In response to "Little Movement Is Made on Fiscal Cliff Budget
Talks" (Dec. 7), instead of extending the Bush tax cuts for the
highest-earning 2 percent, we can better serve our nation by
investing in education.
As an active volunteer within the Somali refugee community in
Pittsburgh, I have spent much time helping Somali students with
their homework. One of my regular students whom I tutor is a 10th
grader studying at her neighborhood Pittsburgh public high school,
working toward her dream of becoming teacher. She is incredibly
studious and takes academics seriously.
I was surprised to learn during a tutoring session that her
school has an insufficient number of books and thus does not allow
students to take textbooks home. Inadequate funding for education is
not only causing a textbook shortage, it is causing art programs to
vanish, teachers to be laid off, schools to close and students to
Education is not a gift -- it is an investment in our nation's
future. But as long as only our suburban and private schools can
afford new books, science equipment and educational innovations, our
country is at risk of being left in the dust by countries that have
fully recognized the role of public and nationally subsidized
education in creating a strong economy. We must fight to end the
Bush administration tax cuts for the top 2 percent so that a good
education is not a privilege but an opportunity for all.
The writer is a high school senior.
HELP THE STUDENTS
I am a recent graduate of Pittsburgh Public Schools and a student
at Community College of Allegheny County, and I am extremely
concerned about the potential cuts to education. Our schools need
enough support to keep class sizes small and higher education needs
to be affordable.
When I was in elementary and high school, there was at least a
handful of kids in most classes who would act up and distract other
kids in the class. Kids act out when they're confused or behind.
Sometimes I was one of those kids. I didn't learn everything I was
supposed to learn.
I've been a student at CCAC for three years, and I have overcome
tremendous obstacles to make it this far. I am finally really
learning how to study effectively. My vision is to transfer to the
University of Pittsburgh and become a child psychologist.
I want to help children where I went wrong, but there are
potential federal cuts to education that would compromise my dream
of students being well-supported and able to afford higher
education. These cuts may cause teacher layoffs, and consequently
larger classes, leading to less attention and support for students.
Such cuts would also slash certain programs that make college
financially feasible for some students.
Instead of cutting education or any of the programs that
strengthen our communities, like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security
and other human services, we should allow the Bush tax cuts for the
top 2 percent of earners to expire.
ALLOW DEFENSE CUTS
Missing from the "fiscal cliff" discussions is any mention of the
Pentagon budget. It accounts for half of the funds that Congress
appropriates every year, which makes it a good place to look for
spending cuts, especially given that the Pentagon loses, wastes or
misspends $102 billion a year -- more than the budgets of the State,
Interior, Commerce and Justice departments combined.
Military spending doubled from 2001 to 2011, thanks to the wars
in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Iraq war is over and U. …