Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration has flailed around trying to alter the state’s education system for some months now. Whether it’s attempting to ban “critical race theory,” whatever that means, from public schools, or ham-fistedly bullying the community college system into accepting gubernatorial advice on their search for a new chancellor, the governor has pursued an array of divisive and ineffectual policies.
His energies might be used more productively with regard to the state’s colleges and universities. No, I don’t mean appointing more loudmouthed demagogues to administrative positions. It is a fact that many colleges and universities depend heavily on underpaid adjuncts, saving on costs but stifling the academic job market and artificially constraining American scholarship. It would be highly beneficial if the state would persuade or induce its public colleges and universities to convert more adjunct positions to tenure-track; the state certainly has the budget for it, as do many of the more prominent institutions. This occurred to me as I read some writings by Bret Devereaux, Ph.D., history lecturer at the University of North Carolina, who has opined about this very topic on his blog. Attracting professors from across the country to teach in Virginia would have immediate positive effects, and would make this state an educational powerhouse.
Vasa Clarke, Richmond
Re “Requiring teachers to out LGBTQ youth is a dangerous directive” (Our Views, Aug. 16): Absolutely spot-on. Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s proposal that educators “out” kids’ sexual identity is naïve and harmful. Parents’ involvement matters big time. So does the fragile trust of kids navigating this vulnerable period.
I just finished reading “Gender Queer: A Memoir” — one of many books being questioned or banned in various districts. I’m a retired librarian of 30-plus years. Would I suggest this for elementary ages? No. But in the young adult section? Absolutely. It frankly explores the author’s fraught journey into the nature of her sexuality. As a true story, it may help some kids out there who are struggling mightily with these issues, feeling isolated and alone, and possibly considering self-harm. “Seeing yourself in the world, knowing that you’re not alone, … it’s lifesaving,” wrote Nate Stevenson in the introduction to the book.
This author isn’t encouraging a particular lifestyle, any more than Anne Frank in her poignant diary was pushing conversion to Judaism. It’s just a window into a unique life, take it or leave it.
My son read widely as a kid — books I knew about, and many I’m sure I didn’t. He’s a librarian himself now and father of two sturdy and curious kids.
I think trying to “protect” kids from information from within some kind of safe bubble, while all around them the wider world of influence is pushing in — it’s like patching a leaky boat from the inside in the middle of the ocean. It just doesn’t work.
Sharon Osborn, Onancock
Re “Inflation Act will exacerbate problems, not solve them” (Other Views, Aug. 16): I read with dismay the op-ed by Rachel Adams, giving readers completely inaccurate information about the Inflation Reduction Act. Tax increases will fall on the largest corporations. No family making less than $400,000 will see its taxes go up at all. This bill expands Medicare benefits, lowers energy bills, makes historic climate investment, creates manufacturing jobs, and lowers health care costs (prescription drugs). In short, it helps our country and those of us who are not uber wealthy.
Adams said, “Congress needs to adopt a budget process that … ensures that taxpayer resources finance only the most valuable services … .” This bill pays for itself and addresses many “valuable services,” including climate change, health care and fair sharing of the tax burden. So, according to Adams’ metrics, this bill has achieved her goal.
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Patricia Johnson, Virginia Beach
Re “Inflation Act will exacerbate problems, not solve them” (Other Views, Aug. 16): Rachel Adams should be ashamed for misleading readers with loose statements and utter mistruths about the Inflation Reduction Act. First, President Joe Biden ensured the act would not impact those with household incomes below $400,000; in direct contrast to Adams’ statement that the act “is expected to raise taxes for Americans making less than $400,000.”
The bill is intended to be financed via a 15% corporate minimum tax, prescription drug pricing reform, (capping out-of-pocket drug maximums for millions of Americans), IRS tax enforcement (demonized by the right), a corporate stock buyback excise tax, and reductions in high income taxpayers’ use of business loss deductions.
Further, Adams cites new businesses spending, “more than $80,000 just on compliance costs during their first year of operation.” I have started a number of new businesses and don’t know what Adams is talking about — and neither does she.
In the end, inflation is a nonpartisan issue. It has been caused by a combination of factors, including former President Donald Trump’s drastic corporate tax decrease, trillions spent by both parties in COVID-19 assistance funding, numerous domestic oil refineries closing unrelated to COVID-19 and the disruption of supply chains due to COVID-19 during a time when the economy has been white-hot.
Maybe Adams would prefer we continue to do nothing about climate change and inflation while our country floods and people contend with the rising cost of everything. Biden deserves credit for taking action.
Jay Klebanoff, Virginia Beach