Readers Write 8/7

ATLANTA PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Response to “Private sector offers advice.” Business, July 31

It is more evidence of our widespread ignorance of boards’ rightful role and accountability that the private sector leaders quoted in “Private sector offers advice” (Business, July 31) mentioned the board only once (and in a minor role). No one even listed boards as one of the stakeholder groups in responders’ lists. How can we expect school systems, nonprofits and equity corporations to perform adequately, and to operate prudently and ethically when the one body that should be charged with that accountability is so little understood, ignored and let off the hook? John Carver, Atlanta

Private sector was also part of the cover-up

After doing such a fine job breaking the APS cheating scandal over the past few years, why would the AJC ask business leaders how they would turn around the floundering school system — when the business community in Atlanta was part and parcel of Beverly Hall’s misguided management style, and players in the cover-up (“Private sector offers advice,” Business, July 31)?

The very first business leader on the list says he would empower key management to carry out the action plan with measurable goals, and tie their pay to their performance.

Seriously? Would those be the same type of measurable goals that caused Atlanta educators to cheat, so that test scores rose year after year? And would the pay for performance be anything like the bonuses Beverly Hall walked off with?

Celia Hinely, Atlanta

PUBLIC LIBRARIES

Libraries still serve as a gathering place

In “Alternatives can’t match joy of the genuine article” (Readers write, Opinion, July 31), Isabelle Werber bemoans the loss of bookstores and asks, “Where will our gathering places be?”

Our public libraries have been serving as gathering places for generations. New immigrants in the early 1900s used their public libraries as the poor man’s university. This is still true today. Many libraries host English as a Second Language and other classes. Mothers and their children in the 1940s saw the library as a fun place to gather when they attended story hours and other children’s programs. They may not even have realized that they were building early literacy skills.

Today’s libraries offer a host of programs where adults can gather — with offerings ranging from book discussions to author presentations. I encourage readers to check out the activities at their local library. I think they will be surprised!

Cal Shepard, Atlanta

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Many spoke of fighting human trafficking

I had the distinct pleasure of attending a recent conference, hosted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, in cooperation with a number of other state and local agencies. The focus of the event was combating human trafficking in Georgia.

The program included a wide range of speakers and topics, and not a minute was wasted in the day. The legal case studies, heartbreaking stories of survivors, and success stories of arrests and prosecutions highlighted the extraordinary commitment in Georgia to stopping human trafficking and prosecuting buyers and providers.

One had to be impressed with the education, wisdom and determination of the leaders of this program, and the participants in the overall initiative to stop human trafficking. Human trafficking is out in the open, and being discussed in government, religious and social organizations. The bridges are being built to assure the necessary laws are in place, enforcement is a high priority and buyers and providers of trafficked men and women pay the price for their perversion.

This was an extraordinary event, and all of us should congratulate the organizers and contributors.

Tom Scales, executive director, VOICE Today Inc.

DEFICIT

Deny presidents blank check to wage war

One of the largest recent sources of our national debt is the huge cost of the ongoing Middle East wars.

To be credible, any balanced budget proposal must include major cuts in our current burdensome defense budget and a requirement that any future wars be explicitly funded by tax increases (or clearly identified cuts in other federal programs).

We can no longer afford to give our presidents a blank check to wage wars.

Arnold C. McQuaide Jr., Berkeley Lake

Cut government spending across board

Our government has once again sold the American people down the river. To solve the crisis that they created, our government is going to continue doing the things that caused the crisis in the first place: more government intervention in the economy; increased regulation and stifling of private enterprise; refusal to make use of our own abundant resources for energy and fuel; and increased government spending. Instead of hurtling over the cliff at 90 mph, we are heading toward that cliff at 60 mph.

What is needed is plain and simple: drastically reduce government spending now. For starters, cut all government budgets by at least 10 percent across the board — no exceptions. Stop meddling in other countries’ affairs. We are now engaged in several wars with no end in sight, and we have troops in countries across the globe.

We are witnessing the decline and fall of the U.S.

Seymour Richards, Atlanta