U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ agenda to privatize schools will block disadvantaged youths from opportunities to achieve anything resembling the American Dream.

I was once a disadvantaged youth. I grew up on the free-lunch program and met the criteria of an at-risk student. Luckily, I had free and open access to an excellent public school education. I also was able to attend a state university thanks to a variety of grants. Public schools and programs geared towards low-income individuals open many doors for me.

DeVos’ School Choice movement would do away with that.

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 The School Choice movement supports the expansion and deregulation of charter schools, and it promotes the use of vouchers, which subsidize private schools. Deregulation of charter schools allows private entities access to public monies without proper oversight. Vouchers have proven to produce lower test scores among the disadvantaged students they are supposed to benefit.  To make matters worse, in areas where voucher programs are the biggest, more than 80 percent of vouchers are used by students who do not attend a public school. Vouchers lead to subsidizing private education.

A community that supports public schools will reap benefits that multiply exponentially. I have paid back the help I got by teaching for most of my career in schools with major low-income populations. I call on others to support their local public schools, attend school board meetings and oppose DeVos’ harmful and deceitful School Choice agenda.

Theresa Coomer, Glenview

Universal health care key to future

While the public’s attention has been distracted with the “tweets” from our child president, Republicans are crafting ways to deny 20 million people health care. That this immoral and cruel proposal is even being considered is a tribute to the successful propaganda efforts of the very people who should be forced to rein in their exploitation of the public.

We are at the mercy of the private insurance companies who have caused the U.S. to have the most expensive health care system in the world. People die for lack of health care in the richest country in the world while these companies reap profits beyond dreams. It is beyond time for nationalized health care insurance that is common around the world in other nations that do not acquiesce to every whim of the wealthy and actually care about their citizens. We have socialized health care for the millionaire members of Congress and the Senate while the rest of us are exploited by the unchecked and unethical insurance industry.

 Edward Juillard, Morgan Park