Protect our clean air; keep emission tests
As the mom of two young children and the Tennessee field coordinator for Moms Clean Air Force, I was disappointed to hear that state Sen. Bo Watson and Rep. Mike Carter introduced a bill calling for the elimination of vehicle emission testing in Tennessee. Vehicle emission testing is a way in which cities and counties protect their community members from health-harming tailpipe pollution.
By eliminating this common-sense protection, we would unnecessarily jeopardize the health of the most vulnerable among us — our children, the elderly and those living with respiratory ailments, such as COPD and asthma.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Memphis is the hardest place in the country to live with asthma due, in part, to its poor air quality. Knoxville and Chattanooga respectively jockey for seventh and eighth positions. Tennessee is the only state to have three cities listed in the top 10 worst places to live with asthma, a title no one wants to boast.
Tennesseans need protection from tailpipe pollution.
No one wants more pollution and dirtier air, but that's exactly what will happen in Tennessee if we eliminate vehicle emission testing.
Please step up against all hate
Hate groups are trying to disrupt college campuses, including the campus of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Recently, Black History Month announcements posted on the UTC campus were vandalized with literature supporting Nazism. These acts are despicable and do not belong in our community.
Hate groups responsible for these and other shameful actions have emboldened a president who has made numerous racist comments and has a history of treating minorities poorly. His comments and actions have targeted minority people both within the United States (example: fellow citizens of Puerto Rico) and outside the United States.
Our members of Congress — Sens. Corker and Alexander and Rep. Fleischmann — need to take immediate and real action against hate groups. They need to support legislation that promotes inclusivity and equity. They need to denounce the president, the leader of their political party, every time he makes or tweets a racist comment. They need to be present, standing strong with members of our community.
I value living in a diverse and inclusive community. I hope that Corker, Alexander and Fleischmann share this sentiment and do whatever is possible to prevent hate groups from harming members of our community.
Dr. Loren Hayes
Reading ensures future success
I read the Times Free Press article about failing schools in Hamilton County and seeking another "new" plan. Having taught in the Hamilton County public school system, now retired and volunteering in a public elementary school, it is very clear why our schools historically underperform.
Students who don't know how to read are passed "socially" on to the next grade. Reading is fundamental. We as adults all know its truth is more than just a saying. As illiterate students are passed on from grade to grade, they fail science, math, social studies and language arts. Their attention spans wane due to chronic failure.
Teachers valiantly struggle in vain with children who become disinterested in learning because they have been socially passed from grade to grade without mastering that one basic — reading.
Wake up, administrators. Teach our children to read. They are our future. They are our future workforce.
A simple plan: Begin where you are and set up focused literacy classrooms in every school where students can master the art of reading.