Letters to the Editor - July 19

July 19, 2011

No Child Left Behind is a failure

To the editor:

As citizens who are footing the bill for Washington County Public Schools we deserve better than what we are getting for our money. If the article in The Herald-Mail is correct, No Child Left Behind is really a dismal failure.

Did I read it correctly that there are seventh-graders that are reading at third- or fourth-grade level? This is a sad statement about our school system. How can a child reading at the fourth-grade level even participate at a seventh-grade level? Can they even comprehend the text that is assigned as part of seventh grade?

The school system is partly to blame for this — why is this child in the seventh grade? Are we worried about the self-esteem of the child? If so, what will happen when this child leaves school and has to face the real world where they will not be sheltered? They need real help, not some feel-good action on the part of the school system.

Blame must also fall on the parents. Parents today look to the school system as babysitter as well as educator. Parents must play a significant part of their child’s education. Instead of spending an hour in front of the TV they need to read with their children and make sure that they know the alphabet before the child’s first day at school.

The years prior to the first day of school set the path that every child will have to walk and those years are in the hands of the parent. If a child starts school behind they are likely to remain behind.

Every student should remain at their grade level of performance. No Child Left Behind should not become “Every Child Pushed Ahead.”

Cliff Lane
Black Rock

You can help feed the hungry among us

To the editor:

Attention Home Gardeners!

Are there hungry people in Washington County? Yes! Over 330 hungry families representing over 1,000 individuals turned up just last week at a Maryland Food Bank Mobile Pantry food drop at Otterbein United Methodist Church in downtown Hagerstown. Similar numbers have attended free food drops in Boonsboro, Hancock, and elsewhere this spring.

Why are there so many hungry people here? These are the facts. Unemployment in the county (9.6 percent in May) and in Hagerstown (10.8 percent) — was the fourth highest across Maryland. Almost 10,000 children in Washington County get free or reduced school meals, due to low family incomes. Nationwide, food prices are increasing. Too many local families have difficulty affording food.

Are you fortunate to have enough food daily? If so, can you help? An unofficial group of agencies, organizations and individuals, the Washington County Hunger Group, has started several new projects and activities to reduce hunger here. One is called G.I.F.T., the Give It Fresh Today Program.

Here is how home gardeners can make a difference! Got extra fresh vegetables or fruits? Share you bounty with your local food pantry (on their open day) or at Food Resources. It’s easy!

Food Resources Inc., our local warehouse for the Maryland Food Bank, gratefully accepts fresh and canned food donations weekdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 220 McRand Court, Hagerstown. But do you know that there are also over 20 food pantries located all over the county that also serve hungry people? Just call the pantry nearest you to schedule your delivery. Find their locations and times of operation listed on the Food Resources website or by calling Food Resources staff at 301-733-4002.

However you choose to share from your garden, you will be helping hungry neighbors get fresh food.

Thank you!

The Washington County Hunger Group
(Members are from the Community Action Council, Food Resources Inc., United Way, REACH, the Washington County Partnership for Children and Families and individuals)

If a turn is ‘improper,’ mark it as such

To the editor:

On Thursday, June 2, 2011, at 12:30 a.m., I attempted to make a left turn onto the Casino grounds from an exit near Route 51 and Vine Street in Charles Town, W.Va.

I was driving the speed limit and put on my turn signal before making the left turn. Upon completion of the turn, a police officer approached my vehicle from behind at a high rate of speed with emergency lights flashing.

I immediately stopped the vehicle. The officer approached me and informed me that I had made an improper left turn. I explained to him that there were no clearly visible signs indicating that a left turn was a violation.

My actions and reactions were nonviolent and nonconfrontational, yet the officer issued me a ticket for $150 and took three points off my driver’s license. It is my opinion that this punishment is extremely harsh for making an improper left turn.

Having police officers staked out at a poorly marked intersection may also indicate that the problem is well known. Unfortunately, instances of entrapment such as this one will further deter customers from visiting the casino in the future.

J.E. Maier
Charles Town, W.Va.

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