Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 28, 2006

Right wing strives to divide the poor

Many, many thanks to Cynthia Tucker for "Black men's problems not Mexicans' fault" (Opinion * Commentary, Aug. 21) and to The Sun for publishing her column.

Today, right-wing Republicans are engaged in a "divide and rule" strategy to pit immigrants from Mexico and elsewhere against African-Americans and other U.S.-born minorities and working-class whites, and this game must be exposed.

These immigrant-hating people who now show fake sympathy for low-income and unemployed African-Americans have, since the administration of President Reagan, been responsible for a whole series of harmful policies that have had devastating consequences. These policies include:

Dismantling affirmative action programs.

Defunding inner-city schools, leading to conditions Jonathan Kozol has famously called "savage inequality."

Making sharp cutbacks in college financial aid programs which are essential to the success of minority students.

Taking pressure off racists by failing to enforce civil rights laws.

Trashing already weak labor laws, thus leaving most workers without any union protection.

Promoting policies of corporate globalization that pull down wages and working conditions for laborers in the United States.

Failing utterly to deal with the health care coverage crisis - the United States remains alone among industrialized countries in not having a national health care system.

We should look closely at the record of politicians like Rep. Tom Tancredo, Rep. Dana Rohrbacher and Rep. James Sensenbrenner and see if any of them ever lifted a finger to oppose any of the above policies before we listen to their vituperation against immigrants.

Emile Schepers

Great Falls, Va.

Mastering the basics lets learning be fun

Alfred Posamentier's commentary on the fun of arithmetic, while informative, left out what I believe to be a very important concern ("Do the math - if teachers think it's fun, so will kids," Opinion * Commentary, Aug. 22).

I believe that, in an effort to make education fun, we have eliminated from the teaching process material children need to be successful.

I attended public school when rote learning was required. We sat at our desks and repeated math's basics; we stood in front of the class and competed in spelling bees; we did seat work.

While these activities may not have been fun, the repetition caused the material to remain with many of us so that we were able to progress to the problem-solving level and be able to concentrate on the problems, and not on the addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

While I agree fully that teachers should be inspired, I think that first-, second- and third- graders should learn the basics to grasp the fun of arithmetic.

Patsie L.Williams

Baltimore

Edison schools show admirable progress

The Sun's article "More Maryland schools face new standards" (Aug. 17) went out of its way to point out that Gilmor Elementary School in Baltimore, one of three partnership schools operated by Edison Schools, is one of the 241 Maryland schools that did not make "adequate yearly progress" (AYP) last year under the No Child Left Behind Law.

But if it is fair to single out Gilmor's need for additional improvement, then it also is fair to publicly note that that the other two partnership schools operated by Edison - Furman L. Templeton and Montebello elementary schools - have been removed from the "needs improvement" list.

Just a few short years ago, these three schools were among the lowest-performing in all of Maryland. All three are doing better now.

And the fact that all three schools are making progress and two are no longer on the "needs improvement" list is an extraordinary success that deserves to be celebrated.

Jacqueline Marshall

Baltimore

The writer is a vice president of Edison Schools Inc.

Bush has become source of instability

I never thought I would agree with President Bush. But I agree with his remark that, "Sometimes it takes people awhile to come to the sober realization of what forces create stability and what don't."

And I hope that the American public is finally coming to the realization that the Bush administration has not and does not create stability.

The Bush administration has created instability in Iraq and turned it into a recruiting and training haven for terrorists.

With his soul-mates from Israel, Mr. Bush has created instability in Lebanon and setback a fledgling democracy in the Middle East.

He has alienated our allies with his lack of world knowledge and tact, losing us international support and goodwill.

And in five and one-half years he has taken us from a budget surplus to unsustainable deficits, creating hardships for the poor and middle class.

Roger Davis

Ellicott City

Body count on roads dwarfs toll of war

Every year more than 40,000 Americans die in automobile accidents. That's more than 10 times the number of U.S. soldiers lost in our whole war in Iraq each year.

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