Successes in reading will cure other illsI compliment your...


November 27, 1997

Successes in reading will cure other ills

I compliment your series on reading instruction in public schools. It was instructive and cast light on a problem more serious -- and much more prevalent -- than violence and disruptive behavior in schools.

I predict that a consequence of improved reading instruction in the schools will be a reduction in behavior problems. School is an embarrassing, frustrating, unrewarding and unengaging place for children who cannot read.

As your series made clear, the children cannot read because they have not been competently taught.

The learning problems of children are typically blamed on the children and their parents, who are unfairly stereotyped as drug-addicted and uncaring.

As your series points out, it is the system from the top down (it's too simplistic to blame the teachers) that has failed to provide the instruction that is needed.

The biggest tragedy is, perhaps, that many children have been made to believe it is their fault. This belief, while erroneous, feeds a sense of hopelessness that need not occur.

Hopefully, the system can get it right this time. There are not

many career options for those who cannot read.

Courtney Petersen


Don't blame engineers for state of roads

I was mildly amused by Neal R. Peirce's column on "Engineering tyranny," Nov. 11. As a civil engineer (tyrant?) with about 15 years in the highway business, I recognize the various points made in the article, because these issues are often bandied about in engineering and construction trade publications.

Mr. Peirce doesn't cover anything new, really, but he does make one statement that I've never seen before: "Maybe the weight of engineers and the well-heeled highway lobby will cow local officials . . ."

It is ridiculous to suggest that engineers carry any weight when public works decisions are made. In fact, I would find it laughable if it didn't hit so close to home.

I also wonder how you could publish an article on traffic standards without ever using the word "lawyer."

John N. Menard


MVA schedule should be changed

The other day someone stole the license plate off my car while it was parked in the unattended lot near Penn Station.

So, on a Saturday morning I went to the Motor Vehicle Administration at Mondawmin Mall to get new plates and discovered it is open on Saturdays only for drivers' licenses, not for license plates.

Now I will have to take time off from work. Most people work from Monday through Friday, so it shouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if it is not possible to keep the MVA open fully six or seven days a week, then it ought to be open on at least one weekend day, even if it must close on one weekday.

The MVA is paid for by taxpayers. It works for us, it ought to serve us. Or hasn't someone told it that?

Henry Cohen


Concern for nature must start at home

We are always faulting other countries for cutting down the rain forest. We should first look at ourselves.

Our nature is destroyed by development. Here, "clear-cutting" seems to be the operative word, regardless of how many beautiful, mature trees that took decades to grow are destroyed.

What poor countries often times do is for survival. We do it for enrichment and greed.

Lony de Loach


Truly a time to give thanks

In 1623 William Bradford, governor of Plymouth Plantation, declared "a feast of thanksgiving for the fruits of our labors." Massasoit, the sachem of the Wampanoags, showed up with about 90 of his tribe, several deer and some fish. No doubt this was the first "pot-luck supper" in American history.

In 1997 we supplement our feast with football games, the kick-off the Christmas trade and often a bit too much of "the juices of the fruit of the vine."

Perhaps we can find a few moments to recall the ancestors who left their all to strike out into a New World, those who gave of their life's blood to preserve our freedoms and safety and those men and women of science who devote their lives to our well being.

Let us exert ourselves in order to give as much as we have received.

J. Bernard Hihn


Pub Date: 11/27/97

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