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October 7, 2009

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4 o:o The Arlington Times OPiNiON Wednesday, October 7, 2009 THE MARYSVILLE GLOBE THE ARLINGTON TIMES THE NEWSPAPER AT THE HEART & SOUL OF OUR COMMUNITY TELEPHONE/FAx/EMAIL/WEBSITE THE MARYSVILLE GLOBE 360-659-1300 360-658-0350 FAX THE ARLINGTON TIMES 360-659-1300 360-658-0350 FAX VoiceMail is available through the main telephone numbers HOURS: Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. WEB SITES," www.marysvilleg/ SUBSCRIPTION RATES 1 year - $2995 2 years - $4500 Mailed or Delivered* * Limited zip codes apply, 20% of each subscription will be donated to our local school systems. EDA TEOOORO 360-659-1300 EXT. 6050 m llmazm MN, INY BASEL 360-659-1300 ~. 1550 ADVERTISING DEADLINES DISPLAY: Fri, Noon for following Wed. CLASSIFIEDS DEADLINES Line Ads: Fri. at Noon for Weds, Display Ads: Fri. at Noon for Weds. Special Occasions: Fri. at Noon for Weds. 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LETTERS *.% OPINIONS o:o COLUMNS o.% READINGS S i i GUEST EDITORIAL by Stuart Hunt Educator, conductor and arts supporter hanks to Jim Strickland for his musings on 'q'he public pur- pose of our schools" last week. We need this discussion, all across America. Jim listed many valuable and worthy purposes for schooling, public and pri- vate. I would, however, respectfully dis- agree with his main focus, which is to teach democracy. I completely agree with him about it's importance, but, in this increasingly global community, though we as Americans might wish that all coun- tries were democratic (although we are a republic, a democratic republic to be sure), perhaps the higher value would be that we equip and educate thinking, responsible citiz tts and that portends. aP enter their o dt- will be fi'i and next to citizens whose values are at odds with our own. Would it not be a higher value that those we produce (edu- cation does have a producO be equipped to engage those of a different, perhaps even angry, nationalistic/fanatic culture who have been taught to disdain/despise or even hate anything American? Democ- racy may be of value to their former home- land. We are even fighting two wars with that as our stated goal. But in a clash of cultures, transcendent and timeless val- ues that help us to dialog and understand each other will be our lingua franca. Aristotle, Cicero, Plato, Socrates, Michiavelli and a host of others whose intellect and philosophies have guided nations for millennia, all understood the practical benefits of studying and applying dance, theater, visual arts and music criti- cal thinking skills. To that end, the easiest and most effective method to transmit val- ues of culture and understanding consid- ered and inculcated in formal education is, to quote Washington State Supervisor of the Arts AnnRene Joseph, "more Arts." Prof. James Zull in TheArt of Chang- to shape their character, instead of fit ing the Brain states: "Creating takes place into someone's idea of yet another failed in the front cortex ... where the process educational experiment to "reform of creativity is located and how it seems education," in this case rejected by the to work." It brings us face to face with Gates Foundation, who initially funded one of the teacher's greatest challenges the SLC experiment because, in their -- the necessity of giving control over to words: Based on analysis of our own the learner. If we can't do that, we can work, the foundation found that chang- become an impediment to learning rather ing the structure of schools (from large than a support. Zull states that all classes schools to small learning communities) /disciplines should be taught the way the wasn't enough to generate the overall Arts are taught for a list of reasons, and changes in quality of education. Based creatively makes his case. on this period of analysis, the foundation That said, how could parents or stu- decided that grantmaking should take a dents continue to learn critical thinking different approach." Do you suppose the skills while the schools were busy elimi- Gates Foundation might have a wider/ nating that which would best help them clearer view of education and what will acquire them? This has occurred at be of greaterbenefit to all? Cedarcrest, elementaries and, worst of Hasn't Marysville been through all, M-PHS. The Arts in Marysville used enough drama the past 1O years? Unless to be open to all. If plans were allowed and until the community wakes up and to continue, less than half of the M-PHS stops marginalizing and gutting what students would have had access because used to be a wonderful pool in which they were not in one of the number-lim- thousands of students could explore and ited SLCs which contained arts, taught learn from the Arts, democracy/citizen- by certified, highly qualified instructors, ship/careers, et al will also be substan- State law also states that arts classes are tially less than they could because the non-substitutable, that is, students may full capacity of their creativity was never not substitute a different class for Dance, explored. The Arts are the crucible in Theater, Visual Arts or Music and get a which creativity bubbles. graduation credit. In 2006, before the In Ian MacEwan's book Saturday, we misguided move to SLCs and the mas- come across this passage: sire administrative increase needed to "There are these rare moments when manage them, the M-PHS Principal's musicians together touch something budget was $982,900.65. By 2009 it had sweeter than they've ever found before grown to $1,425,723.52, an increase of