Editor: I am outraged at the new furlough policy for some state employees. As a state employee myself, I do not object to losing several days' pay to help the economy as long as the state government first does its part.
Did Governor Schaefer receive a $35,000 pay raise this year and did legislators also receive pay raises?
If so, they are all beneath contempt. Let them refuse those raises and give up the perks associated with their offices before forcing other state employees to take days off without pay.
I will cheerfully give up a few days' pay to help the economy once the legislators show willingness to tighten their own belts.
Editor: Did you catch the bit of comic relief near the end of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for Anita Hill? Senators actually spoke about the horror of sexual harassment!
The only thing that could approach this for the ridiculous would be the presentation of the Nobel Peace Prize to Saddam Hussein.
Watch that Bomb
Editor: There was a fascinating juxtaposition of articles on page two of The Sun of Oct. 9. One article was the carryover of a front-page piece which revealed that Iraq was in the process of making a hydrogen bomb. Immediately to the left was a smaller article to the effect that the United States had castigated Israel for sending a reconnaissance air patrol over Iraq.
The American reaction to the overflight is troubling but also predictable. When Israel bombed the Iraqi nuclear facilities in 1981, the United States joined in the United Nations condemnation.
If it had not been for that bombing, based on information which is being revealed now by the U.N. inspectors, Iraq clearly would have had an atomic bomb and perhaps even a hydrogen bomb at the time of the gulf war.
American intelligence totally miscalculated the Iraqi nuclear capability. If the Israelis now believe that it is necessary to gather their own intelligence, it should be understood by everyone and not criticized by the United States.
The United States seems to have forgotten that democratic Israel is its only reliable ally in the Middle East. This forgetfulness could have tragic consequences.
Searle E. Mitnick.
Disturbed at the Teaching He Sees
Editor: I find the stories in The Sunday Sun, Oct. 13, about education, achievement learning courses and county competition disturbing and alarming. The article on scholastic finalists sends the wrong messages. My guess is that these particular numbers have nothing to do with county wealth and county school facilities.
I believe The Sun should have analyzed the data more carefully. First, the total numbers are alarmingly low. Second, most of these people are probably self-achievers who, with encouragement, would make the grade anywhere.
A more careful analysis would probably disclose that a disproportionate number of the student achievers are naturalized or first-generation Americans of Asian culture where there is family discipline and self-discipline is taught. If this can be verified, that fact would send a strong message to parents and educators alike.
You will find that these student achievers are not TV couch-potatoes. My son's comment on students at the University of California, where he taught freshmen and seniors during 1988, is that the average student was TV disciplined. That is, the students had a 15-minute attention span and then they needed a break.
This is a sad commentary for a generation of 18- to 22-year-old Americans. A lot of young people are becoming experts at computer games. However, I don't believe this is any substitute for the basics of education in training the human mind and in helping develop an adult who can adjust to a changing world and keep the United States competitive.
Another article discussed the recommendations of a national education panel for longer school hours and longer school years because children today have more to learn. I cannot believe that planners for education cannot get off this track. A well-trained mind has a lifetime to broaden knowledge in any field of interest. It is quality education that counts, not longer hours of exposure.
It is also strong reinforcement in the home. State legislators keep increasing the minimum, mandatory requirements, in the most part because school management, in responding to all the pressure groups, has continued to drift away from the basics -- a command of reading, comprehension, composition and mathematics.
Howard County had a superintendent during the Seventies and the early Eighties who put maximum emphasis on building the bureaucracy in the style of Baltimore City, where he had been trained. He removed most of the management responsibilities from the local principals. In other words, he brought the city's problems with him. Where I went to school, the superintendent's job was to select a good administrator and educator for each school, who could run the school and also teach.