Cutting shop classes a reason for shortage in skilled...


July 06, 1998

Cutting shop classes a reason for shortage in skilled labor force

Your article "Workers opt for a trade" (June 29) comes about 30 years too late. I knew in the 1960s that we were heading for a shortage of skilled workers.

I taught machine shop in the Baltimore City schools from the 1960s into the 1980s, eighth to 12th grades and some adult classes.

In the 1960s, the administration decided that students should be prepared to enter college.

First, it did away with most of the industrial arts classes in the junior high schools. Senior high schools were next. Why have shop classes if everyone was going to college? The idea was to do away with machine shop and fill the rooms with computers.

In the 1980s, things really got tough for the shop teachers. No new machines, and you had to beg for supplies.

The article also stated that some of the trainees had to struggle through trigonometry, although that is something students should have learned in high school. How did they graduate?

Anyone could have predicted that we would have this lack of skilled workers.

Stanley M. Byrne


Another sinking ship, on location in Baltimore

I have seen two different versions of the Titanic this year. One in the theater, the other at Camden Yards.

Ben Lentz


It's no surprise candidate takes dim view of light rail

It doesn't surprise me that the extreme right-wing candidate for governor hates the Central Light Rail Line and wants to defund it ("Md. fund for road projects goes flat," June 28).

The light rail succeeded where the American Civil Liberties Union and Moving to Opportunity failed. It is possible for poor, inner-city and minority individuals to work and/or live in Baltimore County without the $6,000 a year it takes to maintain an auto.

The extreme right-wing candidate isn't up on logistics, either.

She neglected to notice that the addition of 7,000 cars en route to a motivational seminar paralyzed traffic for hours one May morning.

Without light rail and subway commuters, this would be commonplace, even with the Schmoke administration building additional parking lots as if campaign contributions depended on it.

Did anyone else notice that a day after the traffic jam Western Maryland newspapers touted a proposed expansion of MARC commuter rail to Hancock?

If commuter rail is so unpopular, why is the Maryland Department of Transportation considering commuter rail 30 miles west of Hagerstown, given the 50 percent fare-box rule?

If MARC ever goes to Hagerstown, I'll sell my car.

Paul R. Schlitz Jr.


Frederick deputies treated school teacher too harshly

I am outraged by the recent incident in Frederick ("Frederick Co. deputies accused of brutality against two motorists," June 27).

It sounded like a bad joke -- a 58-year-old school teacher on her way to a church social arrested by a posse of gun-waving police. She was dragged from her car, arms pinned behind her back by the vicious bullies, and hauled to jail with accompanying indignities.

Her crime? As she searched for her turn, she was driving a bit too slowly, a reported 38 miles per hour on a 55 mph road. The first deputy -- many were called to the scene -- turned on his lights and siren, but she didn't stop immediately. She said that she heard the siren but thought it must have been an ambulance. She had no idea that the police were trying to stop her. These "protectors and servers" decided she was in flight.

Is this how sheriff's deputies would have treated their grandmothers?

As outrageous as all of this was, it got even worse when a spokesman attempted to justify the officer's behavior as standard operating procedure. Instead of releasing the woman with the most abject apologies, the police are vigorously pressing charges.

Judging by the number of officers involved in the arrest and jailing of this harmless woman, it would seem that Frederick countians have plenty of deputies to protect them, but who will protect them from the deputies?

James W. Dempsey


Keeping McCoy at Navy commits him to taxpayers

On the surface, the decision by Adm. Charles Larson not to expel midshipman Chris McCoy for sexual activity while dismissing three others would seem a case of preferential treatment ("Navy's quarterback sneak," June 26). While it appears that Mr. McCoy has eluded punishment, there may be another angle.

Mr. McCoy was drafted by the Green Bay Packers and desperately wants to play professional football. If he were to be dismissed, most likely he would sign a lucrative contract with the Packers and life would seamlessly move on.

Not only would Mr. McCoy profit from his football ability, he would have received a four-year education from the U.S. Naval Academy without repaying the taxpayers who footed the bill with his service.

Mr. McCoy's status as a football hero did factor into the decision, but maybe not in the way you thought.

Patrick Finn


Existing gambling in state is no reason for expansion

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