Letters to the Editor — Richardson ISD, teacher shortage, drug prices, cybersecurity

Readers talk about the Richardson ISD’s plans for cellphones; suggest a way to entice more to teaching; ask why drug companies don’t skip advertising to help with lowering prices; and would like more done to stop hackers.

Phone solution in the bag

Re: “Schools consider strict cell policy — Secondary students would have to place phones in Yondr pouches every day,” Wednesday, Metro & Business.

Just a few short years ago, I visited with a young man who taught, I think, in the Garland school district. I asked him about the kids bringing cellphones to school. He had a very interesting answer. He asked if I remembered big shoe bags hanging on a closet door. Perhaps something a grandmother had.

I said yes and he told me he got one of those bags and hung it in his classrooms and the students put their phones there when they entered the room. He said it worked well. I just hope the phones were turned off, I forgot to ask him but I bet that was a requirement.

Gay Sinz, Richardson

Cellphones a learning aid

While I agree that cellphones might be doing more harm than good, they have better uses. For instance, why not use them during lunch to read The Dallas Morning News? I was in band and we used our phones for drill charts. Keeping our phones with us would allow us to study new drills during class downtime.

I feel like Richardson ISD’s decision was more about politics rather than the students’ interests or hobbies, including band.

Kaden Reese Martin, Richardson

Pay tuition for future teachers

Both my son and his wife are public school teachers. I am well attuned to problems facing them today. So are prospective Texas teachers.

We need to find a means of enticing those to actually end up in Texas classrooms.

One of the best methods I can think of is using part of $20 billion in our University of Texas system endowment account to pay the tuition of those wanting to go into teaching. This fund is primarily funded by oil and gas royalty payments on leased land owned by Texas.

Five percent ($1 billion) is doled out to the UT and Texas A&M University systems each year. Most of the rest just draws interest and builds.

In return for paid tuition and maintaining a 3.0 grade-point average, new teachers would graduate from college loan-free and sign contracts to teach in a Texas public school for “x” number of years. This is how the U.S. military has gotten needed physicians and attorneys for decades. It works.

Currently it is almost impossible for a new teacher to pay off student loans on a starting salary while having a decent vehicle and home or starting a family.

The idea of wanting to be a schoolteacher goes out the window because of too many better opportunities.

Our kids and grandchildren do not get the best. It’s fact.

John T. Johnson, North Arlington

Pharmaceutical ads costly

How much would drugs cost if pharmaceutical companies were not permitted to advertise their drugs? Why are they promoting drugs to the public? After all, usually only physicians can prescribe. So, the idea that they spend millions to produce colorful commercials to sell drugs to people who are not allowed by law to buy them unless prescribed by a doctor is rather questionable.

When one thinks about it, drug companies could save millions, reduce the price of their drugs and serve the public better if they simply stopped spending money to advertise.

Why doesn’t someone introduce a bill making drug companies be responsible? The money they save would pay for any research needed.

Annette Naish, Austin

Why Iowa?

The winds of political change are blowing. Younger voters and diverse population demographics are affecting a momentum for new and evolutionary election processes, especially with Democrats.

Case in point. Should Iowa retain its decades-old position as having the first decision-making vote in the 2024 presidential primaries?

Iowa’s caucus methodology requires motivated participants to indicate their choices at night in mid-winter while shuffling about groups in high school gymnasiums. Tedious. Time-consuming. Low turnout.

The scene reminds one of earlier girls’ basketball in Iowa. Six-person teams. Three offensive players on one side of the court. Three defensive on the other. Static.

Corny Iowa may embrace its field of dreams electoral traditions. But our national political system requires updating that addresses the convictions of the current populations.

Ed Kominski, Weatherford

Secure email accounts

Re: “Cybersecurity must be greater priority — Government’s inaction on this important issue leaves everyone vulnerable,” by William Cooper, Wednesday Opinion.

Thank you for presenting Cooper’s column. As the recipient of poor cybersecurity protection by a major company, this is long overdue. Yes, I continue to be hacked from within this same company, whose service has been discontinued.

Fraud units with professional humans are working closely and effectively in determining ownership of accounts. One major company continues to use robots, which cannot decipher use of password and identity changes that a hacker can make.

Something must be done to protect and secure email accounts. Hacked accounts should not remain open indefinitely.

Audrey Efseroff, Far North Dallas

Humor is what’s missing

In today’s hostile polarized world, an important element is gone from our Washington politicians. And that same element is missing among us — the highly opinionated electorate. Rather than attacking those who hold opposing views, when is the last time you heard a politician use self-deprecating humor? Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan were famous for their humor.

Rather than attacking others, try poking fun at yourself. It is a wonderful feeling.

Paul Schultz, Fairview

Protect barbecue

It’s no wonder the world is a mess. First, there was low-sodium Spam Lite, then almond milk, whatever that is. Now Oreo cookies have peanut butter filling. What’s next, tailgating with barbecue tofu as a main course?

Stuart Johnson, Red Oak

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