In response to the front-page article about Neos Dance Theatre coming to the University of Akron campus, I ask, “Who is applauding?” (“Dance group’s pairing with UA draws applause,” Jan. 25.)

I hear nothing from the dance faculty, reduced now by 50 percent, or from the full-time faculty member teaching arts administration, because that position has been eliminated.

The staff gone from E.J. Thomas, now standing as a shattered embodiment of university and community engagement with the arts, is certainly not applauding as these new folks occupy their offices.

Students actually majoring in dance, whose number has plummeted by 60 percent for lack of recruiting, are not applauding. And I hear stony silence from other afflicted fine arts departments that actually teach the practice and appreciation of the arts.

The only ones applauding are those who, in the spirit of the university as what might be termed a “capitalist service organization,” believe the best program is to harbor and lend resources to outside commercial entities and programs that advance outside, commercial interests.

Of course, that includes the folks from Neos, who are applauding wildly, and the university’s own Larry Burns, whose job is to advance the “capitalist” model of the university, which aligns perfectly with the campaign toward the withered and impoverished vision of a “polytechnic” university.

Where is the acknow­ledgement of failure and the demoralizing and destructive consequences of such a model? Burns, the president and his administration, and the board of trustees should stop applauding and answer the questions.

John Bee

Tallmadge

Editor’s note: The writer is a professor emeritus of communication and former associate dean at the University of Akron.

Bank on ?E.J. Thomas

I ask Huntington Bank leadership to consider the following action to send a message to the Akron community regarding its very real commitment to the future, as it merges with FirstMerit:

Save E.J. Thomas Hall by providing funding for staff and work with the University of Akron and various support groups made up of so many men and women.

Put your name on the facility: “Huntington Bank’s E.J. Thomas Hall.” It would remind everyone of the bank’s entry to our wonderful community, making a statement that would be remembered and treasured.

It would be a good investment, for today and tomorrow.

David Kettlewell

Akron

Lift families, ?lift students

On Jan. 22, the editorial board focused on a new report from the Ohio Education Policy Institute (“How poverty affects learning”). The report found, not surprisingly, that high levels of poverty adversely affect academic outcomes. The Beacon Journal argued that these results should push policymakers into finding a solution to closing the achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students.

The Buckeye Institute completely agrees with the general sentiment. But we take exception to the way the editorial’s final paragraph ridicules Ohio legislators for embracing pro-growth economic policies such as income tax rate cuts.

The best way to help academic performance isn’t blindly spending more money on education’s failing infrastructure. We need to lift families out of poverty. If students aren’t ready to learn when they go to school, shoveling money at the problem won’t solve it.

The key solution is to help get students’ parents out of poverty. That means creating good jobs with upward mobility. Rewarding parents for their hard work will give children a more stable foundation from which to enter school in the first place.

The technical details of education policy matter. But nothing is more important than job growth in Ohio, and the climb up the ladder of success depends on reforming our tax policy, reducing burdensome regulations and trimming Ohio’s addiction to job licenses that create serious barriers to a middle-class life.

Ohio must do many things at once. The idea that more dollars will cure an unreformed education system and somehow close the achievement gap is more prayer than policy.

Greg R. Lawson

Statehouse liason

Buckeye Institute

Columbus

Lessons from ?Chief Oliver

I’m surprised the judge didn’t throw the book at David Oliver. The former Brimfield police chief was a role model in the community and should have been held at a higher standard.

Kudos to Officer Crystal Casterline for holding her ground in this nightmare. I can only imagine the daily abuses she suffered.

Is this another reason why abused spouses get little help from the legal system? Why are abuses tolerated by the legal system as a “normal” part of our society?

Maybe education could help. There should be four Rs in school, including responsible citizenship.

Anna Gomarakis

Tallmadge