YOU SAY: Letters to the editor
Seton’s charity care
Re: Dec. 9 article, “Public health, religion collide.”
I’m a physician who came to Austin three years ago. I am impressed by the incredible value that Seton brings to local health care. The hundreds of millions of dollars in charity care that Seton provides every year cost taxpayers nothing. In contrast, I have worked in organizations that were not driven by a faith-based mission. They called media attention to their unreimbursed care, but after these patients’ life-threatening conditions had been stabilized, physicians might be told (in private) to send the patient to the local public hospital for a followup. That has never happened to me at Seton, and it never will because of the centuriesold mission of the Daughters of Charity. Seton saves the taxpayers millions of dollars; it will never abandon the poor and vulnerable; and it continually seeks optimal stewardship of its resources. All Central Texans benefit, not just those in Seton hospitals. What’s not to like?
True test of teachers
Re: Dec. 8 Esther J. Cepeda column, “Rigorous testing of teachers welcome, and long overdue.”
I’d side with those who don’t favor the testing of teachers, at least not directly. The test of a teacher is how much their students improve in a given subject during the course of the year/semester. This is the only parameter that matters and can be determined by giving the same test to the students at the beginning and end of a course.
In our last election, Proposition 15, which would have provided housing for low-income families with no raise in taxes, was defeated. I thought of writing, “Shame on you, Austin voters,” but my sense is that this decision was born more of ignorance than lack of concern for the poor. Permanent supportive housing works. And it works best when it’s mixed in with other housing. Look at the incredible work being done by Foundation Communities to give families a hand up out of poverty and homelessness.
So long as there are jobs that pay below a living wage, there will be a housing crisis. We have a wise and compassionate city council and it will take every ounce of courage and wisdom to bring back to voters new proposals to improve housing in Austin. And when it’s time to vote, let’s remember that Austin is a city for everyone.
Message to IDEA
IDEA Public Charter Schools will be the main topic of discussion at the next AISD board meeting on Monday, Dec. 17. Please consider signing up to speak. At least try to attend, to send the message that you want partnerships with the local community, not with South Texas CEOs who have no regard for us. Otherwise, too many people could show up with slick blue IDEA Tshirts and the school board might erroneously assume that we don’t care.
Without your help, a horrible precedent could be set. Our public schools could be forced to endure future “partnerships” with IDEA. This charter school already annexed Allan and is trying to annex Eastside Memorial. They gave up all of their library books from the old Allan, hired most of their teachers from outside of district, and operate with their own out-of-town board which is not publicly elected. All with our tax dollars.
Re: Dec. 9 article, “Old A-bomb sites may become national park.”
I read with concern the piece by William Broad. It profiled a plan now before Congress to create a national park spread over three states to protect the aging remnants of the World War II U.S. atomic bomb project. Cynthia Kelly, president of the Atomic Heritage Foundation, a private group in Washington that helped develop the preservation plan, justifies this as “a way to educate the next generation” with an overall goal of commemoration, not celebration.
Just exactly what is worth “commemorating” or “preserving” about a project to develop a weapon of mass destruction ... that was used to take so many thousands of lives? Should we elect to preserve the remnants of the Manhattan Project, let us do so in the same spirit in which Europe’s notorious concentration camps are preserved ... with regret, remorse, and a
commitment of never again.
The second paragraph in Wednesday’s editorial supporting a South Texas medical school should have read: Study after study of the South Texas economy comes to the inevitable and obvious conclusion: that most of the residents are poor, and poor people are the most likely to get sick. They are likely to get sick because they are poor and because they are poor, many South Texas residents are unlikely to have health insurance. Unlike most holiday season offerings, wishes don’t cost anything. Do you have a wish for something that would make this year special? Why don’t you share it with the rest of our readers? We’re soliciting your holiday wishes for this year for publication on Dec. 25. Please limit your submissions to 150 words. Send your submissions by Dec. 14 to letters@ statesman.com or to: Letters to the Editor PO Box 670 Austin, Texas 78768 Please put “Christmas letters”in subject line of emails or on the envelope. The Austin American-Statesman encourages email and faxes from readers. Please include a full name, address and daytime and evening phone numbers.We edit letters for brevity, grammar, style and clarity. Edited letters address a single idea and do not exceed 150 words.Anonymous letters will not be published. Letters become property of the Austin AmericanStatesman. Send emails to letters@ statesman.com. Mail to: Letters to the Editor, P.O. Box 670,Austin,TX 78767.
John Elford email@example.com