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August 27, 2013

NEWS AND TRIBUNE LETTERS — For Aug. 27

— Tony Bennett’s abrupt resignation from the position of education commissioner for the Florida Public Schools makes me wonder what new problems and conflicts of interest will surface when we get the full report from the investigative commission studying the situation.

His resignation leads me to believe that there may be many more transgressions that will be uncovered. Generally when people are innocent and have a solid record to defend, they stand strong and fight knowing they will be vindicated. It is a sad day when the Indianapolis Public Schools needs to file a public records request to get the full story of why four of its schools were turned over to private charter operators. We can trust that under the leadership of the current Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction, Glenda Ritz, we will get a complete and fair report of what transpired under the Bennett administration. When public schools are shut down and sold off to private for profit charter schools, there must be transparency in the process. Ms. Ritz is a breath of fresh air in the office and gives us all hope that we can look forward to a process of respect and collaboration as we seek to improve conditions and outcomes in schools that have been under-performing.

As an educator, I can say unequivocally that teachers are not opposed to school accountability as suggested in the editorial by the Evansville Courier and Press [printed in the News and Tribune Aug 15]. Public school teachers are tireless in their work to educate, and work under conditions that are becoming increasingly difficult. Their voices and ideas must be heard in the debate about how to better our schools.

— Sharon Grabowski, New Albany

When we say that we have neighbors we usually mean that we live next door, near us or around us and we may not even know who our neighbors are. Neighbors go far beyond this. The true neighbor is depicted as the Good Samaritan when a certain man fell upon thieves and they took everything that he had, stripped him and wounded him, and left him for dead. But the Good Samaritan neighbor saw him and had compassion on him and helped and took care of him.

Your neighbors are those who have compassion and who reach out to help others. The signs of the times deal with the same situation as listed above. I am so grateful to experience having two compassionate neighbors, Katelyn Walker of New Albany and Nedra Geary of New Albany and their families that helped in the most critical time of my life, in fact they have always been there and have been great blessing to me and my sister. I am also so grateful for the many prayers, cards, flowers and visitations from Christ Gospel International Inc., in Jeffersonville, Pastor Berniece Hicks, Pastor Robert and Mrs. Mitchell and their daughter Angel, Sister Jin Lin Carter, Dorarette Harley [Papa New Guinea], Benny Ben, J.D. Hanlon, Kissimmee, Fla., Ray and Joyce Walker of Verona, N.Y., Ann Maymon and family of New Albany, and a special thanks to the University of Louisville trauma center, Frazier Rehab nurses and staff, the Galt House staff and employees.

Do not take life for granted for it is too precious and so are your neighbors. “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

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