BH school board must face the facts

Editor,

To Benton Harbor Area Schools board members: What do you consider an emergency? When does your definition of an emergency become so? Please advise as I am truly curious.

The fact that there is a true possibility that we can be graduating less than 50 children this year; the fact that the deficit has been the same ($20 million) for the past 15 years or more; and the fact that the district must continue to borrow money every year, does not present an emergency?

Doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. I have extreme difficulty accepting this approach in “educating” our children. Our children’s ability to read at grade level and lack of discipline at all levels is out of control. However, leadership fails to acknowledge the magnitude of these issues.

Continuing to do what has been done is not the solution and I propose that we come together to devise a new one.

There needs to be a true, internal community conversation about education in the BHAS district, not from hired guns who don’t have a vested interest in our schools getting better. It’s time to step up or step out. Setting our children up for adult failures is no longer the way to go. Adults are causing most of the problems, therefore, adults need to be about the business of fixing them.

Isiah Newson

Benton Harbor

Cost of prescription meds must be reduced

Editor,

The average cost of prescription medications in the United States is double that of other developed countries. As a result, many individuals cannot afford to pay for the medicine they need. The non-partisan Commonwealth Fund reports that approximately 20 percent of patients in the U.S. do not take a needed medication because they cannot afford to pay for it.

No one should ever have to forego taking their medication because of cost. The exorbitant prices that pharmaceutical companies charge in the U.S. must come to an end.

Congressional Democrats, and some congressional Republicans, have proposed a variety of plans to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. These plans include: 1) Removing barriers to the development of less expensive generic drugs; 2) Allowing the safe importation of prescription drugs from Canada, where the cost is much less than in the U.S.; 3) Allowing Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for lower prices; 4) Capping patients’ out-of-pocket costs for medications; and 5) Using foreign drug prices as a guide to reducing American prices.

Each of these plans would help to lower the cost of prescription drugs in our country. As a result, the cost of health insurance would also be reduced – when insurance companies can pay less for medications, they can charge less for premiums, deductibles and co-pays.

Bringing down the cost of medications is an urgent priority. Unfortunately, the large pharmaceutical companies are likely to spend millions of dollars trying to stop price-lowering plans from ever being passed by Congress. They will do everything they can to continue maximizing their profits, regardless of the negative consequences for individuals who cannot afford to purchase needed medications.

The power of the pharmaceutical companies can only be countered by the power of the people. If enough individuals strongly and repeatedly communicate the urgency of this issue, congressional representatives will listen. Our voices do matter, but only if we take the time to make our voices heard.

Please contact Congressman Upton and Sens. Peters and Stabenow and urge them to take the necessary steps to reduce the exorbitant cost of prescription medications.

Larry Feldman, M.D.

Lakeside

Governor right to push for road, school funding

Editor,

I applaud the governor on her bold attempt at tackling the roads and school issues. We have been putting this off for too many years and it’s time to get it done. This may hurt a little, but in the end it will help us all.

Thank you, Gov. Whitmer, for being proactive. Keep up the good work.

Jerry Geiger

St. Joseph