Service learningDorothy Siegel made some insightful...

the Forum

September 11, 1992

Service learning

Dorothy Siegel made some insightful observations in her letter about the community service graduation requirement (Aug. 17). She wants the state to urge faculty to include service in the curriculum in innovative ways rather than measure hours and send out deficiency slips.

I couldn't agree more. Obviously, neither could the State Board of Education.

That is why the requirement states that students must serve 75 hours with preparation and reflection, or local school systems must devise alternate ways to engage students in community service, such as infusing service-learning into existing courses.

Some schools will be infusing service into seventh-grade environmental classes, others are integrating service into their complete social studies curriculum and still others are developing community service mini-courses with an experimental component. They are using the requirement as an opportunity to infuse direct action into education.

It's terrific that Ms. Siegel and the State Board of Education support service-learning as an innovative and engaging teaching method.

Julie K. Ayers

Baltimore

Prison inmates aren't fair game for jokes

I was shocked and saddened to read Dan Rodricks' flimsy attempt to poke fun at the two dozen state prison inmates who will be trained to provide Maryland tourist information via telephone (Sept. 7). He reinforces ideas about "ex-cons" that I thought went out with striped suits and bread and water.

I assume that the 24 inmates have been chosen on some sort of merit system; to call them "criminals" when they are presumably close to rehabilitation and release is insensitive at best.

At worst, referring to these inmates as "criminals" and implying that "the rattle (of) tin cups" against cell bars may be heard simply reinforces the idea that anyone who has spent time in prison remains a "criminal" for life.

This stereotyping of prison inmates, complete with its implied racial slur in the reference to Odell's nightclub, is detrimental to us all.

These folks have more than enough trouble getting a job without Dan Rodricks' help in reinforcing negative stereotypes. Anyone released from prison is much more likely to become a recidivist if he or she is unemployable.

Finally, consider Dan Rodricks' gratuitous slap at women: "Female criminals will develop terrific telephone skills, which should help them get jobs with 900-numbers after parole, But let's face it . . . No matter how well the state trains them, the inmates are bound to slip and do naughty things."

I think Dan Rodricks owes an apology to each and every one of these inmates, as well as to all inmates who are trying to turn around their lives.

Better yet, I'd suggest that Dan Rodricks use some of the time he spends composing light humorous pieces teaching in a prison setting. Then perhaps he will understand who is fair game for jokes and who is not.

anet Ann Cohen

Baltimore

GOP hypocrisy

While I watched Vice President Dan Quayle rail against the liberal press and a Hollywood that depicts too much sex and violence in its movies in his speech at the Republican National Convention, I noticed that Arnold Schwarzenegger, the king of violence in movies, sat in the presidential box with the first family.

I found this ironic scene indicative of the entire mixed message espoused out of both sides of the Republican conventioneers' mouths.

John Tully

Baltimore

Tax tallies

As governor of Arkansas for 12 years, Bill Clinton raised taxes 128 times, or so word from the Republican presidential campaign has it. The vice-president himself asserted this to be a fact.

It turns out, though, that all revenues, even the fee for a dog license, were regarded as taxes. Indeed, the president's aides have admitted the deception.

It is implied popularly by the Republican party that the president increased taxes just once; however, by their method, he accordingly raised "taxes" 78 times in four years, Mr. Clinton pointed out.

Is this not hypocritical for a couple of moralizers: George Bush and Dan Quayle?

D. Reese

Baltimore

Oriole book drive

I heard about the Orioles' plan to help collect books for the city school libraries tonight by soliciting fans attending a game.

But how about killing a few birds with one stone? Stage a game on an off-day between the Orioles and one of their farm teams with admission being one new book suitable for the libraries.

The libraries get thousands of books, the wannabees get a taste of the majors and those who can't get tickets at the box office can see a game at Oriole Park.

And if the concessionaires toss in their profits for Cal Ripken Jr.'s literacy program, it gets even better.

homas A. Lilly

Lutherville

Mencken's birthday

On July 14, 1930, The Evening Sun's H.L. Mencken wrote prophetically that communism "will probably disappear altogether when the Russian experiment comes to a climax, and Bolshevism either converts itself into a sickly imitation of capitalism or blows up with a bang."

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