Tenure vital to quality education
Re: “Bill seeks to end tenure — Some Texas professors say the measure would hinder hiring, academic freedom,” Sunday Metro story.
The latest politically motivated scheme to weaken higher education in Texas by attempting to eliminate tenure at our state’s universities is short-sighted. As an emerita full professor with 40 years of experience in higher education, and former college dean of education at three universities, I would be remiss if I did not warn the public that tenure is as important to the institution as it is to the professor.
The tenure process ensures that an institution is likely to retain top-notch talent or reject those not meeting its standard. An assistant professor hired on the tenure track must prove their worth in three categories: research, service and teaching. They are rigorously evaluated yearly.
Tenured professors must also submit to post-tenure reviews at intervals, and they can be fired for non-performance or other reasons. Tenured faculty do much more than teach courses. They write grants, research and publish. They create new majors, improve services for students, assist with fundraising and contribute to the reputation of their institution.
They are invested! Texans must not allow divisive politics to corrupt and ruin the finest higher educational system in the nation.
Sheryl Santos-Hatchett, Dallas/Mountain Creek
Where is Abbott’s concern on guns?
Re: “Abbott: Together, we can save lives — To save more Texans from fentanyl, legislation, law enforcement and awareness must be pulling in same direction,” by Greg Abbott, Sunday Opinion.
After reading Gov. Greg Abbott’s op-ed about what he is doing to prevent further fentanyl deaths, I wonder if the same concern could have been directed to the Uvalde mass shooting, as well as other mass shootings in our state.
Rather than “one pill robbed Danica of all her dreams,” he could have written “one gun robbed 19 children and 2 teachers of their dreams.” While he wrote, “Fentanyl is now the leading killer of Americans between 18 and 45,” he could have written “firearms are the leading killer of children 1-19.”
While all deaths from either guns or fentanyl are tragic, Abbott’s comment about this drug “taking the lives of 4,800 unsuspecting Texans” gives me pause. By this time, I believe most Texans (parents and kids alike) know, or should know, that buying drugs off the street carries with it the risk of death. Teachers, parents and clergy should be bringing that message to all children and teenagers in their charge.
Hans Voorn, Frisco
Another day, another shooting
Here I sit, watching the massacre of the day on Sunday evening television. How long before it’s the massacre of the hour?
Michael Coldiron, Richardson
Studying short-term rentals silly
Re: “Short-term rentals study in the works — Council moves forward on naming task force, but ban is still possible,” Thursday Metro & Business story.
So, a short-term rental study is in the works. Boy, am I relieved! Now that I know that Plano has proposed a task force to study the problem and make recommendations, I am assured that this problem that is now plaguing virtually all cities will eventually have a solution.
Reread that previous sentence again, and I’ll wait while you stop laughing.
Task forces are famous for spending a lot of time discussing problems and they usually either don’t come up with a solution or arrive at the solution that has already been proposed by those most seriously affected by the problem being considered.
Most cities have ordinances against operating a public business from a residential property. If a short-term rental doesn’t qualify as a public business, I don’t know what does.
Don’t study this problem. The right solution is a ban on short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods.
Katherine Creech, Garland
Legislators aren’t protecting kids
Re: “Judge: Foster kids in danger — She says state overuses drugs and doesn’t protect youth from sexual abuse,” Thursday news story.
Our top elected officials in Austin try to justify their bizarre obsession with criminalizing care for transgender youth as “protecting our kids.” Yet, for years on end, they have fought tooth and nail against basic commonsense improvements in the grossly underfunded system that is supposed to care for thousands of abused and neglected children.
And nearly a year after the horrific tragedy at Robb Elementary, there has been no meaningful action taken to “protect our kids” from gun violence. We need leadership in Austin that will focus its attention and resources on the real issues that put our kids at risk.
Walt Marston, Dallas
Not everything is optics
Re: “In Tennessee …” by Fred R. Neary, Thursday Letters.
Regarding the comment, “They should have known the optics would be bad and appear racially motivated, but arrogance and power trumped good judgment.”
Is everything about race, power and arrogance with the left regarding their view of those with whom they disagree?
I contend that the Republican legislators knew how their actions might look, but came to the conclusion that using bullhorns on the floor of the state house to gin up support for an issue is not how civilized people are supposed to govern. I applaud lawmakers who had the courage to vote their consciences over optics.
Jack Bailey, Tyler
Freedoms are threatened
I was struck by entwining themes in the Sunday opinion and news section. Editorials and letters called for freedom of the press and noted how threats against reporters and editors thwart their ability to report the news honestly.
Yet there were articles about a plethora of bills proposed in the Texas Legislature clamping down on cities’ freedom to set their own laws as their intimate knowledge of their residents indicates, bills taking away universities’ freedom to make decisions about their own faculty’s tenures and the open season on citizens caused by the state’s refusal to consider commonsense gun laws.
Amy Martin, Dallas
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