More on drug coverage

Re: the Feb. 14 op-ed in The Detroit News “Improving Access to Cancer Drugs”: While it makes sense for insurance companies and providers to treat oral and injected cancer medication in the same way, we must not lose sight of the essential context: many of these drugs require a huge investment to develop. Insurance or other government regulation must not make such investment impossible.

Richard E. Ralston, Americans for Free Choice in Medicine

Sickouts were right

Re: Ingrid Jacques Jan. 27 column in The Detroit News, “For public workers, hard to get fired”: In general I am not a strong supporter of teachers. I think that with the protection of tenure many of them have let their performance in the classroom and dedication to the students deteriorate to unacceptable levels.

I also disagree with raises based on education. Is a teacher better today with a master’s degree than he/she was yesterday with just a bachelor’s degree? I think not. Raises should be based on merit not seniority or degree of education.

This is true of not only Detroit Public Schools but teachers across the country. I think many of them (not all) got into the profession when jobs were readily available, salaries were acceptable and benefits were out of sight. Not because they wanted to help children learn. I think the point about how hard it is to terminate teachers is valid.

That said, I strongly disagree with Jacques’ premise that DPS teachers engaging in sickouts should be fired.

Would you teach under those conditions? Would you allow your child to attend classes under those conditions? Would you expect a teacher and students to enter a classroom knowing that there was someone in there waiting to harm some or all of them?

I submit that in this case, “something” is synonymous with “someone.” These teachers should be commended, not condemned. If they accepted these conditions they would be complicit in its continuity. They should be thanked for bringing this to the attention of the nation. The mold and rodent problems are every bit the health problem that lead is in Flint.

Fortunately those in these schools have a choice and the peril is obvious. They weren’t forced to drink the water while those in charge deny the problem. What if a whole classroom or school came down with something like Legionnaires’ disease? As the conditions are described that could happen.

The ones who should bear the brunt of the blame, take responsibility and suffer the consequences are those who allowed this to deteriorate to this point. Anyone who is discovered to have knowledge of these conditions and cannot prove that they did everything in their power to correct them should be summarily discharged. This goes from the top of the chain of command at the state level all the way down to complacent principals.

Someone, at some level, should take ownership of this problem and address the issue. Children need a safe and sanitary environment in which to learn.

Bob Hill, Grosse Ile

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