Southern Illinois speaks up: Letters to the editor for the week of Sep. 25, 2020

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Progress

I am pleased to see the percentage of Illinois children entering kindergarten adequately prepared in reading, math and social-emotional skills has grown for the second consecutive year, according to the latest data released by the Illinois State Board of Education. However, with only 29% of youngsters fully prepared in all three of these areas, we still have a long way to go.

As a member of Mission: Readiness, a nonprofit network of over 750 retired admirals and generals nationwide, I remain concerned about this data — especially when I consider yet another figure. Only 30% of young Illinoisans — aged 17-24 — can qualify for military service. The remainder are too poorly educated, overweight, and/or have a criminal record disqualifying them. High-quality early childhood education is one answer — a research-proven method to help better prepare youth for any future civilian career, college, or military-service path.

Research shows that children’s early development, even before kindergarten, helps them achieve academic success, physical, mental, and emotional wellness, and thus opens further opportunities as they become adults. If kids don’t enter kindergarten prepared, it’s a lot harder for them to catch up.

In Southern Illinois, nearly half of our region’s school districts fall at or below the state average of kindergarten preparedness. In my home of Alexander County, fewer than 20% of students enter kindergarten fully prepared. To continue our progress, state leaders must continue investment in early learning, in order to fully prepare our youth for success now, and down the line.

US Army Major General (Ret.)

Speaking out

I am not a political person. The things that sway me are good vs evil, right vs wrong, truth vs lies. Our nation is now facing a crisis that threatens to confuse these very opposite principles and I must speak out.

Our nation’s leader has (again) shown himself to be anything but a leader. His notion of truth is disturbing. I can no longer put my trust in local politicians who blindly follow Mr. Trump. Congressman Bost will not face those who disagree with his policies, choosing instead to stay in his own echo chamber where there is no dissent.

I encourage every American to cast their vote for Ray Lenzi, who believes in the working class, affordable health care and the Green New Deal.

Let’s bring our country back to a place where integrity and honesty mean something. Please vote Nov. 3.

Not the answer

I am a college student at SIU, and I have started to get politically active this year with the upcoming November elections. I do my research on every candidate that is running before I make up my mind on who I will vote for. One candidate in particular that has stood out to me is Democrat Ray Lenzi in the 12th Congressional race.

Raymond Lenzi has run a very negative campaign and his policies revolve around more government control and higher taxes. Every one of his economic policies contradicts the basic economics course I took a few semesters ago. Basing his own economic policies to that of a Gen-Ed class, this country could be put into a great depression. His enormous government programs and plans to increase taxes for the middle class is not what this district or our country needs. Ray Lenzi seems to be more focused on talking points from his days as a radical left Carbondale “activist” rather than protecting the people of southern Illinois.

While Lenzi is re-living his glory days from the 1960’s, I encourage him to re-take an Economics 101 class and refigure how he is going to pay for his Green New Deal and Medicare for All, because taxing the middle class to pay for these programs is not the answer.

RIP Joe Glisson

While in Southern Illinois on Labor Day weekend, I picked up a Southern and was saddened by the news that Joe Glisson had passed. Though never a “tree-hugger” myself, I’m eternally grateful for everything Joe and all the other environmentalists…



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