Founders never envisioned assault rifles

Re: "White House mum on details of Obama gun-control plans," Dec. 18

When the SecondAmendment to the Constitution was conceived and written, there were no machine guns or rapid-fire assault rifles and the like. I dare say that the very concept of such weaponry just didn't exist in the founders' wildest imagination.

Present-day gun owners who use the amendment as their crutch in having modern Rambo-type weaponry are in a state of disillusionment.

Wake up, Congress!

Bernard Helinski


Stop blaming parents and start engaging them

Re: "To quell D.C. truancy, it's the parents, stupid," Nov. 20

Harry Jaffe's column was a reactive, punitive approach to truancy. At Flamboyan Foundation, we partner with D.C. public and public charter schools to improve family engagement, which strengthens students' and families' commitment and connection to education and often resolves issues such as truancy.

Teachers in our partner schools reach out to build relationships with families and provide the information parents need to partner in their children's education. Parents respond by eagerly supporting their children's learning and teachers' efforts in the classroom.

Our research is ongoing, but initial results show these efforts have promising correlations to student outcomes. One of our partner schools, DC Scholars Stanton, saw truancy fall from 28 percent to 11 percent in one year after teachers did home visits to build trust and show families how much they care.

Jaffe's colorful comments don't address the root causes of truancy. Lasting solutions come from prevention. You can keep kids off the streets, and in school, when you involve parents thoughtfully and deliberately from the start. Punitive solutions are the last step in a process that must primarily include foundational, preventative interventions.

It's time to stop blaming parents and start partnering with them.

Kristin Ehrgood


Flamboyan Foundation


Florida school board thumbs nose at voters

On Nov. 6, Florida voters rejected, 55 to 45, a proposed state constitutional amendment designed to allow diversion of public funds to church-run private schools through vouchers.

On the same day, Indiana voters ousted state school Superintendent Tony Bennett, who had displayed his disdain for teachers and his support for diverting public funds to church-run private schools through vouchers, even though he outspent his Democratic challenger, teacher Glenda Ritz, by 4-to-1 in a state that went for Mitt Romney.

One month later, the Florida state school board appointed Bennett the new state education commissioner, thereby demonstrating board members' contempt for voters, for public education and for the religious freedom of citizens not to be forced to support religious institutions.

Florida and Indiana politicians seem to have little regard for either voters or their state constitutions.

Edd Doerr


Americans for Religious Liberty

Silver Spring