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Letters to the Editor

September 05, 2010

It's time to put public back in public schools



To the editor:

During my citizens tour around Washington County, my PTA tour visiting with schools (ongoing), e-mails and various chats, people had questions. I have been asked about dress codes and Race to the Top, transportation issues and social promotion. I have been asked about funding, redistricting, textbooks, school start dates, teachers, athletic practices on holidays, diversity, the superintendent, college and more.

Other times, ideas were shared and new friends were made.

People want to be heard. Doesn't seem like much to ask, does it? Questions deserve answers, correspondence deserves response.

Communication became the heart of my campaign because of what I personally experienced. I soon found out there were many who experienced that same thing. I was told stories of getting no answer, futile answers, lengthy waits (months and months), not being granted meetings, tedious chain of command and lack of follow-up. There is a real frustration, and parents are simply deflated from their whole experience. Why would we ever be satisfied with a resolution that left citizens feeling this way?

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CNN is doing a special called Fix Our Schools, and they speak with teachers on fixing our school system. One of the many ideas suggested is how schools need to partner with parents. Another suggestion was increased teacher collaboration. I fully support teachers sharing, across the county, their successes and struggles. This kind of collaboration fosters support, efficiency and success.

This is a publicly funded school system, not a private corporation. Yet, we act as if there are only choice obligations to the taxpayer. It's time to put the public back into public schools.

Dottie Gruhler
Smithsburg

Editor's note: Gruhler is a candidate for Washington County Board of Education.




Candidates owe it to us to step up for debate



To the editor:

I'm adding my voice to the others in demanding a debate between Del. Christopher B. Shank and state Sen. Donald F. Munson, who are both running for state Senate in District 2. Munson puts himself in a bad light when he refuses to debate.

I've always heard it said that you work just as hard to get a job as you expect to work once you're in the job. Does Munson expect to skate effortlessly into re-election? That doesn't sound like the person I want working on my behalf in Annapolis, especially this year, when national policies are affecting the state in critical new ways.

Voters need information and this year we're demanding it. Anyone running for a public service job should be willing to serve the public interest by providing that information. A debate is not too much to expect. Come on, Sen. Munson, step up.

Margie Stickley
Hagerstown

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