served as a warning that their plant was not up to the task even as an emergency backup and proves surreptitious blending couldn’t have gone unnoticed.

During my 41-year tenure, DWSD always strove to exceed customer expectations and competed in water quality competitions. Beyond pride in our product, the provision against blending was necessary due to liability issues.

I also take exception to your call for the summary dismissal of Michigan Department of Environmental Quality staff. Having served under DWSD directors who were sent to jail and others who should have been, I can attest to how staff can be cajoled into bad behavior by threats from above. They deserve a fair trial to determine if they acted on their own.

Dennis L. Green, Farmington Hills

(retired DWSD head water systems engineer)