in rehearsals or performance, beyond $442,822.87 in three years. So, clearly, the merely collaborative or techni- money i, not the issue -- priorities are. cally proficient, when their expression The Arts, and with them, critical think- becomes as easy and graceful as friend- ing skills were not dwindling away, they ship or love." This is when they give us were being systematically excised, a glimpse of what we might be, of our This year, parents facing even fewer best selves, and of an impossible world options for their students spoke up. All in which you give everything you have music ensembles are, despite plans to to others, but lose nothing of your self. close them, open to all students on cam- Out in the real world there exist detailed pus. Amazing. And do we have any idea plans, visionary projects for peaceful what will happen at M-PHS when Getch- realms, all conflicts resolved, happiness ell opens? No plans have been revealed, for everyone, for ever mirages for which and given the propensity to close arts people are prepared to die and kill. But options rather than open them, the future only in music, and only on rare occa- does not look bright for those who have sions, does the curtain actually lift on already lost much. The de facto "solution" this dream of community, and it's tan- has been more zero-hour and seventh- talizingly conjured, before fading away hour classes so kids from all SLCs can with the last notes. have music, but that doesn't really solve This is life-changing. This transcends equal access. There is no bus transpor- nationality, age, race, religion, or politi- tati0n for zero hour, for example, so are cal philosophy. This is not democracy. It these classes really "equal access?" is the power of art to bring humanity to Whatever happened to "high those who will make a difference in our school," where a kid could explore, world for centuries to come. This is how be well-rounded, and find curricular students learn to think. and co-curricular areas where his tal- ents could blossom, and where any Stuart Hunt, educator, conductor and student could explore the hopes and arts supporter can be contacted at North- dreams they,ve acquired all their lives President's vision for health care reform GUEST EDITORIAL by Dr. Roger Stark resident Obama recently addressed a joint session of Con- gress and the American public. As always, his speech was force- ful and well-delivered with just the appro- priate amount of emotion. The responses to his address have been somewhat confusing, though. It's almost as if different listeners heard only what they wanted to hear. Transcripts of the speech are available and here is exactly what he said and what he didn't say. First, he stated three goals of health care reform 1) provide more security and stability to those who already have health insurance, 2) provide health insurance to those who don't have it now, and 3) slow the growth of health care costs. Obama hopes to do this with bi-partisan support, but he went on to say reform is so impor- tant he is willing to pass a bill with only Democrat votes. He said nothing in his reform would "require" a person to change insurance plans and that all plans would cover "basic" and "preventive" care as defined by the government. He favors a "public" option to compete against private insur- ance companies and a government-con- trolled insurance "exchange" to serve as a market portal for the various plans. He advocated for imposing a"best practices" he was running for president. requirement, again as defined by the gov- Perhaps it was an oversight, but ernment, on how doctors treat patients, the President didn't point out that over The President said he supports an 50 percent of people with individual or individual mandate requiring every employer sponsored health insurance American adult to purchase health insur- would be forced into the "public" option ance or pay alarge fine, and an employer for purely economic reasons. Nothing mandate or a fine for "large" businesses, would "require" them to change plans, but He also waded into the underwriting if the government program has the same arena by seeking to require the guar- benefits and is cheaper, individuals and anteed issue of insurance regardless of employers would be foolish not to switch. pre-existing conditions. He would cap He also didn't explain how an individ- out-of-pocket expenses for individuals, ual mandate would be unenforceable, but with no limit on health insurance claims would allow the government to dictate payments. Both new underwriting insurance benefits and pricing. A guar- requirements would greatly increase the anteed issue of health insurance sounds cost of buying most insurance policies, great, but would be analogous to a person Under current law, the Medicare buying home owners insurance after the Trust Fund cannot be raided to finance house caught fire; there would be no rea- reform, but the President wants to create son to get insurance until you got sick. a special panel to eliminate waste and The President's plan is actually very fraud and make Medicare more efficient, similar to the original House bill which He would expand Medicare Part D to the non-partisan Congressional Budget cover all prescription drugs for seniors. Office estimated would add $1.1 trillion The President said he believes his to the deficit. Obviously, this would not plan would be deficit neutral while slow- be budget neutral, unless taxes increased ing the rise in federal spending. The cost dramatically on the rich and the middle would be $900 billion over the first 10 class. Also, ifthere is so much waste and years and would