Letters To The Editor


December 10, 2007

Build better schools from the bottom up

After years of trying to "turn around its worst schools" without making sufficient investment in our teachers and children, Maryland public officials are discouraged ("Fixing schools usually fails," Dec. 6).

But it would be a shame if the citizenry concludes that low-income children just can't learn.

We should try listening to the teens who really want an education, such as the math literacy workers of the Baltimore Algebra Project.

They're more frustrated than any of us adults are.

But they have a prescription for improving education that makes sense: Provide arts, music, sports, challenging academics and every other aspect of a comprehensive education for every child; build new schools and renovate crumbling ones; have classes with fewer students so teachers can give individual attention; and provide jobs for every teenager who will work.

The Baltimore Algebra Project is looking at the problem from the bottom up, trying to create a demand among young people who attend the worst schools for a quality education.

They get little support from our leaders in government.

But it is tragic that they have to attend schools with lead in the water supply and insufficient labs or libraries.

City schools CEO Andres Alonso recently said that few projects have the record of the Baltimore Algebra Project. He was referring to the fact that students tutored through the project do learn.

The question is: Can the adults running our government and our school system listen and learn?

Charlie Cooper


The writer is a member of Baltimore Education Advocates, a group that supports the work of the Baltimore Algebra Project.

Immigrants provide new focus for racism

The Sun's article "Immigrants again an issue in Taneytown" (Dec. 5) demonstrates that anti-illegal immigrant policies are really not about the law but about xenophobic and racist attitudes toward the poor Mexican and Central American immigrants who make up the vast majority of the U.S. illegal immigrant population.

What better proof do we need for this than the fact that Taneytown doesn't even have an illegal immigration problem. In fact, Latinos make up only 1.5 percent of Taneytown's population, according to the 2000 Census.

The stated purpose of the proposed resolution against illegal immigration is to "head off problems before they arise" and to "push our state leaders to do their jobs."

If Taneytown is so enthusiastic about law enforcement, why don't its leaders crack down on actual lawbreakers instead of focusing on hypothetical malefactors?

The gross racial disparities between African-Americans and white Americans demonstrate that America is far from achieving racial equality.

Illegal immigration has broadened the sphere in which American racism gets publicly expressed.

Maryland residents need to recognize what these anti-illegal immigrant policies are really about and start demanding effective immigration policies instead of those that undermine community policing and endanger lives.

L. Gabriel Rojo


The writer is a member of the National Capital Immigration Coalition.

Any attack on Iran will now be criminal

The Sun's editorial "A measure of intelligence" (Dec. 5) was exactly on target. But recent history has shown that facts hardly ever get in the way of ideology in the Bush White House.

With the intelligence report now made public, our president needs to know that attacking Iran under false pretenses would be criminal.

He needs to understand that America is a country of laws, populated by a people who believe in honesty and fair play.

He needs to know that our America doesn't wage war without just cause.

In short, President Bush needs to be reminded what it means to be a genuine American patriot.

So the message to Mr. Bush should be loud and clear: You've done enough damage to our country already. Do us a favor and leave office without doing any more.

David White

Ellicott City

E-books abandon pleasure of the text

William Powers did a wonderful job enumerating all of the reasons that e-books are not living up to the hype that has been attached to them ("Is anyone buying latest e-book hype?" Opinion

Commentary, Dec. 5).

I am an avid reader and when friends ask me when I am switching to the "modern" way of reading, I say "never."

Part of the pleasure of reading is the physical nature of the book itself.

The heft of a Harry Potter 1,000-page opus or the delicate weight of a slim volume of Emily Dickinson poetry evokes a feeling about what is coming.

The reader's experience is even affected by the character of the paper and whether it is almost see-through or as fine as elegant stationery.

Finally, I think of the bookcases in my home filled with my favorite books and the times that I will glance at the spine of a book and smile, remembering the pleasure I had reading it.

Or of the times I will pick a book from the shelf and open it at random, falling back into the story easily.

Books are a part of the fabric of my home and my life.

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