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Cheers and Jeers: Giving good, vouchers bad

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Chris Editorial photoBy Chris Edwards

It’s baaaaaaaaaaack!

Although this particular cat didn’t return the very next day, this perusal through certain news topics called “Cheers and Jeers,” which looks to summarize news, in a method similar to what our esteemed colleague Gary Borders does in his Capital Highlights columns for Texas Press Assocation, albeit with a little judgment calling and some of that special sauce piled atop from your humble scrivener, is back for another round on this page.

A special note before we go further: Thursday is the day set aside to give thanks for all we have. Whether you’re a slave to tradition and are spending your turkey day catching up with an army of distant cousins and whatnot, or you’re having a meal by yourself, gratitude is something that is not limited to one designated holiday.

As for me, I’m doing as little as possible. Just resting up and catching up on some reading, but I’m thankful for all I have, and for some things I do not.

So, without further adieu...

• Cheers to the anonymous donor who gifted Woodville ISD with a new vehicle for the district’s transportation fleet to help out with the need in its “18 Plus” program.

The program is designed to keep differently abled students in school past graduation in order to better transition them into aspects of the workforce.

The 18 Plus program is a much-needed service offered by WISD, and to have someone from the community who believes in it step up and help out in such a big way is enormously commendable. Oftentimes some of us get so jaded that we forget there are good folks in the world.

• While we’re on the topic of public education, a big round of cheers goes out to the Texas House of Representatives for saying “no” to school vouchers once again. In a fourth special session called by Gov. Greg Abbott,  vouchers were part of a massive education funding bill. Vouchers, however they’re presented, are a scam that takes taxpayer funds from public schools and diverts money into private education. Not only is this fundamentally wrong, from a taxpayer’s standpoint, private schools lack the accountability of the public education system, and they can pick and choose pupils.

The measure to strip the vouchers (Abbott’s dogged legislative priority since the regular session gaveled in back in January) from the bill passed 84-63, with bi-partisan support. Most of the 21 House Republicans voting against vouchers represent rural areas, where public schools are cornerstones of the communities. If passed, however, vouchers would hurt all communities, regardless of population density.

• Jeers to the swift transition of time. It seems, for many, to be as much of an exchange of small talk to complain about the way the years fly by as it does talking about the weather, but, seriously. where did you go, 2023? Here it is Thanksgiving week already, and before we know it, it’ll be time for champagne and “Auld Lang Syne” again. Boo hiss!

• Jeers to the coming onslaught of excessive consumerism known as Black Friday.

In a few days we can look forward to national headlines chronicling violent acts committed over televisions and teddy bears, right after a day designed to express gratitude.  Again, boo hiss!

• Cheers to the Dallas Cowboys organization, and particularly Jerry Jones, for doing the right thing and enshrining legendary coach (and proud Southeast Texas boy) Jimmy Johnson in the team’s Ring of Honor. Jones made the announcement on Sunday, before the Cowboys played the Carolina Panthers. The halftime induction ceremony will take place at AT&T Stadium on Dec. 30 when Dem Boys play the Detroit Lions.

Johnson has been a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame since 2020, and upon his induction there, Jones said the Cowboys would honor him. Johnson steered the Cowboys to back-to-back Super Bowl wins in ‘92 and ‘93.

• A toast to Rosalynn Carter. The late former first lady, who died on Sunday, is solid proof to the old saw about “behind every good man...”.

Rosalynn and former president Jimmy Carter were a team in all they did, and their 77-years of marriage lasted longer than most folks’ entire lifespans.

Say what you want about the largely unremarkable Carter presidency, but in Jimmy Carter, America undoubtedly had one of the smartest men to ever sit in the Oval Office, and the two of them were just some of the most genuinely good human beings to ever walk the White House halls.

Mrs. Carter’s commitment to mental health advocacy demonstrated a true-blue heart of service, after Jimmy’s term, and the two of them, together, represent some of the best that rural America can be.

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