Flight advice that was ignoredA civilian flight instructor...


April 18, 1996

Flight advice that was ignored

A civilian flight instructor frequently warned me: ''Don't think when you're flying. Know! Don't think that you can beat the weather. Don't think you have enough fuel. Know for sure that you can handle any problem you might encounter.''

One must wonder if Jessica Dubroff's flight advisers had ever heard this advice or just said, ''I think we can make it.''

ohn B. De Hoff


Parents essential in student learning

The March 17 article of Bernetha George, vice president of the Baltimore County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, disturbed me by its use of statistics to draw erroneous conclusions from demographic data.

Dr. George opposed the appointment of Anthony Marchione as the Baltimore County superintendent because he had failed to show the ability to raise the performance of African-American students, especially males, according to the state report.

She stated, ''The school system, like any other entity in society, forms a community. There exists in this community various components -- teachers, students, administrators, principals, and others.''

Very noticeable is the lack of the word "parents." The word ''parents'' was in the next paragraph only twice, and this was done in an incidental way, referring to the result of a survey conducted by the system. Dr. George failed to focus her attention on the critical role of the parents and the family in effective education.

In the February, 1992, edition of Scientific American, an article by Nathan Caplan and others shows the huge importance of the family and the parents in the success of Indochinese refugee families in American schools.

The success is attributed to parental expectations, parents reading to their children, sibling helping sibling, and a good work ethic. The work ethic is exemplified by the 3 hours, 10 minutes per day spent by the average Indochinese refugee on homework compared to the 1.5 hours spent by their American high school counterparts.

These Indochinese students not only do well but excel in our urban schools despite the problems of poverty, cultural differences and language barriers. Dr. George would do well to read this article and apply her energies to finding ways to help make parents take a more active role in their childrens' education.

The schools do work; too often the students -- if not prodded by good parents -- do not.

John C. Foertsch


Expect crowing about Ravens

According to Webster's Dictionary, the raven is nothing more than the common crow, native to North America (and other parts of the world), having lustrous black feathers and a straight sharp beak.

It is intelligent and utters articulate sounds in a hoarse, ominous voice. Its most common sound known is ''caw.''

The raven (or crow) is also described as one ''who watches as another steals,'' (in our team's case, the football).

To crow is to boast in triumph, to utter a cry of pleasure or to be exultant at another's expense.

I can hear the sounds of Ravens supporters now as they urge their team on: "Caw! caw! caw!"

Not being a migratory bird, the Ravens will not leave us.

Skeptical? "Quoth the Raven, nevermore."

Doy L. Prunty


Sick movie gets sick ratings

I have seen the movie, ''Fargo,'' and am still reeling from its impact.

A true story of cold-blooded murder, and even more horrible, the grinding up a body, has been given four stars and called ''delightful,'' ''delicious,'' a ''terrific twisted comedy,'' ''the most rTC satisfying film of the year," in ads in the New York Times and The Sun.

What does this say about our values? About us? This is not funny, this is sick.

Marion P. Decker


Coordination assures better media coverage

Recent letters to The Sun from Dorothea Baker ("Students who serve deserve credit," April 10) and Susan N. Boyer ("Media don't notice all the good students," April 11) illustrate a point that has irked me during nearly 30 years as a public relations consultant.

Contrary to popular theory, when press passes are handed out to reporters, they don't come with crystal balls.

Whenever bad news occurs, newspapers, radio and television stations are usually inundated with calls from people eager to report the incident.

However, when a planned event doesn't get equal coverage, no one asks who was responsible for alerting the media. Apparently, these people believe that anyone involved in reporting the news is inherently omnipresent and, therefore, should automatically show up.

Informing the media of an event isn't enough to guarantee coverage.

If the phone call, letter, press release or whatever doesn't pique the interest of the media representative who receives it, the event will probably be deemed too mundane to warrant coverage. Numerous times during my career, I found that even the most insignificant sounding event could draw extensive media coverage, if it was presented as an exciting, unusual or not-to-be-missed occasion.

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