3 Magic Words
Editor: Amidst all the hurley-burley of rhetoric about the education dilemma it was refreshing to read in Alice Steinbach's column the conviction of Tracy Kidder that ''public education rests precariously on the skill and virtue of people at the bottom of the institutional pyramid -- the teachers."
Good teaching can, to a degree, be proscribed and emulated. It still remains, however, an art form, not a science. Unless the teacher can put himself on the line, the lack of this elusive catalyst precludes failure. No guts, and there will never be the glory of hearing and saying those three magic words, ''Oh, I see.''
Myrtle C. Lobiz.
A Few Solutions
Editor: I am so tired of reading about Band Aids applied to the open wounds of our ill society. The reader who suggested off-shore drilling as an answer to our becoming oil-independent doesn't understand that oil is a finite commodity -- eventually we will run out.
The loggers who want to cut down 200-year-old trees are also only postponing the inevitable. So is the government that thinks a tax hike will rid us of a deficit. Right! If you believe that, I'll bet you believe the toll over the bay bridge was temporary and Memorial Stadium would stand forever. I suggest that solutions are more in order. Example:
Problem: Overuse of oil, pollution, over-cutting of trees for paper.
* Outlaw the use of plastic containers, bring back the refillable glass bottle.
* Any grocery item that can be stocked in bulk should be, such as cereals, kitty litter, etc., and people should buy permanent containers to take to the store and get filled.
* Bring back privately owned cloth shopping bags, ban the use of plastic and paper shopping bags.
* Make it law that all grocery stores -- whether national chains or not -- must buy local produce when in season, thereby halving shipping costs.
* Have the ''newsboys'' pick up old newspapers when they deliver the new and pay them to deliver it for recycling.
* Double funding to solar energy research, particularly solar vehicle research.
* Give tax breaks to energy companies or towns or people who erect turbo windmills to create power, and so on.
For every problem, there are solutions, but the deeper we get into debt, both individually and as a nation, the harder it's going to be to find them.
Lynda Case Lambert.
Quayle Is White
Editor: Of all the things that disturb me about Paul Glace's letter (Aug. 28), the greatest is his belief that the ''black community'' is somehow more likely than is the rest of the population to accept mediocrity in its role models. I am black, as are many of my friends and neighbors. None has expressed to me any great love or respect for Marion Barry, and even those who feel that he was entrapped still abhor his substance abuse and womanizing, not to mention his lackluster performance as an executive.
In characterizing support for Nelson Mandela as blind idolatry, Mr. Glace has completely missed the boat. One does not have to share an individual's political position in order to support his right to have one, or to celebrate his release from unjust imprisonment. I believe the virtual deification of Oliver North more aptly describes blind idolatry.
Mr. Glace's comment on excellence in leadership is most interesting. There have certainly been more than enough incidents of malfeasance, corruption and immorality among white politicians, businessmen and religious leaders. Are only black leaders expected to be above reproach? I would not presume to judge the ''moral principles and social responsibility'' of the entire white populace based on its election of Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew to high public office. And speaking of mediocrity in role models, what better example is there than Dan Quayle?
Kathryn D. Waters.
Editor: The media recently disseminated reports about a run on gas masks and food hoarding in Israel. Yet a recently published poll conducted in Israel between Aug. 20 and Aug. 22 revealed the following:
When asked if they hoarded food for emergencies, 5.7 percent of the respondents answered yes and 94.3 percent answered no.
Twenty percent of those polled said they prepared an emergency shelter in their homes; the other 80 percent said they did not. Two percent said they tried to obtain a gas mask or protective clothing against chemical weapons compared to 97.8 percent who did not.
One wonders about the quality of the information reported by the media.
Editor: I am appalled at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Maryland General Assembly for allowing the Tobacco Institute and Bruce Bereano to bully them into holding up the non-smoking regulations for retail stores.
Smoking and second-hand smoke are serious health issues; people die from it.