Here's what letter writers had to say to The Times this week.
Rules of the road apply to cyclists, not just motorists
Most of my life I've been taught that people who walk or ride a bicycle down the road share the road with motorists.
However, early this year I've noticed that for some odd reason individuals who are not in vehicles think they own the road and do not have to stop at stop signs and can disregard rules. If I were to accidentally hit a person on a bike, I'm pretty sure it would be my fault.
People need to learn to stop. It's an accident waiting to happen, especially in Valparaiso. It also would help in the early morning hours if they could wear reflective or bright color clothing.
Don't expect motorists to see you if you're wearing black or dark colored clothing, especially if you're on a county road. Be smart and learn the rules of the road to avoid dangerous potential situations.
Nathan Donaldson, Valparaiso
Give World War II monument respect, protection
I read with great interest the recent commentary written by Kendall Svengalis regarding the desecration of the World War II monument in Gary's Buffington Park.
My father, three of my uncles and many of their friends' names can be found on that modest memorial, and I for one am both insulted and appalled by this cruel act of disrespect.
When are we who owe so much to our parents and ancestors going to stand as one and say we have had enough?
The time for excuses and finger pointing regarding Gary's rich history is long past. We can start by raising the necessary funds and securing the manpower needed to move this relevant piece of history to a place where it will be safe from vandals and see that it is professionally restored.
I am ready to put my money and time on the line. Who is with me?
Chuck McNiece, Crown Point
Rokita was demanding, fair boss
On Friday, I was quoted in an Associated Press story, which ran in newspapers throughout the state, in such a way as to give credibility to the exaggerated, anonymous attacks on U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita, a Munster native, that filled the rest of the story.
I understand news stories have word limits, but I feel the picture painted by that story was misleading. For the handful of disgruntled employees out there, there are many more who would say working for Rokita was great.
He was a demanding boss, but he was fair and led by example. It was great to be part of an office that did terrific work for the citizens of the 4th District. Working for Rokita helped me greatly in my professional development and prepared me for the job in the private sector I have today.
I look forward to him continuing his hard work and fighting for Hoosiers in the Senate.
Anthony Will, Indianapolis
Lower enrollment age, don't mandate kindergarten
Children and families are unique, and not all students need to attend kindergarten.
Forcing them to attend before they are ready could very likely result in contributing to a negative attitude about learning — and wasting tax dollars.
The issue is not mandatory kindergarten but compulsory age for enrollment. The solution is to lower the mandatory age to 6 years old by June 1 and testing skill levels for placement in either kindergarten or first grade.
This, along with maintaining the current voluntary enrollment age of 5 years old, thereby maintaining the option for families, should improve the opportunities for student success.
There is no credible evidence that going to school longer (hours, days, or years) positively impacts student learning. It is the quality not the quantity that counts. Doing the wrong thing for more hours, more days or more years is not going to help students.
Providing quality education will.
Marg De Roo, Dyer
Mandate kindergarten for children's opportunities
Research has shown that high-quality early childhood education at kindergarten provides our children with better communication skills and preparation for learning in elementary school and throughout their education.
Indiana is one of only 16 states that don't require kindergarten within their educational system. We need to support Jennifer McCormick, Indiana state superintendent of public instruction, to encourage our state to mandate and establish kindergarten for all our children and their future opportunities.
Marilyn Hanson, Valparaiso
Mandatory all-day kindergarten should be the rule
To ensure the future progress of our students, there is a need for preschool programs, plus mandatory all-day kindergarten at every school in Indiana.
Having taught preschool programs, kindergarten and first grade for 46 years, I can assure you of the tremendous benefits derived from early learning programs.
First, the social, emotional, mental and physical development of the child is extremely important. There should be a focus on character development and the joy of learning promoted. Also, respecting and loving one another is an important lesson.
Next comes the focus on academics — promoting a desire to achieve in a loving, respectful atmosphere, with less focus on tests.
Because we live in a democracy, young children need to learn how to get along and socialize with others as they pursue their education. There is no need for online preschool or kindergarten — just mandatory all-day kindergarten.
Grace Turner, Gary
State must abandon archaic status quo
My support for mandatory kindergarten dates back to the early 1980s. My colleague and I served on the Governor’s Task Force for Early Childhood/Latchkey Education as representatives of the Hammond Teachers Federation and School City of Hammond. After two years of meetings in Indianapolis, our efforts were blocked by lobbyists and by some legislators.
In the 1990s, I spoke before the state superintendent regarding mandatory kindergarten attendance with testimony gathered from both kindergarten and elementary teachers. Indiana chose to ignore the expertise of its educators.
After teaching kindergarten for 42 years, I retired with the question of mandatory kindergarten daring to still be asked. Being one of 16 states without kindergarten attendance as a mandate is a total embarrassment to our state and continues to put our children at high risk.
This is akin to a “bad joke” continuing to be told for years. However, I am not laughing, for there is no humor in the preservation of Indiana’s archaic status quo.
Lorraine Kobe, Highland