Confederate flag is sign of South's history, heritageI...

Letters to the editor

October 04, 1998

Confederate flag is sign of South's history, heritage

I just finished reading the Sept. 22 article, "Black leaders protest effort to honor Confederate soldiers." I couldn't believe that they would act so childishly. Have them go back and reread history. The Confederate flag did not and does not represent racism. It was a flag that men took into battle. Just because "certain groups" use the battle flag in their marches, they also use the American flag.

I guess you can consider the American flag racist too, because it flew over the Capitol and the White House when "The War Between States" was fought. The Confederate flag represents Southern history and heritage. It represents the men, women and African Americans (yes, there were African-Americans who fought for the Confederates) who fought for secession.

Have Sherman Howell [vice president of the African American Coalition of Howard County] go back and take a history class. If we have to tolerate "Black History Month," he can tolerate "Confederate Heritage Day." It's just for one day. It's a rededication ceremony for those Confederates who fought the war, not racism.

Lisa Stargel

Mount Airy

Why doesn't Bauer stay education course?

I have heard repeatedly that Carroll County Board of Education member Gary W. Bauer would like to distance himself from voters and ideologies that helped get him elected four years ago. Because I was a major drafter of those best practices in education, I feel compelled to restate them and to ask why Mr. Bauer doesn't now support them?

The irony is that today in Maryland the winds of change are swinging toward these practices as Nancy S. Grasmick, state school superintendent, has been quoted as supporting many traditional tools in the classroom.

Four years ago, we saw too many children with poor reading skills, so we supported the reincorporation of phonics in the classroom. We supported Rote Learning, because we witnessed lack of mathematical skills; the evidence is high that repetitive drills in multiplication and other areas work to allow children to succeed.

We focused on fiscal responsibility to Carroll countians. When children cannot read well and lack in other areas upon graduation, evidenced by many young people taking remedial English classes at the community colleges, it shows we aren't getting bang for our buck.

We questioned the educational and monetary expense of Outcomes-Based Education. We had discovered it was very expensive and that it had failed in several places. We were told it would provide that all children would be doing the same work at the same grade level, among other things. Children are not doing the same things in each class at the same grade level. For the most part, the program we bought into was unnecessary.

I am a concerned parent of five children, three of whom are still attending Carroll County schools. I have concerns. Still, I see interesting things happening in spite of some educational philosophies. The old traditional tools of education are making their way back into the classroom.

I support Thomas L. Shaffer, who has tirelessly worked on curriculum committees, attended countless school board meetings and has been a real watchdog to elevate academics. He has also been responsible for helping the state discover several errors on important topics on the required citizenship test.

Last, remember that just because you have three spots to vote for doesn't mean you must exercise three votes for school board. If you only support Mr. Shaffer, only vote for Mr. Shaffer. Voting for two other people is like voting against your candidate. Educate yourself about the candidates before you vote. When voting for something as important as education, be educated.

Laura E. Albers

Sykesville

POW/MIA ceremony gets scant attention

Thank you for your pre-ceremony coverage regarding the Sept. 18 POW/MIA ceremony. It was gratefully appreciated. Unfortunately, only 15 other individuals, besides myself, took the time to attend.

Further, no reporters or photographers from the print media covered the event. I understand why the print media was absent; the event was a nonstory.

One reason is the lack of interest on the part of the general public regarding the issue of American Prisoners Of War and Missing In Action. That is especially true in this area of the state and as one gets closer to those "Inside the Beltway."

I had the privilege of being invited to set up a display regarding the POWs at Elkton, Cecil County, one weekend last month. The response from that area was overwhelming.

Not only did the display draw interest from the general public, but the school system there bused in more than 3,500 students and 150 teachers to view the displays. The presence of a human being in a "tiger cage" had a profound effect on those in attendance. More important, teachers returned to request that I schedule time to come to their classrooms and speak on the issue. Such a request is unheard of in Carroll County.

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