Letters: Readers discuss parenting skills, sales tax on food and good work from Yoder

Educational void

What can be done to prevent school shootings? I believe the availability of guns is secondary to the mental and emotional health of the perpetrators.

When many of those in our prison population come from fatherless homes or were abused as children, we must conclude that poor parenting affects the mental and emotional health of our youth and plays a factor in the buying of guns and using them to kill.

Schools teach the financial skills one needs to navigate our complicated world. Basic parenting skills are arguably more important, but they are not commonly included in our curricula.

What do all children need besides food, shelter and clothing? They need and thrive on positive attention from a parent or caring adult.

School boards can choose to include well-designed parenting classes that are required for all students each year of high school. This should be a priority.

Most kids expect to be parents one day and will, most probably, repeat their own parents’ style of parenting. Effective courses can change this.

Isn’t it well past time to take mental health needs of Americans as seriously as their physical health?

Jill Schumacher

Independence

Kill this tax

As a new resident of Kansas City, I was disappointed to find that both Missouri and Kansas impose what is surely the most immoral tax of any ever devised. This, of course, is the sales tax on our most necessary of items: food.

I have lived in several states, including Minnesota, North Carolina, Texas, California and Nevada. None of these apparently had a political class with hearts cold enough to impose a sales tax on the very food that sustains us.

Social Security does not include inflation costs on food and gasoline in yearly cost-of-living increases — too volatile officials say.

This tax also harms the poor. People with lower incomes do not have the means to afford these immoral taxes. State sales taxes on food should be done away with.

James M. Magnuson

Kansas City

Kudos to Yoder

Kids don’t vote, and they don’t donate to political candidates. In other words, they often don’t have a voice with elected officials. Fortunately, U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder of Kansas is working with members of both parties in Congress to create equal opportunities for kids in Kansas and across the country.

Save the Children and Save the Children Action Network recently named Yoder a Congressional Champion for Children because of his efforts on behalf of kids.

We are grateful for his dedication to advance critical legislation such as the Promoting Affordable Childcare for Everyone Act alongside Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Florida. This legislation would update the tax code to make child care more accessible for working families.

Additionally, Yoder helped protect the child care tax credit and flexible spending accounts in the final tax bill passed in December.

We look forward to continuing to work with him in his role as the newest co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Pre-K Caucus, which focuses on increasing access to high-quality early childhood education in the U.S.

Children may be only 20 percent of our population, but they are 100 percent of our future. Investments in our kids are the best ones we, as a country, can make.

Mark Shriver

Senior vice president, U.S.

programs and advocacy

Save the Children

Washington, D.C.

For the kids

As an adoptive mother, I have watched with interest the controversy surrounding funding of adoption agencies. I have been disheartened that the conversation has been all about the adults involved in the process. Nowhere have I seen evidence cited for what’s best for children.

One thing we know is that every child is born to a mother and father. In a perfect world, I believe every child would be loved and raised by both of his or her natural parents. My children suffered loss before they became members of a permanent family, and that loss will be part of them forever.

One philosophy of placing children in families is to approximate the ideal as closely as possible. My children suffered loss because they weren’t placed with a family with parents of the same race and heritage in their birth country. I believe they would suffer further if they didn’t have both an adoptive mother and adoptive father.

For those of you who were blessed to be raised by both loving birth parents, I wonder if you think your mother and father were interchangeable. Let’s make this conversation about children.

Marie Henkel

Olathe

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