Failure to control animals is a disservice After the...

LETTERS

March 03, 2002

Failure to control animals is a disservice

After the shooting deaths of two Rottweilers in separate incidents, I'm bewildered that some Carroll County residents seem troubled only by the possibility of an "open season on dogs" ("Fatal shooting of dog raises emotional, legal issues," Feb. 24). Where is the concern that such large animals are permitted to roam loose? Especially in light of the current, highly-publicized California case of a woman mauled to death by her neighbors' dogs.

Dog owners must realize that not everyone loves their dogs and some people fear them; dogs can be menacing to people and other animals. Failure to contain a pet is a disservice to the animal and the community. If you can't control an animal, then you probably shouldn't own it.

Debra E. Blackburn

Windsor Mill

County's future in hands of citizens and officials

The next three Carroll County Commissioners may find that they could very well be the last chance to retain all that is good in the county and to guide the county into the future, a future that allows for quality of life and a pattern of growth that can be absorbed without offending the very spirit and aesthetics of the community we hold in a very special way.

In order to reach this objective, we must strive to find those three persons willing to lead our county in a manner that understands its citizens and can reach consensus on the vital issues that will determine the very character and quality of life of Carroll County.

We, as citizens first, must become involved in the issues that will enable our elected officials to have the courage to do the right thing. We as citizens must understand the very meaning of what is the right thing for the next County Commission to do. ...

The next County Commission must have the courage to listen, to the citizens, to the county staff members who have a difficult time doing the right thing if they receive undue pressure, to realize that to be successful they must reach consensus.

The next County Commission must realize that to be successful they must demand respect from our neighboring counties and our state officials, but in order to obtain that respect they must also be willing to realize that the problems that we are faced with, in the next four years, are monumental and will require resources beyond that which is reasonably available from the county and the citizens.

We must try to understand each other, we must work for the good of our county, without ignoring the fact that we are a part of the State of Maryland and the USA.

We must try to find a true patriot, not in any one individual but within each of our citizens, in each of our elected officials, in our judiciary and when we are successful we will understand that which truly made this country great.

Jerry Ryan

Westminster

Focus on phonics in critical early years

Let the debate end. Systematic and explicit phonics reading instruction is the key to teaching our children to read.

I confess -- I am not a reading expert. Yet, I have rarely been more comfortable in advocating a position.

"Put Reading First" is the title of a summary booklet that provides the results of a national panel of experts charged with reviewing research in reading instruction (focusing on the critical years of kindergarten through third grade) and identifying methods that consistently relate to reading success. "Put Reading First," was developed based on the findings in the 2000 report of the National Reading Panel which had reviewed more than 100,000 studies as part of their research. I consider "Put Reading First" a powerful call for elected officials, educators, parents to base the way we teach reading on science.

So what does the scientifically-based research tell us? It tells us that systematic and explicit phonics instruction is more effective than non-systematic or no phonics instruction. It tells us that systematic and explicit phonics instruction significantly improves children's reading comprehension. It tells us that systematic and explicit phonics instruction is particularly beneficial for children who are having difficulty learning to read and who are at risk for developing future reading problems. And finally, it tells us that systematic and explicit phonics instruction is most effective when introduced early.

Reading reform is needed in Carroll County Public Schools. We do not teach phonics in a systematic and explicit manner. Moreover, our class sizes in kindergarten through third grade (those critical years) are way too high, our teachers have not been given the tools they need, and we continue to pass struggling children through the system.

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