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Letters to the Editor

September 10, 2009

Schools shouldn't have reacted to pressure



To the editor:

Picture this: Your pulse is racing. Sweat is trickling down your neck, and the new suit you're wearing is itchy and uncomfortable. The judge just asked you a question, and you feel the eyes of friends, family and teachers. You take a deep breath, close your eyes and remind yourself that this is not a courtroom, but a high school Constitution competition.

I experienced this interrogation as a member of the 2007 Maryland "We the People" Team. With the support and guidance of our teachers, family and friends, a small group of Boonsboro High School students competed in this nationwide competition in Washington, D.C. This event was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It led me to major in politics at Catholic University.

My passion for civic engagement was ignited in the classroom. Although my parents shaped my values and beliefs, I learned how I could use those convictions for a greater good from my teachers. If Washington County Public Schools had accepted Neal Parrott's view that "politics and world views should not be the responsibility of the school system," I would have never had the "We the People" opportunity.

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An important question posed to us in the competition was, "How can the nation encourage more people, especially young people, to vote?" What better way to inspire youth involvement than a personal, positive message from President Obama? His speech provided a teachable moment, a moment to ignite a passion in a child that could last a lifetime.

Many parents fear the president's politics, so instead of trusting the beliefs they have imparted on their children, they would rather censor school lessons. This act of preventing the speech from airing in local schools not only degrades the office of the President of the United States, but also limits children's educational opportunities.

I wish that Washington County Public Schools had acted in the best interests of students rather than limiting their learning by reacting to political pressure.

Maura K. James
Boonsboro




COLA adjustment means a lot to seniors



To the editor:

Very few people actually know what the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) means to those who count on this for a living or what they did to make our country what it's supposed to be.

Those are the ones who went through World War I, the Great Depression, World War II and Korea. A very special breed of people that we all will become a part of in the future.

Now, the Social Security trustees are projecting to eliminate the COLA for the next two years. This rationale is based upon a drop in oil, energy and the overall cost of living.

Perhaps the cost of living dropped because of the high unemployment rate and people trying to get out of debt.

As stated due to the stimulus plan, more than 1 million people will be back to work this year. If this is true and people are working again then we may see more buying power and higher cost.

This news from the trustees will also impact upon our elected leaders, who won't be able to vote their annual cost-of-living raise.

Based upon this decision regarding the COLA, one can tell the Social Security trustees have the money or just don't go shopping. After the bank and auto industry bailouts along with Cash for Clunkers and other giveaway programs, our economy must be in good shape.

The seniors don't have to worry about real estate tax increases, electric rates or a new tax to pay down the $9 trillion budget.

I heard a rumor that some seniors can now afford to buy food or medicine, but that's just a rumor.

Glen J. Conway
Falling Waters, W.Va.

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