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Letters to the editor 4/14/03

April 15, 2003

Teach it right the first time



To the editor:


What is the Washington County Board of Education trying to do to our kids? As a step-dad with pre-teens in the county, and someone involved in homework, I've become infuriated with the craziness of our public system of education. Did you know that our children are being taught to spell "foneticly?" And even more nuts, they are being taught to do estimated mathematics!!

It is not that difficult to teach kids to spell correctly or to multiply two numbers with an accurate product. Why do it any other way?

Will these kids get hired for jobs if the spelling on a job application "sounds right" but is wrong? Can they go to the supermarket and buy $100 worth of products because the $96 in their pocket will "round up" to $100? Will they succeed in science or engineering by estimating math? Can you build high-rise offices, or make cars and airplanes with estimated math? No. So what is the point?

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If you can't spell or perform basic mathematics correctly, you don't only come across as uneducated, but also have a harder job relearning the correct way to do these things later in life.

It is known as "The Law of Primacy" - namely, that learning must be right the first time; "unteaching" is more difficult than teaching. As an active flight instructor and a former educator of medical students and surgical residents, I've seen this time and time again.

We do our children a great disservice by educating them in this fashion, and make difficult their future in the world economy in which we live. What is so tough about doing it correctly the first time?

Daniel J. Weinberg
Hagerstown




More problems with health care



To the editor:


If you are waiting until age 65 to draw Social Security you probably already know that those turning 65 this year and beyond will have to wait for a couple of months before they are eligible to receive Social Security payments.

Those months stretch into years because of legislation Congress passed to extend the eligibility age for full Social Security benefits.

For example: If you turn 65 this October you will not be allowed to receive a Social Security check until December.

Something you might not know is that although you also are still eligible for Medicare at age 65, you will have to pay the Medicare Part B premium out of your own pocket until you actually begin drawing Social Security.

At this point in time it doesn't sound like a very serious problem; but what about those elderly who will eventually have to wait until age 67 to draw full Social Security benefits?

They will have to pay Medicare Part B premium out of their pocket for two years. The elderly have a hard enough time living on the Social Security's fixed income; they don't need the government taking money out of their pocket to pay for something they have already paid for.

Yes, I said something they already paid for. Medicare withholding is taken from everyone's paycheck (this in addition to Social Security withholdings). Why is Medicare Part B dependent on Social Security benefits?

The elderly are getting screwed and we need to do something to correct the situation. Contact your legislative representative and tell them we need a change. Do it now.

William Peck
Needmore, Pa.

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