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Letters to the Editor

September 27, 2010

Voters need to think before they vote



To the editor:

There is little debate that our economy and national unity are under siege. Pounded by propaganda, special interest groups, expensive wars, plus a slow economic recovery, voters are fearful, frustrated -- and angry. We have even witnessed tea party demonstrators packing guns, hurling racial slurs, calling for bloodshed. Thankfully, West Virginians strongly reject such tactics and this behavior has abated. Yet most of us share a great frustration for candidates and elected officials who cannot or will not address our basic needs.

In short, it's the economy, and we simply cannot support our military, education, infrastructure, law, commerce, public health or tax cuts without creating many more good jobs with greater speed. This will demand real cooperation between local, state and federal officials currently in office and much more focus and unity than we have experienced over the last several months.

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Although we keep sending them to Charleston, the current political machine has accomplished little of practical value, either independently or in cooperation with other officials currently in office. These are all very likeable fellows, but it's time to replace this highly political machine with legislators who will focus on Berkeley County's most critical issues and work effectively with other local, state and federal officials currently in office.

In Berkeley County, there are two candidates running for county clerk and six vying for three council positions. If voters don't care, the county clerk's office could remain in the dark ages. Fortunately, though, all of these positions could be filled by excellent public servants -- if enough people care to become informed and get to the polls,

The upcoming election is especially critical to Berkeley County's immediate and long-term health. Are we angry enough to replace officials who don't perform? Will we get to the polls and elect those who will work effectively with others now in office? Intelligent, practical voting requires extra effort. Considering the millions of American lives sacrificed to protect our freedoms, how could we possibly ignore our simple, patriotic duty to participate thoughtfully in every election and vote for the greater good.

Bill Yearout
Martinsburg, W.Va.




Ask the students why they drop out



To the editor:

Education Week wrote an article in March 2006 asking why students drop out of school.

While there are many factors that contribute to dropout rates, one of the main reasons students drop out is boredom and disengagement.

In October 2008, an article on Associated Content states, "One of the main reasons people drop out of high school is lack of interest."

In January, a story in The Times (a Florida newspaper) says that students have said "there's nothing here for me to work towards."

No, it can't be "boredom." It just has to be some long-winded, complex, multilevel, in depth, often politically driven conclusion.

There was one line in the Times story that should give great pause. Superintendent Marks (quoted in the story) said, "Maybe what we need to do is go straight to the source and find out from the kids what they think."

Maybe? When you walk into a doctor's office, car shop and even the returns desk at a store, they all want to know what the problem is. But when it comes to education, we have yet to "go straight to the source." Then, as our school systems look like deer caught in the headlights, the federal government steps in and sweeps us off our feet with the kind of "reform" that turns free learning into test churning.

Dottie Gruhler
Smithsburg

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

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