I want to thank Carol Peppe Hewitt and the folks behind Slow Money NC for how they are helping our local farmers keep their land and businesses thriving ["Radical finance," May 22]. Their work is a great example of everyday citizens coming together to address socioeconomic injustice within our communities.
In a time when government policy overwhelmingly favors giant, out-of-state agribusinesses, our farmers need all the help they can get. This summer, as Congress debates the farm bill, North Carolina has a huge opportunity to get reforms passed that will allow our farmers to produce and distribute more food to our farmers markets, restaurants, school systems and families.
During the farm bill debates last week, our Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan voted against labeling GMOs. How can this be? We all have a right to know what we are feeding our children. Our senator is not voting as a representative of the people; she is voting like someone who is cracking under the weight of Big Ag and the $100 million they spend on lobbyists each year.
I urge all Tar Heels who care about the fate of our farmers and food supply to call Sen. Hagan and let her know that in North Carolina, local food and farms come first.
Tizzy Giordano, Chapel Hill
Sponsors of House Bill 944, the school voucher bill, proposed changes during the bill's first committee hearing that include lowering the income required for eligibility, decreasing the total amount of money awarded and increasing public accountability. [For more on this topic, see "The GOP's free-market reforms are aimed at public education," April 17.]
Let us not forget that the voucher concept itself is flawed. Siphoning funds from public schools will not generate the savings it claims to, but will instead take much-needed funding from the numerous fixed costs schools incur each year. Private schools, not parents or students, will be empowered with choice—able to cherry-pick some students and return others, often the most vulnerable, to an underfunded public school system.
Our public education system is far from perfect, but school boards, teachers and staff are working hard and making gains. We can aid in these gains ... or we can dismantle public education as we know it.
Ed Dunlap, Raleigh
The writer is the executive director of the North Carolina School Boards Association.