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Letters are posted as we receive them during the week, and before they are printed in the paper, so check back frequently to see new letters. If you'd like to send a letter to the editor, use this postmarks submission form, or email your letter directly to mail@austinchronicle.com. Thanks for your patience.
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Boo!

RECEIVED Mon., Nov. 25, 2019

Dear Editor,
    My name is Anne Mason and I am the Gifted and Talented advocate for Palm Elementary. I'm also the art teacher at Palm. Your current article bothers me because you didn't interview any of the Austin ISD Advanced Academics (GT) staff, but you interviewed Round Rock ISD and Manor ISD ["Fair and Bright," News, Nov. 22].  
    Austin ISD has been leading the charge for equity in GT testing for at least 2 years now – I was part of the community committee that spent months evaluating the old way we nominated and tested students and redesigned it with equity and the latest research in mind, and that was at least three years ago. Your only mention of Austin ISD is two parents, and one of those stories is old – Yasmine Smith is grown up now, and yes, 20 years ago your headline would probably have been true then.  The Chairmain Mackson story has no date on it, so it could also be 20 years old. Your article implies, by old news and omission, that Austin ISD is discriminating against children of color, when you clearly didn't interview any of the Advanced Academics staff for Austin ISD. Austin ISD has a lot of problems right now, and my school being on and "off" the list of closures has given me a slightly cynical lens with which to view my employer, but I will say that Austin ISD is trying to do GT right and trying to be equitable and fair to all children. We are expected to maintain percentages per demographic group that are actually higher than the state expects.  For example, if the state expects at least 7% of all African American students are in GT in Texas, Austin ISD expects 8%. Part of schools' Campus Accountability rating is based on how well we are achieving equity in our GT programs at each school.  
    Boo Chronicle, booooo.  You should be ashamed of yourself. My husband and I are both shocked that YOU would throw Austin ISD under the bus like this.  
Anne Mason, BA, MS, ME

Credit Where It's Due

RECEIVED Fri., Nov. 22, 2019

Dear Editor,
    I don't normally expect sensible suggestions from Mayor Adler, since he signed off on the infamous school bus camera program where automated cameras on school buses record cars passing in the vicinity of stopped school buses. Then a slew of expensive tickets are sent via mail, without the due process of a police officer making a traffic stop after observing an infraction, to people who were obeying the law but can't afford to take time off work to show up and contest this injustice.
    But, to give credit where it is due, Mayor Adler's proposal outlined in the Chron's article "Build 1, Get 2 Free" [News, Nov. 22], which would allow "triplexes throughout the city, by right," would (weakly) affirm everyone's private property rights, and thus result in an influx of more affordable housing for less wealthy residents who couldn't otherwise afford to live in the city. I suspect such a proposal would be doomed, since a similar idea was proposed in St. Paul, Minn., and then got shot down by wealthy existing property owners who show up at all the meetings. Apparently "I Moved Here and Gentrified a House, Now Let's Slam the Door Shut on Everyone Else" is a thing for those who claim to be compassionate ... if it doesn't inconvenience them.
Jim Henshaw

Ruffled Feathers

RECEIVED Fri., Nov. 22, 2019

Dear Editor,
    Austin Chronicle, your true colors are showing. "Not White? Not Bright." is obvious prejudice and why you decided that was a good headline is questionable "Fair and Bright," News, Nov. 22]. It does not take a program to make someone "bright." I'm guessing some racist writer or editor thought it was clever and funny. This was offensive to non "Whites." Why not print "Whites are smarter!" because that is the essence of your headline. Racism in the guise of an exposé. Do you want people repeating your slogan "Not White? Not Bright."? Is that what you want kids reading when they pick up your paper? There is a better headline for the article. There are better topics to put on your cover. It proves your free propaganda paper is worthless unless it's being used as toilet paper in my birdcage. I hope you lose advertisers and stop littering Austin with your trash.
Will Jones

Bad, Bad Decision

RECEIVED Thu., Nov. 21, 2019

Dear Editor,
    My grandson attends Pease Elementary. My daughter has been active in Eastside groups opposing the closing of Pease ["AISD Bites the Bullet," News, Nov. 22]. Though I live in Arizona, I watched the board of trustees meeting and proceedings on AISD.TV. I was appalled. As the [equity] officer spoke, it was even more appalling! No data, no reasons, no studies … so why close these schools? Racism? Not a good look for a growing Austin, Texas, and seat of Texas government. Pease is probably the most diverse school in the district. That is just one of the reasons my daughter and her husband chose Pease for their son. I am so disappointed in the action of the trustees. Why could they not step back and think all of this through and have solid studies to base a decision on? As it was, they did not have that, but they voted to close schools anyway. The oldest school in Texas, the most diverse school in Austin, will be closed. Options? Low-income housing or sell the property. How are those valid options? And it is not just Pease. It is the Eastside. Bad, bad decision. I can only hope this can be UNDONE!
Martha Cunningham

Battle for the Bees

RECEIVED Thu., Nov. 21, 2019

Dear Editor,
    Wayne Brenner’s article, “National Honey Bee Day Gets All Aberfeldy in the ATX,” in August highlighted an important issue in a unique way, detailing the delicious food (and drink) diversity that we rely on our pollinators for. The donation of bees by Aberfeldy is a small move toward solving a very large issue, as Brenner writes, “bringing attention to the world’s depleting bee population and supporting local beekeepers.” But this issue hits the Austin area specifically because of the vast number of small farms and local growers that rely on bees to pollinate their crops and provide the food that most Austin restaurants, breweries, and distilleries depend on.
    The most impactful issue in this battle for the bees is the use of agricultural pesticides that evidence shows are not only harmful for the environment, but also kill our bees. If we really want to protect the bees that make Aberfeldy’s Scotch whisky so good, then we need to stop the use of these pesticides that harm our pollinators.
    We need to make a push for our elected officials to hold interim hearings on threats to bees and pollinators, something that Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen failed to do when releasing his interim charges. Any Austinite that enjoys the food and drinks that our city is known for should be calling the speaker and asking him to hold these hearings, so that we can ban the use of those harmful pesticides and save our bees.
Haley Entrop
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