The French Club has had to raise money just so my classroom can have a DVD player in my classroom to complete required curriculum listening comprehension exercises. I spend much more money for other supplies, equipment and student rewards. My classroom computer and its software are so antiquated that I cannot even use the Board of Education's Web site to create my own Web page.
The suggestion that world languages are being introduced at the elementary and middle school level because non-native English speakers will not learn English is ludicrous. These programs are being introduced to benefit learners. Empirical evidence and research prove that with each year of language study standardized test scores, analytical skills, study habits, knowledge of one's own language and appreciation for other cultures improve dramatically.
Knowing another language makes one more attractive to employers because we are now living in a global society. If you are an emergency personnel worker in Montgomery County, you receive an additional sum of money just for knowing how to speak another language even if you never use it on the job.
I am not in the teaching business for money or for glory, but I do all that I do with my own time and resources because it is what's best for my students. Washington County's Board of Education has proven that it can do more for less, but imagine the incredible things that could happen if it were to ever have a fully funded budget from the state and County Commissioners.
Paula R. Moore
Say no to gun control
To the editor:
Senate Bill 288, entitled "Maryland Assault Weapons Ban of 2004," is being fast-tracked by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and if allowed to pass will result in a comprehensive ban on most semi-automatic firearms, including some types of center-fire rifles, shotguns and pistols.
Under this bill, proponents define assault weapons by starting with "any semi-automatic firearm that takes a detachable magazine" and then checks to see if it has any cosmetic feature they don't like, such as a pistol grip or thumbhole stock. Then it bans "copycat guns" - meaning anything that the state thinks resembles an assault weapon. And it gets to decide what that is later!
To top it off, the bill mandates registration of any such firearms that are already in private hands by a certain date. But because the state can retroactively ban any gun it wants later, you might not know to register your gun with the state police in time - putting you in possession of a contraband weapon - which will get you a mandatory sentence in jail, which can be for as long as 20 years!
SB 288 is being passed off as a "public safety bill." Once again, the Senate Judiciary Committee has decided that you and I, as American citizens, need to be protected from these "assault weapons" and that we, as ordinary citizens, are not capable of deciding what weapon(s) we can and cannot possess. Now, ask yourself this question: "Why is the Senate Judiciary Committee fast-tracking this proposed legislation?" I'll tell you why. First, because fast-tracking gives the citizens less time to stand up and tell them "No!" Second, it's a way for them to advance their political agendas of more gun control (read that as taking away our right to "keep and bear arms").