Seven quick tips to attract the best and brightest...

Letters to the Editor

November 21, 1998

Seven quick tips to attract the best and brightest teachers

There is no way "our best and brightest candidates," to quote Nancy Grasmick in "A teacher shortage strategy" (Nov. 12), will ever want to be teachers so long as the following conditions prevail:

The teacher has no power to remove disruptive students and no place to put them to get the discipline and instruction they need.

The teacher is not allowed to control the behavior of the class by reasonable verbal or physical methods.

Violent students are not removed immediately from class by appropriately trained security and quickly sent to a special school to encourage civilized behavior in the future.

The teacher is not allowed to penalize or fail students who do not learn what they need at their grade level.

The teacher receives no autonomy in the classroom to design lessons and determine what is appropriate in subject matter and lesson content.

The teacher and the school administration are forced by the education bureaucracy into a policy of social promotion.

A school is forbidden to have a summer-school program unless 70 percent or more of its students take the federal government's subsidized lunch.

"A greater respect for teachers within our society" is nothing but meaningless words until families send civilized children to classrooms. Teaching in public schools is not a profession unless people transform our schools from holding pens to

educational institutions.

Educating our kids is our job. Do it now or give up on being a civilized society.

Jul Owings

Baltimore

The writer heads the education committee for the Hampden Community Council.

Age does not mean maturity in moral leadership debate

The editorial "An end to the myth of the 'moral leader' " (Nov. 9) suggests that American people grow up and forget the "myth" of the moral leadership of the president. It suggests that they follow their European brethren in tolerance of their leaders' occasional peccadilloes.

The editorial apparently forgets that European historical memory has been slanted by the concept of the royal right of kings. Fortunately, the American historical memory has not been so slanted.

Contrary to the editorial's linkage of age (growing up) and morality, age has nothing to do with morality. Often, age is linked to debility of mind and body. Choice, not age, is the very essence of morality -- choice between good and bad, between good and better.

Today the American people are troubled and puzzled by the choices that they or their representatives will have to make. They look around to see poor schools and broken laws that are within their control; most Americans feel faintly culpable for these. They don't want to throw the biblical stone at the president and have him impeached; at the same time most Americans feel he needs some kind of reproach for misleading them with a half-truth about his sexual conduct in the Oval Office.

Perhaps the American people need a day like Yom Kippur, a day given to solemn thought and ritual for atonement of sins of the past year.

Such an American day might be called Resolution Day, a day observed nationally in solemn thought and by a pledge of allegiance to self-defined, workable standards of conduct in private and public life.

Elizabeth Geen

Cockeysville

Editor of the year award deserved to get bigger play

A four-paragraph article buried in the Maryland section reported that The Sun's John S. Carroll had been named editor of the year ("Sun's Carroll named Editor of the Year," Nov. 8).

I am perplexed that The Sun chooses to be so humble and modest about the achievements of one of its own. Certainly, nobody wishes to go to extremes with public praise or condemnation for a Sun employee, but this takes matters just a bit too far.

The Sun should be very proud of Mr. Carroll's achievement in his field and should express that pride with a more public notice. As the short article states, the result of Mr. Carroll's efforts has been the very noteworthy awarding of Pulitzer Prizes in two consecutive years. These are reflective of his 35 years of journalistic efforts.

I say congratulations to Mr. Carroll and The Sun for such fine work.

Tim McCarthy

Baltimore The self-righteous have been truculent and implacable in their disinterment, dissection and vitriolic post-mortem of Thomas Jefferson's historical legacy.

Two hundreds years hence, perhaps poetic justice will smile sardonically if the populace, in a similar pique of self-righteousness, repaints 20th century American icons as morally bereft scoundrels. Just as we spew incredulity that any human -- much less a hero -- could have acquiesced or partaken in slavery, future generations may wonder how this century's elite could have stood by impassively or participated in the willful xTC slaughter of over a million unborn per year.

Future abhorrence of abortion may rival current dismay over slavery, and the politically correct of today may become the pariahs of tomorrow.

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