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Letters to the Editor - July 8

July 07, 2011

‘No Child’ set an impossible standard

To the editor:

The Herald-Mail published several articles on July 3 concerning problems with county schools. Maryland, in conjunction with the federal No Child Left Behind mandate, annually increases the percent of students who must pass the required reading and math exams. This program imposed by politicians on school systems sounds great — every child will be able to read and do math at grade level by 2014. Every child!

As any parent or teacher knows, circumstances can prohibit many students from reaching grade-level status. Some have learning problems. Others could keep up, but family issues, lack of supervision at home, and/or physical or emotional difficulties impede success.

By increasing the required percentage each year, many students are almost guaranteed to fail. Students who are three grade-levels behind cannot be expected to achieve grade-level status in one or even two years. Raising the bar each year means that at-risk students will almost certainly continue to fall behind.

This is an example of why states (and counties) should be leery of accepting government funding. These “free” monies always have strings attached — strings that can force schools to reach impossible goals — or else. It’s that “or else” that is worrisome. “Do it our way or else … your schools can be forced to conform to one-size-fits-all standards … your school system can be denied any educational funding … or some other national school system plan that makes no allowance for local issues, standards or needs.

Maryland accepted federal funding for the No Child Left Behind program. Now we must find some way to have every student able to read and do math at grade level by 2014. We could just drop all learning disabled, troubled and failing students from school. That would raise the success rate.

Karel Henneberger
Smithsburg

Pay attention to what matters

To the editor:

I just can’t understand it. Today, in this country we live in, the main news stories are about a mother who was accused and acquitted of killing her baby, a congressman who had a Twitter affair, a governor who tried to sell a Senate seat, an alcohol tax increase, same sex marriage legalization and much other junk that who really cares about?

We seem to have forgotten that we have thousands upon thousands of our youngest and finest in foreign lands for reasons that are beyond my comprehension.

Each one of those brave warriors are there and stand ready to take a bullet for me, you and even the lowest of the low who enjoy the freedom of the U.S. — all of those brave souls know and understand that their next breath could be their last.
 
Why are we forgetting them? When I say our government leaders as well as you and me. Something is wrong with this picture.

Ron Hovis
Hagerstown

Restore to us our old values

To the editor:

As the flag was raised the wind slowly turned the flag so it was barely visible from where I sat listening to the “Star Spangled Banner.” I grabbed pen and paper and wrote.

As the flag was being raised and waved in the breeze a strange feeling flowed over me and a question flooded my mind.  

How long will we be able to observe our flag and the freedoms it stands for? Slowly the freedoms for which our forefathers fought are eroding away. The meaning of this flag seems so remote and distant to most of those around me, yet it means so much to those preceding us, many of whom gave their lives.

How long will our freedoms last and our flag fly over us? God help us and restore to us the values we once owned.

William McKeel
Hagerstown

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