Letters (10-15-14)

Published 12:42 am Wednesday, October 15, 2014

General education courses not just ‘to get out of the way’

As an educator, I read with interest the Post’s weekly Education section. I am particularly interested in the stories about higher education and the students preparing for college. However, on several occasions, most recently in the Oct. 9 article “Getting a head start,” I have noted with some alarm that reporters laud the ability to “get general education courses out of the way.” This phrase sends entirely the wrong message to future college students and to the people who teach them.

The use of the phrase “get them out of the way” is, quite simply, anti-educational. When we say we want to get something “out of the way,” we imply that we have better, more pressing things to do. When education is our priority, however, it is irresponsible to refer to any learning as something to be gotten out of the way.

In general education courses, students are taught to read deeply and carefully; write persuasively and clearly; analyze numerical data critically; and interpret historical and cultural moments fairly and accurately. These are not the types of knowledge that should be gotten “out of the way.” Rather, these are the foundations upon which other knowledge is built and out of which passion for learning grows.

I understand that our world is one that values specialization, credentials and skills over breadth of interest, knowledge and reflection. It is all the more important then that in the Education section more respect is shown for those who teach general education courses and for the students who value what they learn — both in terms of content and in terms of mental acuity — in general education courses. In the future, please refrain from suggesting that general education is simply something to be gotten out of the way.

— Margaret Stahr


Something fishy about this

“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

— Abraham Lincoln

Candidate Greg Edds signs the letter to stop the special use appeal until the new commission is seated. Odd, just a few weeks ago, he was the only county commission candidate who wouldn’t sign the Local Government Commission letter.

Wonder how his handlers at the Tea Party feel about his stalwart commitment to them? He’s on videotape extolling their virtues and even emceeing the Tea Party gala. Now, again, something smells fishy. Edds, so close to the election, has an epiphany and totally changes?

Or what if there is something sinister in this new arrangement, as the Tea Party can count to three? (Chairman Jim) Sides is not going away. He might just be behind the curtain pulling the strings while avowed puppets (commissioners Craig Pierce and Mike Caskey) do his bidding with Edds as their controlling force.

And it’s not like, if Rowan voters don’t like the results, they can do anything about it for two years.

Seems to me the prudent thing for Rowan voters to do is vote for three of the non-Fish House/Tea Party candidates, i.e., Gene Miller, Jim Green, Raymond Coltrain, Rick Locklear, Leda Belk or Judy Klusman and let the latter two (Edds and Cohen) flounder in the sea.

— John T. Blair


Epidemics of our own making

U.S., state and municipal health authorities are working overtime and spending millions of dollars to stem the spread of Ebola, which has killed just one person here.

Where is the comparable effort to stem the spread of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and other chronic diseases that kill 1.4 million Americans annually and are linked conclusively to excessive consumption of animal products? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, that’s 23 times the number killed by all infectious diseases combined, including AIDS, hepatitis, blood poisoning and intestinal infections!

Apparently, our society tolerates this massive assault on our public health because meat, dairy and egg products have powerful champions in Congress. Bacteria and viruses have none.

Each of us can take personal responsibility for our own and our family’s health by reducing, then dropping, animal products from our menu. Fresh vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains contain all the nutrients our body requires and are touted by leading health authorities. Soy and nut-based meats, milks, and ice creams offer a delicious transition treat.

— Shane Papadopolous


Try Sunday school or home

Regarding both letters, “Bible teaching” and “Schools teach fact” (in Sunday’s Post):

I do not feel it to be necessary to critique “the factually-challenged currently employed as teacher “or “The struggling passengers on the Titanic.” But rather to concentrate on the fact that Bible studies should be taught in Sunday school or home. Too many beliefs are involved and some would most likely be ignored. Whether or not the classes are labeled under free choice and not mandatory, the fact remains, religion is a personal choice and does not belong in the public school curriculum.

— Annick Nurisso


School board took stand

On his campaign Facebook page this week, Travis Allen posted “Not one board member stated they approved or stated they would keep [the Bible classes]. They put you off until after the election. They said they would ‘evaluate!’ They said they would ‘review’ to see if it is Constitutional.”

Dean Hunter stated on his campaign Facebook, “Make no mistake… this was a political decision on the part of the board members who are up for re-election this year.”

Mr. Allen and Mr. Hunter seem to be implying that the Board of Education should have immediately taken a stance that they are not sure is supported by law.

I commend the current board for their prudence and patience to confirm that they have a legal “leg to stand on” before running head-first into a potential lawsuit. Hopefully the lawyers will be able to find a way to resolve any legal issues with the classes so both the Freedom From Religion Foundation (curious how these guys come out of the woodwork five weeks before an election, isn’t it?) and the parents in the West Rowan area are pleased with the outcome.

Based on this and other issues, I encourage all to support Chairman Richard Miller, Vice-chair Kay Wright Norman, L.A. Overcash, and Jean Kennedy for re-election to the Board of Education.

— Roy Bentley


Why fight the Bible?

I have been trying to understand why anyone, not being forced themselves to take a Bible class, would object to others benefiting from that enrichment.

When I open the Post, that inside page is nearly full of crime stories. When I watch the evening news, I am seeing the same thing in Charlotte and around the world. And for some, students interested in studying the Bible is a problem.

History tells that many students of the Bible went on to lofty thinking, and would you believe they started schools, universities, hospitals, orphanages and other homes for unfortunate children? Today, this continues as churches support shelters, food, clothing and emotional needs for those in need. We see the same as doctors and nurses travel the world healing the sick.

So what does studying The Book of Books have to do with all of this? To me it is clear. I firmly believe if we all studied the Bible and lived as God teaches us, we would have no crime. And our lofty thinking would continue. Sadly, this will never happen; but a goal worth working toward. Certainly not working away from. So why would we all not want this?

— Donna Kesler


Equal rights for all

I am a firm believer in equal rights. I believe that all free adult citizens — black/white, male/female, young/old, gay/straight, etc. — should have the exact same legal, political and civil rights, so I am glad that gay people can now get married in our state. Gay people should have the same rights as straight people. I would like this newspaper to endorse the creation of an equal rights law that would guarantee that all free adult citizens will have the same legal, political and civil rights in our state. Bigots will oppose such a law which is why we need one.

­— Chuck Mann