Don't blame teachers for schools' woes Jonathan...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 09, 2003

Don't blame teachers for schools' woes

Jonathan Rockoff's article on Randallstown High School and Milford Mill Academy was a testament to irresponsible journalism ("Students eager to excel find roadblocks in class," Dec. 31).

Between the two schools there must be at least 2,000 students; yet Mr. Rockoff seems to base his article on interviews with five students. With this questionable methodology, he then seeks to blame teachers in those schools for the problems.

As a teacher in Baltimore County I can tell you that the buck doesn't stop with the teacher. Milford and Randallstown hire from the same pool of teaching candidates as every other school in Baltimore County. However, like many schools, Randallstown and Milford have young people attending who have no desire to learn. They take every opportunity to disrupt instruction and intimidate teachers and students.

Education is a privilege, and it is up to school administrators to rid the system of people who fail to take the privilege seriously or interfere with others' ability to use the privilege.

The problems in our schools rest on the heads of the bureaucrats who allow bad citizens to darken the schoolhouse door day after day. Blaming teachers for the problem is like blaming the police for crime.

Ralph L. Sapia

Towson

The writer teaches social studies at Pikesville High School.

Until parents and administrators unite to halt the disrespectful and disruptive behavior in the classrooms and halls of our public schools, teachers will not be able to perform any educational miracles.

No amount of textbooks or computers will ensure learning - and it can begin only when students accept responsibility for their behavior and respect the rights of others.

Let's not blame the teachers for society's failure to send them students ready to learn.

Joan Fowler

Ellicott City

Stock quotations aren't real money

Financial publications often make the mistake of assuming that a decline in stock prices from an exalted level means a loss of money. And one of the subheadings on The Sun's article "Stock prices drop for 3rd year in row; declines accelerate" (Jan. 1) reads: "$2.8 trillion in wealth erased."

People might well ask: "What happened to all that money?" The answer, of course, is: "Nothing happened to it - it never existed."

Prices quoted on a stock exchange are just quotes, and they are good only as a guide, based on last sale or a bid for a potential trade. It is not as though this amount had been deposited in a bank or represented a real sum of money.

So if you owned stocks whose value was once quoted at a much higher price than they are now, remember that you haven't lost that money, because you never had it.

Franklin Littleton

Baltimore

Stop harassing black motorists

I heard about Driving While Black (DWB) from friends and associates for years and one day asked a black friend if he was serious about this or just being ironic ("Driving while black," editorial, Jan. 6). "Serious," he told me.

For years following that revelation I would ask my black associates about DWBs. I found that nearly 100 percent of them had been subjected to this embarrassment.

It's far past time this blatantly discriminatory practice was brought into the light of day and put to an end. We're all equal in this society and should be treated as such.

Michael Baker

Baltimore

Launching a war will inspire terror

The Bush administration has been talking steadily for more than one year about war. It seems strange that there has been so little comment about the results of war.

But war on the ground means death, devastation, despair, misery, starvation, homelessness - unending horror. It also creates a rapidly increasing animosity that leads to hatred.

Thus an inevitable consequence of a Middle East war led by the United States will be more terrorist attacks in this country, many of which we will be helpless to prevent.

The best way to foster homeland security is to work to negotiate a settlement between Israel and the Palestinians and reach out to Arab and Muslim nations with technical and educational assistance, and help them form democratic societies where social and economic justice prevail.

Sam Legg

Cockeysville

Circumcision isn't important to health

It's a shame that in an article on the resurgence of Muslim ritual circumcisions in post-communist Bulgaria ("In Bulgaria, a return to rituals," Dec. 15). The Sun printed the antiquated claims of a Bulgarian doctor: "`Women married to circumcised men have fewer instances of cervical and uterine cancer. And it increases male sexual performance,' he said with a grin."

The results of studies disproving these statements long ago are available in many places, including the well-respected medical Web site of the National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers.

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