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Letters to the editor - 3/10/03

March 10, 2003

Federal school system worked



To the editor:


I am one of the "non WASP immigrants" so disparagingly dismissed by M. Giovanoni (public schools, tools of dictators). I was raised in a country where education is public, where separation of church and state is strictly adhered to, and where, oh horror!, the federal government is in charge of education.

Because of that system, students, in the most remote areas of the country, are taught the same subjects (no electives but a steady dose of all maths, physics, biology, chemistry, literature, grammar, geography, history, civics, 2 languages, art and music), given the same tests on the same day throughout the country, by teachers who have been rigorously trained in their subjects in state normal schools.

There are no sports or orchestras: you pursue these activities on your own, on Saturdays. Only when you take and pass two written and oral exams in 11th and 12th grade can you be admitted to a university. For those students who do not wish to stay on an academic track, they can enter technical schools, also run by the government, so that at the end of their studies they are fully able to compete with like-educated youngsters in business offices, stores or factories.

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When I applied to enter the University of Maryland, the point value of those two exams gave me half the credits needed for a B.A., that is, I could graduate in two years.

There are no school boards, either elected or appointed. The business of education is handled by academicians and professors who decide the curriculum and the test contents. Would you have a teacher carve a steer or, a mechanic teach Latin?

Putting parents in charge of their children's education is a joke, especially when one sees the level of some parents' knowledge and their ignorance of what is needed to succeed in a tight job market. The parents should instead see to it that their children learn manners, be courteous, do their assignments honestly and on time and show a thirst for learning. Then M. Shrader would not have to worry about "maintaining control."

Thankfully I was not converted into "a good little clone useful to the factory owners of the Northeast." I was aiming higher. But it would be nice to clone our students into the type of high achievers who have immigrated to this country. We then, would not have to attract engineers or computer programmers from India or Korea to fill the jobs our young people cannot handle.

And my country was not run by a dictator.

Mrs. Harold H. Jacobs
Hagerstown




Donoghue cares



To the editor:


I must say after this last election the Republican Central Committee did a fine job for their candidates. I know they called me at least once a week, and I wasn't even a registered Republican.

I am so thankful that Del. John Donoghue, D-Washington, was re-elected. It is nice and comforting to know that at least one representative will go to bat for the people in health care issues.

Donoghue was responsible for getting Optimum Choice subscribers the choice of another lab rather than Lab Corp. which sends the samples out of town.

Thanks, Del. Donoghue, for representing us so we can go to another lab. If it takes a liberal approach to get the job done, so be it.

I pray that those who were elected to serve and represent the people do just that. Wear the shoes and feel how they fit. Isn't that right Sen. Mooney? Red lights cameras? How about working for those who get minimum wage and must pay $400 a month for their family's HMO?

Constance Cramer
Hagerstown

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