Clearly, some institutions are proactive, some reactive. Proactive institutions stay ahead of the curve by anticipating trends, prioritizing needs and applying appropriate values to things under their care. Reactive institutions find themselves consistently in crisis-management mode, unable to plan for the future because they're consumed by the minutia of today.

Central Point School District, as an institution, is proactive. Medford schools, not so much. Central Point had one of the largest average class sizes in Oregon in 2006. Faced with the same decisions as other districts, I believe Central Point recognized the value of people over the value of consumer goods.

So, it's really a question of leadership. Will they (the school board) chart a course that reflects the things they value? Yes, they will. Computers, software and furniture, which all end up in the landfill, now compete for the dollars that have been allocated for class size reduction.

This is a chance for the school board to reflect its values, since the money exists to lower the class sizes. Is the board inward-focused or outward-focused? Are they driven to consume or driven by the consumer? Who do they serve, anyway? — Art Kent, Central Point

Cynthia Laughery's recent great letter regarding the dysfunctional state of politics in our country — bad and getting worse — really hit home with me.

Perhaps Cynthia and other like-minded citizens will find Unity08.com a knowledgeable, thought-provoking Web site. This group not only favors a president who's an independent, but they speak "about the importance of ending the bickering and paralysis in Washington and (know their) bipartisan approach "¦ can help fix our broken political system." Check it out. — Donna Lee Norvell, Jacksonville

A retired general mentioned that it would take about 10 years to clean up the mess in Iraq. I can only assume that covers the end of religious control and some sort of democracy.

What sort of democracy would that be?

Throwing money at their leaders to keep them interested? Why would they want us out of there? Our kids are doing the fighting for them and Bush is paying them to watch.

The Arabs have an endless supply of weapons, and are copying our own. They not only know our tactics, we're teaching them how to beat us.

Our troops were trained to fight with technology, not go door-to-door as SWAT teams. They are more targets than a fighting force (shadows of the White House and Pentagon).

The "Army Strong" logo, to me, is insulting. It sounds like a child's interpretation ... Army strong, Navy wet, Air Force high ... the fighters should choose their own words ... expletives accepted.

The only way out of Iraq is through Kuwait. They will have to house our troops and tanks or join Iraq and Iran (tough choice). — F.C. Mequish, Medford

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