November 02, 2008

HSA test requirement upholds diploma's value

Kudos to state schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick, the Maryland State Board of Education and Baltimore schools CEO Andres Alonso for standing firm on requiring students to pass the High School Assessment tests to graduate from Maryland high schools ("Md. firm on tests," Oct. 29).

Tenth-grade-level proficiency is the standard for these tests, so every student who graduates from high school should be required to pass them.

If you cannot read at the 10th-grade level upon graduation, you will not be able to compete in the job market.

Indeed, a high school diploma is not sufficient as a requirement for many jobs today. So high school graduates should aspire to higher education at a community college, trade school or four-year college to prepare for this ever-changing world.

Watering down the high school diploma would only create more social and economic problems.

Lola J. Massey, Owings Mills

The writer is a retired Maryland schoolteacher.

Ordinary citizens still wait for help

As the Bush administration continues deliberating on yet another multibillion-dollar bailout for big businesses ("White House explores aid for GM, Chrysler," Oct. 28), the American people cannot catch a break.

It is obvious that the citizens of this country are the last thing on the government's mind.

Honestly, should we really be focusing our attention and resources on more vehicle production when people are being forced out of their homes by foreclosure and aren't able to send their children to college because of the failing economy?

It appears that once again, the government's priorities are completely out of line.

Najja Howard, Alexandria, Va.

Accountability lacking in police spy scandal

In the article "Troopers' spy effort was wider" (Oct. 24), we learned that a new segment of our society was spied on - environmental activists.

This group was not mentioned previously in accounts of the scandal, and was not part of the review of the spying program performed by former Attorney General Stephen H. Sachs.

It makes you wonder what else the Maryland State Police have failed to tell us.

As in the case of the way our rights have been trampled by the federal government in recent years, more and more abuse comes to light as we pay increasing attention to the issue.

We can thank the American Civil Liberties Union for its pursuit of this surveillance.

Our state legislators are considering the idea of passing new legislation to prevent the state police from spying on peaceful activists.

But we are supposed to be living in a free society.

What is wrong with our society if our legislators think that the only way that we can prevent this kind of abuse in the future is to pass some new law?

I am sure that if the perpetrators of the inappropriate (if not illegal) spying were held accountable, there would be no need for any new laws.

Our tax money paid for this abuse of our rights as citizens, and so far no one has been held accountable.

It is time for Gov. Martin O'Malley to get ahead of this train wreck and provide some much-needed accountability and openness.

Dale Smythe, Bel Air

Just say no to exit polls

Although perhaps tongue-in-cheek, Kevin Cowherd has highlighted a problem that seems to have become almost universal in American elections ("Hey, undecided voters: Time to decide already," Oct. 27).

Despite the fact that we cherish our secret ballot, some folks think they have the right to demand that we tell them how we will vote or have voted.

I might discuss politics with selected individuals, and I might even tell some of them what happened in the voting booth.

But anyone who thinks that he or she has the right to demand that information is going to be disappointed.

I've always hoped that an exit poller would try to stop me outside the polling place so that we could spend some quality time discussing the issue.

Martin Caskey, Millers Island

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.