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Letters, April 30

The value of education

As an Oregon educator of 10 years, I can tell you something about the value of public education.

To students born into multi-generational poverty, it is the opportunity to earn a living wage. To someday live in a house, not an apartment, or their cars. To kids who are homeless, school is maybe the only place they find regular food, safety and acceptance; even a helping hand.

Public high schools allow high-achievers to chase their dreams, earning tuition-free college credits before student debt is strapped to them for the rest of their adult lives. They encourage others to pursue much-needed trades, occupations and innovations that are in high demand through multitudinous CTE programs.

Our public primary schools help immigrant children learn English, help students with disabilities to thrive and prosper, and foster the sense that we are all one community that accepts and embraces its diversity.

And middle schools — what can I say? They deal with middle schoolers. Every. Day.

Public education does not happen without the dedicated hard work of professionals. The proposed cuts to public education by Gov. Kate Brown are, frankly, shameful to our dedicated public servants in this profession. Moreover, the proposed cuts under-serve our children, whose futures are ultimately short-changed by the increasing class sizes, cuts to enrichment programs, underfunded and overwhelmed schools they will be attending. Meanwhile, Oregon has one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the country, and they are proposing to make it even lower.

Cambria Floren

Ashland

Workplace fairness

My name is Penny LeVee, and I support the Oregon Workplace Fairness Act (SB 726), a bill that would protect workers who face discrimination in the workplace.

I am 72 years old, and when I grew up there were few protections for women in the workplace. Women sometimes dealt with sexual harassment as a way of life; many would try to ignore it, or feel compelled to quit the job they had. They knew that if they cried foul, the victim would be blamed.

I had assumed that we as a society now had greater protections for women and men in the workplace. However, I was shocked to discover that in some large corporations like Nike, huge financial rewards have been paid to chronic sexual harassers. Because these corporations requested provisions that prevent the rehiring of previously discriminated against employees, victims often have to relocate to find work again. This just seems to be another form of victim blaming behind the facade of following the sexual harassment laws meant to protect the worker, not reward the abusers.

Our state has a real opportunity with SB 726 to help change the way sexual harassment is handled in the workplace. Thank you to Sen. Jeff Golden for supporting this bill and helping it pass through to the Senate floor. I understand that Rep. Pam Marsh also supports it, and will greatly appreciate her vote in the House. When SB 726 becomes law, it will improve the workplace environment for all.

Penny LeVee

Talent

Irresponsible journalism

Your headline in Wednesday’s paper, April 24, “Sewing group booted from senior center,” is really irresponsible.

It was just a scheduling change from the senior center, designed to accommodate a greater number of users. you are fomenting dissension and many people will have attitudes about the senior center that are just not true.

Wendy Eppinger

Ashland

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