Letters to the Editor

Arts, education inseparable

As students begin their school year, it is important for us to remember that when students participate in the arts as a part of their education, they go on to succeed in school, work and life.

Designated by Congress in 2010, the week beginning with the second Sunday in September is National Arts in Education Week. We would encourage all supporters of arts, culture, and education to join with us -- as well as our elected officials and education leaders.

The new Every Student Succeeds Act supports the arts as part of every student’s "well-rounded" education. Students attend school more often when they have access to the arts, parents and families engage with the schools when schools embrace the arts, dropout rates decrease, grades increase -- and the halls are filled with artwork, songs, drama and dancing.

According to a public opinion poll released in March, 9 out of 10 Americans believe the arts are essential to a student's well rounded education.

However, in that same poll, 67% of Americans believed that there was not sufficient access to the arts for their students to reap the benefits. Additionally, study after study indicates an opportunity gap in arts education, specifically along racial and socio-economic lines. We must stand together to fight for equity in access and delivery of arts education.

As we celebrate National Arts in Education Week, we should cheer for our accomplishments, but we should also remember the work we have to do. How can our district help provide equitable opportunities for all of our young people? How can we use the new law to create arts-rich schools? How can we support parents, families and the community in provide more opportunities for engagement? It's up to us -- the arts education community -- to take a stand and lead.

Rick McKnight, Columbus

Don't shoot …

Everyone in America, right or wrong, has a right to an opinion. Listen thoughtfully and then look into what Kaepernick is trying to say. I believe he has a right to open the discussion. In fact, I respect his right to be heard just as anyone has a right to hear it and respond. This after all is an American problem whatever color we are.

Kaepernick has opened the discussion. He, along with whoever wants to respond, together form a lightning rod for truth.

Let us calmly seek to know who is shooting whom. The facts need to be examined. Look at the facts and discover who is correct in the big picture. The police are being accused of conducting a shooting race war against blacks, according to Kaepernick. Others say that if the police were completely disarmed it would make no difference as to the number of blacks being murdered.

Please stand up and be heard. But please do not shoot the brave messengers, Kaepernick or his opponents.

Jack Tidwell, Columbus

‘Rights’ vs. ‘right’

There is a clear distinction between "the right" to do something, and "doing the right thing." President Obama spoke out today supporting the constitutional right of football celebrity Colin Kaepernick to act in clear disrespect of our nation’s flag and national anthem. President Obama and Mr. Kaepernick need to review the distinction between "intention" vs. "action."

Mr. Kaepernick has the constitutional right to tattoo a swastika or a hate message on his forehead. Does such a right, under any circumstance, make it an appropriate action? As a wealthy celebrity, Mr. Kaepernick has both the capability and access to air his opinions in many other ways. There are those who want to argue that he was acting in a sincere manner to make a valid point Perhaps Mr. Kaepernick and his supporters might benefit from the old axiom, "Don't urinate on my back and tell me its raining." Shame on you Colin!

Joe Coley, Columbus

Respect? Hardly

Newspapers are full of the Colin Kaepernick saga, some condemning his actions of not standing for the National Anthem, others defending his tight not to stand. One of these articles caused me ire, suggesting I should respect his rights. Excuse me … I will decide what to respect (or not). My respect for anything has to be earned and deserved, and displays in public such as Kaepernick’s do neither. His choice of venue is a sad attempt at publicity that reflects badly on his team and all those around him.

I assume he has a United States passport, or is capable of getting one, which allows him to travel as he chooses (within the limits of the law), and perhaps he should use that passport to go elsewhere. How ‘bout that mythical place where discrimination does not exist? If you find somewhere that fits that description, let me know – Utopia is not a real place, nor is Xanadu.

Our flag (and anthem) is more that a piece of cloth (or plastic), but a symbol of those who fought and in many cases, died, to give Colin Kaepernick the right to behave like an idiot, but don’t make the rest of us bear witness to his actions. Assign him to the locker room, where there are no cameras or reporters.

L.M. Tryon, Columbus