Letters To The Editor


October 04, 2002

Tailor teaching to meet needs of all students

Kudos to Woodlawn High School Principal C. Anthony Thompson for taking a positive approach to reaching under-achieving students ("A lesson in confidence," Sept. 24). I, too, am a firm believer that when you expect more from students, you get more.

All students have the capacity to learn. As educators, we face the challenge of instructing students with a variety of backgrounds, experiences and cultures. Teaching such students involves more than following a pre-established curriculum: It involves reaching out to students in ways they can understand -- ways that can help them succeed.

If we are serious about closing the achievement gap between our African-American students and their white counterparts, we must make efforts such as those at Woodlawn High, where teachers are tailoring instruction to meet the needs of the students.

At the Community College of Baltimore County, we, too, approach the achievement gap with that philosophy.

The job of an educator is challenging and often goes unnoted. I'm glad Principal Thompson's efforts are being recognized and I hope his efforts at Woodlawn will be successful. "Catch them being successful," is Mr. Thompson's philosophy.

In his case, I think we just did.

Irving Pressley McPhail


The writer is chancellor of the Community College of Baltimore County.

Ehrlich vote favored kids, not bureaucrats

Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. should be praised, not criticized, for his vote in Congress to eliminate the U.S. Department of Education.

The department does not educate even one child. It is a massive collection of executives, managers, administrators, accountants, clerks, researchers, statisticians and other vaguely defined functionaries that costs the taxpayers billions of dollars.

The bill in question would have sacked all these paper-pushers and reallocated the money saved to block grants to the states. Maryland would have received millions of additional dollars to be spent on students and teachers.

Barry C. Steel


Affirmative action is worth defending

I am proud of Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend for standing up for affirmative action ("Last week's debate was a moment for Democrats to savor," Sept. 29).

Far too often, opponents have labeled it as quotas and preferences. And to further vilify affirmative action, they have filed lawsuits attacking any consideration of race, while denying that this nation's history of racial discrimination created the need for such a remedy.

Kudos to Ms. Townsend for getting it right.

Shirley J. Wilcher


The writer is executive director of Americans for a Fair Chance.

Pointing to pitfalls of Bush's bellicosity

Hooray for Molly Ivins. Her commentary Sept. 26 in The Sun expressed so well the pitfalls of the Bush administration's policy toward Iraq ("Mr. Bush, stop the insanity," Opinion * Commentary).

I am less eloquent than Ms. Ivins, but as a former Peace Corps volunteer, I have long had similar concerns.

And now the issues are critical: How can we justify attacking a country because it is assumed to be manufacturing weapons of mass destruction?

And who are we to tell people in Iraq and other countries who should lead them?

Connie Hankins


Rally for war is all about oil

Strangely, the Bush administration's campaign promoting pre-emptive military action against Iraq does not feature the primary concern that motivates it -- concern over the security of our oil supply.

The administration needs a more appropriate battle cry.

During World War I, President Wilson claimed he was making the world safe for democracy.

The current administration's war cry should be: "Making the world safe for our SUVs."

Dan Lynch


Blame Arafat for his followers

The Sun's myopic editorial "Boosting Arafat's image" (Sept. 24) implies that Israel is at fault for forcing the Palestinian masses to "put aside their personal disgust with Mr. Arafat's corrupt regime to rally in support of their beleaguered leader."

The editorial did not say what Israel should have done in response to the terrorist attacks. Perhaps it should not have retaliated for the "back-to-back suicide bombings" Hamas perpetrated?

Perhaps Israel should have observed the "Golden Rule" and waited "until Palestinians have a leadership team in place that commands the respect of its people and Middle East peace brokers."

But does The Sun know when that day is expected? And, realistically, should one expect Israel to sit still and wait for continued attacks?

To me, the Palestinian masses' support of Yasser Arafat is indicative of the abhorrent behavior, ignorance and hatred imbedded in them by Mr. Arafat's corrupt leadership of the Palestinian Authority.

To blame Israel for the wrongs perpetrated upon her is unconscionable.

Sy Steinberg


Refreshing candor on slavery's toll

This is to commend The Sun for including the cogent comments concerning reparations in the letter "Case for reparations just won't go away" (Sept. 15).

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