As Senate Bill 21, the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, makes its way to the governor’s desk, there is one pivotal teacher who has been left out of the reading equation — your child’s library media specialist. Regardless of your position on high-stakes testing, recent studies in three states reveal that despite socioeconomic levels, racial or ethnic composition or disability status, the following holds for students in schools with licensed school librarians:

• Reading scores are consistently better for students who have a full-time certified librarian than for those who do not. In Pennsylvania, students with a full-time librarian were more likely to score advanced and less likely to score below basic.

• In New York, elementary students in schools with certified school library media specialists were more likely to have higher English Language Arts achievement scores than those in schools with noncertified school library media specialists.

• In Colorado, schools that either maintained or gained an endorsed librarian tended to have more students scoring advanced in reading and to have increased their performance more than schools that lost their librarians or never had one.

School library media specialists are teachers first, whose mission it is to provide instruction that fosters competence and stimulates interest in reading, viewing and using information and ideas. They collaborate with other teachers to design learning strategies to meet the needs of individual learners.

Because of their unique educational backgrounds, library media specialists are crucial in helping learners develop as strategic readers, and there is no doubt that reading is a 21st-century skill.

Why is this important to you and your child? Because Ohio does not require that your school district, much less your school, have a library media specialist. It is time for parents to ask why the library media specialist, who plays a critical role in your child’s reading development, is not part of the reading equation.

Susan D. Yutzey


Ohio Educational Library Media Association


Give Obamacare?a chance to work

Apparently, the writer of the April 29 letter “Bankrupt Obamacare” has not been watching the television or reading the newspaper.

For the past several years, the cost of health care has risen at a rate well above the inflation rate. Far too many people can no longer afford medical care. Obamacare and Medicaid are efforts to get those people to the doctor for preventive care instead of going to the hospital with serious medical conditions.

Medicare, which I am happy to have, is less costly per person by far than regular health insurance. Medicare has instituted a program to reduce waste — estimated at 30 percent — due to unnecessary procedures and tests.

With Obamacare and Medicaid working in tandem, the same problems will initially occur but, again, these programs have set up arrangements to eliminate waste.

Medical insurance companies’ fees and profits are borderline criminal and are a huge part of the problem.

The United States spends more money per person with poorer overall results than most of the world’s industrialized countries, and it has become worse over the past several years. Obamacare and Medicaid are efforts to control costs and improve service. We should give them a chance to work.

The writer should read up on the facts about medical care in this country before submitting another letter.

James H. Trapkin


Prescription?for prudent banking

Glass-Steagall is the indispensable first step to global economic recovery. It will immediately halt the onset of hyperinflation, remove government commitment from bailing out toxic debts, end too-big-to-fail banks, and force a separation of commercial banking functions from investment banking functions.

Legislation to restore Glass-Steagall, The Return to Prudent Banking Act of 2011, was introduced in the 112th Congress and garnered massive institutional support and 84 cosponsors in the House of Representatives.

On Jan. 3, the act was re-introduced by U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur , D-Toledo, in the 113th Congress as H.R. 129, and it now has 62 cosponsors. On May 16, a matching bill was introduced in the Senate by Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, as S. 985.

The original Glass-Steagall bill was enacted in 1933 to outlaw the derivatives that were causing rampant inflation during the Great Depression. It successfully accomplished this purpose until Congress repealed it in 1999 and re-enabled derivatives, which have caused the inflation and bubbles of recent years.

Call your senators and representatives and tell them Glass-Steagall worked fine for 66 years, and we need it reinstated now.

Edwin Beale


Driven to distraction,?then overreaction

I’ve seen and heard as much as most about guns or the latest news topic. This led me to the thought that the biggest problem is our obsessive focus on the latest and biggest events. Is that really our nature, or are we just carried along with the media’s need for the next big story of the day?

As terrible as it is to the individuals and their families, we want to rush to action when a dozen or more are killed with an assault rifle or with a weapon that holds more than 10 bullets, but we ignore the thousands that are killed each year by a single gunshot.

Where is the compassion and need to act for them?

We enact legislation to “prevent” the next bus-to-bus collision killing dozens or the plane crash killing hundreds, but have we learned to just accept the tens of thousands killed on the nation’s highways only because it happens to one or two individuals at a time?

Knee-jerk legislation is really scary, especially when it’s carried out with political motives.

Gene Ewald

Cuyahoga Falls

Beyond legal ?in Philadelphia

I read with sadness the letter saying that fetuses have no legal rights and that Dr. Kermit Gosnell should have been acquitted (“Abortion rights for all women” May 16).

I am pro-life, but do realize, even though I do not agree, that Pennsylvania has legal abortions.

What happened there went beyond legal, taking babies that were born alive and snipping their spinal cords with scissors to kill them after they were born.

I wonder what the writer would have thought if Ariel Castro, the Cleveland abductor, was there and just punched the mothers or the babies several times until they died.

We live in a very sad world that is selfish. My daughter was thinking only of her baby when she found out halfway through a pregnancy about a terrible birth defect.

She carried Katherine, knowing she would die. And Katherine did die, 19 minutes after being born. That was a mother’s selfless love.

Betty Cassiday


Balance needed ?at May 4 events

Since Kent State University insists on keeping May 4 alive, it is about time for the public to hear the other side of the story.

My neighbor was a member of the National Guard and was at Kent State that day.Strange, but he has an entirely different story to tell.

Do Kent State officials have the guts to invite a guardsman next year?

Curt Hecker


Driving down?teen crash rates

Memorial Day marked the beginning of the 100 deadliest days of the year on our nation’s roads for teen drivers.

Hundreds of teens are killed in car crashes and their families devastated. These deaths are unacceptable. I implore parents to remain vigilant, as they play a big role in the fight to end these tragic crashes.

School might be out, but teens still need to be off the roads by 10 p.m., when teen crash risks sharply increase. Although teens may spend more time with friends during the summer months, teens should not ride with or carry other teen passengers. Just one teen passenger increases a teen driver’s crash risk by as much as 48 percent.

Parents, please don’t ever sacrifice safety for convenience. If your teen is out late or with friends, make other travel arrangements. The risk is not worth the potential consequence.

I lead the Ohio Teen Safe Driving Coalition, established by the Allstate Foundation and the National Safety Council to raise awareness about why teen crashes occur and what we can do to prevent them.

I encourage parents to get involved and become advocates for their teens’ safety on our roadways. By doing so, I’m confident this summer can be the safest yet for our teen drivers.

Debbie O’Malley

Leader, Ohio Teen Safe Driving Coalition

Seven Hills