Letters To The Editor
To the Editor:
I concur with the views of Alan Cromer ("Early Admission to College for Bright Students," Commentary, May 17, 1989).
I was in high school during World War II, and my principal encouraged me to complete my graduation requirements in three years by going to summer school. I have never regretted doing so.
As a teacher and principal, I have promoted the idea of early graduation with no success. The social scene and the pervasive opinion that ''they are not mature enough to go to college at 17" have always scuttled any attempts on my part.
I agree with Mr. Cromer that many of our students would be better served academically by moving on to college earlier.
Staying an entire extra year in high school to go to the prom and take two graduation requirements that are only open to seniors doesn't make sense to me.
The earlier entry into college would also seem to be an advantage for some colleges in this day of increasing competition for students.
I suspect that early admission would be particularly helpful to the smaller, liberal-arts colleges, which could best develop such a program. Maybe that is where it will have to be sold first.
Brother Walter Davenport, C.S.C. Principal Holy Cross High School River Grove, Ill.
To the Editor:
Your article "Schools Witness a Troubling Revival of Bigotry" (May 24, 1989) may have omitted the central cause of racial incidents.
Thomas Sowell, the black public-policy expert at Stanford University, asserts that the major reason for white-caused racial incidents is anger with reverse racism.
For example, white college students are angry because many whites and Asians with high grades and Scholastic Aptitude Test scores are rejected from colleges so that blacks with much lower grades and test scores can attend, often for free.
White students are angry to hear that their parents can't find work because color now counts above merit.
In San Francisco, 50 percent of all new firefighters must be nonwhite. The firefighter examination is no longer used--the messenger is being blamed for the bad news.
The Detroit Symphony Orchestra was forced to hire more black musicians even though auditions had long been blind, with candidates performing behind a screen.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children's central recommendation for combating bigotry is to require anti-prejudice lessons "to toddlers as young as 2."
These lessons will be ineffective with whites.
With social policy depriving them of the right to be judged on the content of their character rather than on the color of their skin, you can't expect whites to embrace minorities. That would be like expecting robbery victims to befriend their robbers.
Martin Nemko Educational Consultant Oakland, Calif.
To the Editor:
I read with interest your article about bleachers collapsing ("Collapses of School Bleachers Belie Company's Denial of Prior Incidents," May 10, 1989).
Our primary business is bleacher inspection and repair.
A great deal more information about bleachers can be added.
For example, according to the National Fire Protection Association, it is the owner's responsibility to inspect and maintain bleachers annually.
Every other year, the bleachers must be inspected by a professional engineer or qualified service person. And their operation must be supervised by responsible personnel, in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
Maintenance-free bleachers do not exist.
In school districts that budget for regular, professional inspection and repair, bleachers function safely on a continuing basis. When problems develop, they can be corrected with minimal expense.
But it has been our experience that most districts are not aware of the requirement for inspection and maintenance.
In fact, a vast majority of districts responding to our advertising indicate that their bleachers have never been inspected.
Even when inspection reports include photographs revealing fractured welds, broken boards, loose wall anchors, and a host of other problems, repairs are often deferred because of budget problems.
Budgets are strained even more when "unexpected" and expensive bleacher-repair costs surface.
In the past 30 years, there have been 14 bleacher manufacturers. We are aware of many near misses with bleacher accidents and are surprised that some installations have not yet collapsed.
But virtually any bleacher installation can function properly and safely with proper maintenance.
Gene Paddock E.T. Paddock Enterprises Inc. Lemont, Ill.
To the Editor:
In your article, "A Philadelphia History Course Melds Two Reforms" (May 17, 1989), you illustrate your discussion with specific examples, and the reader can understand the rationale and procedures of this projected course.
But other articles on textbook and curricular matters in that issue reflect the same old professional-education vagueness: no illustration of "quality" textbooks, higher-order thinking, or even mathematical thinking; no specifics about the horrendous "rote memory" that is eroding our mathematics instruction.
Of course, this is not your fault. I suppose it is the privilege of Bill Honig, California's superintendent of public instruction, and others to keep their ideas under the table.
But if you could squeeze out a few specific and objective bits of information in future interviews, your readership would be appreciative.
Mary R. Khan Morgan Hill, Calif.