August 29, 2008

Off-color language sends wrong signal

During my 40 years in education as a teacher, principal and director of elementary schools, I have had the pleasure of working with students, teachers and other school personnel. And I know that in addition to teaching academic subjects, we educators work hard to instill values of civility and respect as we teach young people about how to converse with each other in a clear and appropriate manner.

Given this background, I was shocked and dismayed when I saw the first edition of The Baltimore Sun's "Findit!" section (Aug. 24) and found the following phrases that go against everything we try to teach our young people: "It's Time to Get Off Your Butt," "Screwing Off at Work" and "Sunday Isn't Suck Day Eve."

Instead of this unfortunate approach to journalism, do you have any writer who could model appropriate language for readers?

Karen Schafer, Baltimore

The writer is director of the teacher preparation program at Towson University.

Public is enthusiastic about charter schools

In her Sunday article, Liz Bowie gave a balanced account of the rise of public charter schools in Maryland over the past five years. But it is unfortunate that two words in the headline "Charter growth: A skeptical public gradually embraces charter schools statewide" (Aug. 24) could give rise to a false impression.

"Skeptical public"? Hardly. As the article indicates, parents are enthusiastic about charter schools, and those schools have many more applicants than seats available.

The skepticism, if not outright hostility, comes from the usual suspects in the education establishment who cling to the status quo.

The next step in promoting charter schools ought to be expediting the approval process for these independent and accountable schools that offer the choices that families want.

Robert Holland, Chicago

The writer is a senior fellow for education policy at the Heartland Institute.

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