Letters: Portman should stop repeating 'party-line takeover propaganda'

·3 min read
David Fitzsimmons
David Fitzsimmons

Voucher programs offer best education and academic success for many

I write in response to the Jan. 16 letter, “Anti-voucher lawsuit a ‘courageous’ supported act."

More: 100 public schools are suing Ohio, saying EdChoice voucher programs are unconstitutional

I have been involved with Cristo Rey Columbus High School since its inception. At Cristo Rey, 94% of the students rely on vouchers to help pay for their tuitions. These students are admitted to Cristo Rey because their families qualify as financially distressed and in most cases because the public high school in their district is deemed to be failing.

Jayzmynn Ramsey, left, and Faith Nash dissect a mussel in a science class at St. Joseph Catholic School – a school that participates in Ohio’s educational choice voucher program.
Jayzmynn Ramsey, left, and Faith Nash dissect a mussel in a science class at St. Joseph Catholic School – a school that participates in Ohio’s educational choice voucher program.

Following are some key statistics involving Cristo Rey students versus students in Ohio urban public schools: graduation rate of 100% vs. 76%; college attendance rate of 85% vs. 42%; and college completion rate within six years of H.S. graduation of 42% vs. 15%.

More: Ohio legalized school vouchers to help kids in failing schools. Is that what's happening?

The 72 students of the Class of 2021 received 504 letters of acceptance from more than 140 colleges and universities across the nation and earned over $8.16 million in academic scholarships to fund their college education over the next four years. (Ohio urban public school data source, “2020 Ohio Education by the Numbers” by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, https://ohiobythenumbers.com)

Ohio urban schools face several issues and correcting these shortcomings is critical to the future of students at those schools as well as the communities in which they live.

While these issues are being addressed, students cannot be held hostage to underperforming schools and must be allowed to pursue the best possible education available to them.

More: Plan would give every Ohio K-12 student a voucher to attend private school

Alternative schools such as Cristo Rey offer the opportunity for students to achieve their full potential and they are made possible through the voucher system.

Mark Corna, Powell


Adopting voting rights laws not a 'federal takeover,' as Portman claims

Ohio's Sen. Rob Portman said that Democrats were using "overwrought, exaggerated and deeply divisive" accusations to carry out "an unprecedented federal takeover of our election system."

Rob Portman
Rob Portman

That is, to put it politely, a gross mischaracterization. He knows quite well what Republicans are up to in statehouses in 19 states (so far) with repressive voting legislation and the removal of honest election officials of their own party.

More: Letters: GIF invented in Columbus. Portman must do what is 'honorable' 'Ludicrous' to say police see Black people as 'enemy'

These radicals will rig future elections in their party's favor to the extent that they are able, if legislation to curtail their efforts is not enacted.

I could not disagree more with the senator's characterization of Democratic efforts to protect voting rights as "an unprecedented federal takeover of our election system."

When "Big Lie" Trump supporters and their party allies are working assiduously across the country to make it harder to vote, adopting federal standards is no "federal takeover."

More: Barack Obama: 'Our democracy isn’t a given.' Voting right must be 'vigilantly' preserved, protected.

Does the senator also believe that outlawing slavery and discrimination in workplaces and schools, or enacting laws that protect worker safety and women's health and safety are also "unprecedented federal takeovers?"

Instead of repeating that party-line "takeover" propaganda, he should state specifically just what it is in these bills that he thinks would do any harm to free and fair elections.

More: Opinion: Congress must pass voting rights bill to prevent Republican gerrymandering

If Portman follows through and votes with what he declared, citizens who pay independent attention to our lawmakers will remember him as having chosen to support his party's subterfuge over defending the foundational U.S. political right.

More: Ohio is part of a shameful trend to erect barriers to voting in America

It's not too late for Portman, and other decent members of his party to stand up for keeping our elections free, fair and accessible.

Charles Quinn, Columbus

David Fitzsimmons
David Fitzsimmons

This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Letters: What are the benefits of private school voucher programs?