A regional approach to certifying teachers could ease shortage
University of Maryland Chancellor Donald N. Langenberg should be commended for his attention to issues surrounding the teacher shortage, and his sound recommendations should command the attention of education stakeholders ("Teacher shortage requires action," Aug. 19). However, one question remains: How can teachers gain the respect they deserve when their professional skills are not even recognized?
Too often, state certification and licensure offices turn away teachers with the most experience and expertise from the classroom as unfit to teach in a new state or district until they take several courses or an expensive test.
Not only is this demeaning for accomplished teachers, but it is absurd to turn away experienced teachers while offering large signing bonuses to almost anyone who decides to try teaching.
State licensure and certification offices in a region must work together to develop either a common, rigorous system for certifying teachers or to build a network that allows a certified teacher in one state to teach in another without jumping through irrelevant hoops.
By employing a regional approach to license reciprocity, states such as Maryland could take advantage of the overproduction and supply of teachers in neighboring states such as Pennsylvania.
Robert C. Rice Sr.
The writer is senior vice president of the Council for Basic Education.
Shortage of supermarkets hurts the city's poor
As an advocate for the poor, I was thrilled to read that Mayor Martin O'Malley has "stepped up a campaign" to coax large supermarket chains to the city ("To aid city, O'Malley goes grocery shopping," Aug. 17). The dearth of inner-city markets that stock fresh, nutritious foods results in a variety of health and economic problems for poor people.
Supermarket "redlining" - in which major supermarket chains leave the inner city and set up full-amenity, 24-hour stores in the suburbs - means that low-income people are forced to pay more at the corner store or travel out of their neighborhoods to find the foods they need.
And, because many poor people rely on public transportation, they find it difficult to reach the larger markets in the suburbs.
Access to nutritious, affordable food is critical for those who live in our city.
The writer is interim CEO of the Center for Poverty Solutions.
Smaller federal surplus is better for taxpayers
The Democrats in Congress were trampling over each other to get to the microphones and decry the lower-than-projected federal surplus as big-time fiscal mismanagement by the Bush administration ("U.S. says surplus dries up," Aug. 23).
The last time I checked, a surplus meant that the government had collected more money in taxes than it needed to pay for its services.
If, in fact, there's not as much spare money floating around the U.S. Treasury, that's really good. That means that the money is where it really belongs, in the pockets of the American taxpayers.
Blame for Mideast violence isn't easy to determine
From Mona Charen's perspective, Palestinians seem cruel and pitiless ("In Mideast, fault no longer lies on both sides," Opinion
Commentary, Aug. 21).
However, in dealing with a troubled thorny situation such as the Middle East, some Christians may also seem cruel and pitiless. And even some Jews.
Trying to judge who is to blame is an endless task. That's all the more reason that, as Americans, we should be very careful about involving our whole nation in some war against Muslims and Arabs.
After sowing violence, Zimbabwe reaps chaos
Rosalind Thomas' article "The Implosion of Zimbabwe" (Aug. 19) does much to outline that nation's tailspin. Its disintegration, however, should come as no surprise to those who followed the civil war in the former Rhodesia. And the blame lies squarely on President Robert Mugabe.
Mr. Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union Party formed a new wing that was armed and trained by the Chinese Communists and inherited a decidedly Marxist outlook on guerrilla warfare.
The population had little political choice when confronted in their kraals by armed guerrillas demanding food, drink, and, most important, collaboration.
It stands to reason that, as Mr. Mugabe sowed thuggery and intimidation, thus he should now reap chaos.
Zimbabwe's crisis is an excellent example of the end result of demagoguery, and a lasting shame to "progressives" who hailed Mr. Mugabe's brand of nationalism and his Marxist methods.
Indian mascots, names confer no honor
Of course the names and images were "not meant to mock Indians." That's not the point. The point is that they do ("Forget about team names; fight for Indians' quality of life," Opinion * Commentary," Aug. 23).
Sports teams' use of Indian names, logos and mascots is offensive to the very people they are supposed to honor.