Vouchers for private school tuition take public money and give it to religious schools. The few nonreligious schools that do exist have tuitions that make college tuitions seem cheap. Religious schools are usually attached to churches that already do not pay property taxes. They are not accountable to state standards of curriculum. Allowing more tax breaks to people who contribute to a private scholarship fund is just another way for the government to establish a religion, a concept that is anathema to both our state and federal constitutions.

Every parent wants what it best for his or her child. But by educating the few at the expense of the many, we are causing more problems down the road. If a community does not have an educated workforce, businesses cannot hire the right employees, consumers buy fewer products and adults without futures become dependent on government aid. In addition, young uneducated people turn to crime, which adds monetary and emotional costs.

Without a strong public educational system in all communities, our democracy and the ideals upon which we started this nation will become a footnote in history.

Jan Goldberg, Riverside

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The value of Balbo

Let the Balbo monument and the street name be. They represent the proudest single moment in the history of Italian-Americans in this city and the nation. Perhaps protestors fail to remember that Italian immigrants endured harsh treatment, including the lynching of 11 in New Orleans in 1891. Balbo’s arrival was ballyhooed by the press. That prestige rubbed off on the Italian-American community and brought respite from the ugly racist and criminal stereotypes that prevailed in that era. It was also a great day in the history of Chicago. Let us not imitate the Soviets and the Taliban in erasing inconvenient symbols of our past. In all the years since July 1933, there has been no reported case of anyone being harmed by the monument. Let it be — if only as a reminder that history is complicated and to stimulate debate.

Dominic Candeloro, LaGrange Park

Steep price for Obama Center

Well, Chicago, you asked for it. And now they’re giving it to you with both barrels. The proposed Barack Obama Presidential Center is taking over the South Side. Closing parks, closing streets, merging golf courses, blah, blah, blah. And who do you think will be paying for all this? Surely not the Obama Foundation or the Obamas themselves. No, Chicago, you will be footing the bill, as if there is money to spare.

Jim Guthrie, North Aurora

Emanuel’s good for business

I will make a prediction about the next mayoral election. If Mayor Rahm Emanuel is booted in favor of one of “Chicago’s usual,” wave goodbye to the cranes and construction that reliably have signaled a healthy in-migration of business and commercial expansion.

The streets will be more navigable; Mag Mile less congested; thousands streaming from train stations will subside; stores will run sales and then close; and construction crews will have more time to spend with their families.

Don’t judge our great city based in those who leave. Look around. If you don’t see more detour signs, cranes and excavation, pack your bags.

Sheldon I. Saitlin, Gold Coast