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Letters to the editor — Sunday (1-25-15)

President seeks real solutions

The writer is responding to a Jan. 21 letter from Richard Roberts, “Government leaders don’t know what they don’t know.”

A couple of things Mr. Roberts doesn’t seem to know: who sets mortgage rates and how much influence the president has in that process. The answers: 1) mortgage bankers set the rates, and 2) the president has virtually no influence over mortgage rates.

In fact, Congress has far more real influence through its power to set budgets for government mortgage insurers  like both the VA and the FHA. Congressional leaders, both Republican and Democratic, were far more influential in creating a lending environment which encouraged payment schedules which didn’t even cover interest much less principal and loan standards which were a blatant invitation to fraud.

As for jobs, apparently Mr. Roberts doesn’t realize there are basically three categories of job: those requiring degree(s); those requiring advanced skills, like chef training, machinist, or auto mechanic for example; and no-skill jobs like busboy, cashier or lawn mowing.

For young people with only a high school diploma or less, only the last group of jobs is really open. This leaves them with minimum wages, little or no opportunity of advancement or improvement. Most employers seem to have reduced or dropped in-house paid skills training, farming that out to community colleges, which are the real answer. The problem comes up when the colleges ask to be paid. For employer-supported training, everything works. For the rest, there is a real problem. Paying for rent, food, taxes and transportation doesn’t leave a lot for college tuition.

This is the real problem the president is trying to address. If Mr. Roberts has a better solution, with actual numbers, I’d like to see it instead of the usual right-wing carping without any realistic workable solutions.

— Jacqueline Burke

Salisbury

Dumbing down grades

According to an article in the Salisbury Post on Jan. 15, the N.C. State Board of Education will change the grading system.  The grade scale that qualifies for each letter grade will change.

As I see it, students will no longer have to work hard enough to get a grade of 93 to qualify for an “A.”  Instead, they will have to get only a 90 (three points lower).  To qualify for a “B”, they will not need a grade of 85; instead, they will need only an 80 (five points lower).  In other words, an 80 used to be a “C” but will now be a “B.”  To get a “C” they will need not work for a 77 but a 70 (seven points lower).  A 60 will now qualify for a “D” letter grade; it used to be 70.

Finally, anything below 60 will be a failing grade instead of 70, as it has been.  Another way to look at it shows an 80 goes from “C” to “B”; 75 from “D” to “C”.

The standards are being lowered.  This is a continuation of the dumbing down process that has been going on for decades in this country’s school system.

This article is about education and there is a grammatical error.  It reads, “A new weighting system … will only impact incoming freshmen.”  That ending should read, “but will impact only incoming freshmen.”

It said in the article that the grading change will put the North Carolina schools “more in line with what other school districts are doing.”  Why not hold to higher standards and let other districts raise theirs?

— June Clancy

Salisbury

Justice for Erica

My wish for the new year is that Erica Parsons would soon be found, the guilty people who caused her disappearance would be discovered and made public, justice served, case closed. We all need closure. It literally tears your heart to shreds every time you go past the house she disappeared from.

Praying for God’s blessing and help in this situation. In Jesus’ name, amen. We love you, Erica.

— Ellie Mae Lambert

Salisbury

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