Opening ranks

Regarding your article, “Opening Ranks,” in your May 12 edition: I cannot help adding that my father — who was Boy Scout executive of the Heart ’O Texas Boy Scout Council here in Waco in the late 1940s and most of the 1950s and later became Chief Boy Scout Executive of America — would have been so thrilled to have read it himself. To have read about these girls’ excitement and their eagerly learning about themselves and gaining new skills, as he experienced for the first time almost a hundred years ago, would have given him the greatest pleasure. Thank you for reporting and sharing this article.

Harvey Price Jr., Waco

Do no harm

As a parent following school funding this legislative session, I have a nagging question: Are some legislators committing malpractice?

I’m a physician. In medicine, if we ignore evidence-based research and cause harm to our patients, we commit malpractice. State legislators have heard from researchers that standardized tests do not demonstrate what a child learns but rather how well a child tests. Yet some legislators still want to tie funding to these tests — testing that costs millions in taxpayer dollars. Furthermore, if outcomes-based funding passes, it will disproportionately hurt the most vulnerable: poor children, English learners, children with learning disabilities, etc. These high-stakes tests cause undue anxiety in lots of children. They create job dissatisfaction in our educators.

Most teachers went into education because they wanted to teach the whole child — not teach to a test. They didn’t go into the field for the money but in spite of the money. What should bring them joy is getting dried up by state overregulation. The rule of “first do no harm” is being violated by the committee substitute of House Bill 3 that has come out of the Texas Senate. How can we continue to allow this to happen?

Mary Ann Gonzales, Austin

A voice in the matter

Who are the people affected by a pregnancy? Certainly the pregnant woman should be the chief decision-maker. There also has to be a male husband or sexual partner. Both the woman’s and the man’s extended families may care about the pregnancy. And let’s not forget the baby in the pregnant woman’s womb.

Suppose the woman is deciding whether to end the pregnancy. Who is most affected by an abortion? Few would argue it’s the husband or sex partner or the extended families. Many persons believe it’s the pregnant woman because her body is holding the baby in-utero and she faces her own future and that of the baby. Others think the baby is most affected because he/she faces a life-or-death situation.

This brings us to Ashley Bean Thornton’s May 7 column that describes four potential scenarios faced by pregnant women. In all four cases, Thornton’s decision rule for the pregnant woman is “[make] the decision that you believe is best for you.” What about the baby — a human being in the process of formation? What would be the outcome if the baby in the womb had a voice in the decision?

Erika McBurnett, Waco