be paid for by taxing the fraud in the current system, why not fix rich and by a new premium tax on insur- the problem now? ance companies. Government subsidies Basically, the President's plan for would be provided for the poor with tax health care reform has the same essen- credits based on financial need. tial features as the original House bill He stated tort reform would happen (HR3200) and the Senate Health Care by directing the Secretary of Health Committee bill (Kennedy-Dodd). By and Human Services to initiate pilot pro- listening carefully to the meaning of his grams on the state level and track their words and not the eloquence of his deliv- success, cry, you soon realize he is advocating a So what didn't the President say? For substantial increase in the government's starters, he didn't mention the fact Repub- role in America's health care and a licans had submitted over 50 amendments $1 trillion increase in the federal deficit to the House bill under consideration -- to pay for his plan. none of which were accepted. He also didn't't~ll the American public the Repub- Dr. Roger Stark is a retired surgeon licans had offered over 30 health reform and a health care policy analyst with bills of their own -- again, none of which Washington Policy Center, a non-partisan were considered in committee by the independent policy research organization majority party. This go-it-alone approach in Seattle and Olympia. For more infor- by the Democrats does not sound like mation contact WPC at 206-937-9691 or the "bipartisanship" he called for when !]iiiii!i!i Vol. 1 21, No. 11 o Wednesday, October 7, 2009 Creativity in Olympia can lead to meaningful education and lower health care costs for you GUEST EDiTORiAL by Rep. Mike Hope ome say health care reform is needed now. Some say leave it alone. While I don't support government-run plans, I do think there are solutions for decreas- ing costs and increasing access. At the same time we debate health care reform around the country, elected officials in Washington struggle with a workable education funding formula that ensures all students receive the same opportu- nities around the state. I find it interesting that the decision makers in our state and nation can't connect the dots. Recently, I attended a community meeting where one of my House colleagues discussed inadequate education funding. The only answers he had were to either raise taxes, or cut programs. While education remains the paramount duty of the state as mandated by our state con- stitution, we see blows to education budgets every year. Just this year, the Legislature voted to cut $600 million from funding for reduced classroom sizes. I opposed this move as I have heard from many of you that these cuts hurt children the most. Though the federal stimulus back-filled this cut with $362 million in one-time dollars, we still saw teachers lose their jobs and more children squeezed into full classrooms in recent weeks. At the same time, health care costs are increasing, workers lose their insurance when they lose or change jobs, and the neediest are being forgotten. While the federal government works on a nationwide plan, there is a statewide plan with some fresh ideas. Our plan moves government mandates out of the way, increases choice, allows people to purchase basic insurance that covers their greatest needs, and reduces costs. This isn't a government-sponsored plan, and it's not a status-quo plan. It's a give-people- the-freedom-to-choose-what-they-need plan. Our state is set to spend $5.2 billion on health care in the 2009-2011 budget. The federal gov- ernment will spend an additional $4.2 billion on health care in our state. Last month, I attended a meeting in Chicago with 70 representatives from 30 different states. While each state has a different approach to health care reform, we agreed that health care costs affect our states' budgets more than any other budget item. If we can provide meaningful, comprehen- sive health care reform, I don't think we would need to cut programs or ask for more taxes to fully fund education. Reform of the Basic Health Plan (BHP) is one example. I supported a bipartisan measure this year in Olympia that would have saved the state $300 million every two years by transforming the BHP to serve the truly needy and offer subsidies to other resi- dents to purchase private health insurance. But the bill didn't receive a public hearing. What we really need is bold leadership and real solutions within the funding taxpayers are already providing. With this year's budget deficit came talks of cuts. The BHP was one program that suffered. The state Health Care Authority chose to increase insurance premi- ums, pushing the neediest off state-subsidized health care and keeping on those who can afford private insurance plans. There are two serious problems with this. One, this means our state can only provide for the neediest during good economic times. Talk about backwards. And two, families who can afford private insurance are choosing the state-subsidized plan because it's cheaper, put- ting a greater burden on taxpayers. When deciding where to find additional edu- cation funding, the state need not look further than the debate raging around the country: health care reform. In addition, we must pri- oritize education in our budget. Then we'll see a more skilled workforce, reduced crime and more citizens who can thrive in this state. Representative Mike Hope, R-Lake Stevens, represents the state's 44th Legislative District. He serves on the Education and Education Appropriations Committees in the House of Rep- resentatives. He can be contacted at