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Federal mandates all that matters for local schools



Published: Sun, February 3, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Federal mandates all that matters for local schools

EDITOR:

I am surprised that you are wondering what will happen to the money bestowed upon the Youngstown Board of Education. I am flabbergasted that the Youngstown Education Association has not stormed the building and demanded immediate raises retroactive to 1900. Either it is slipping, or members have something more sinister up their sleeves.

You suggest that the board put the money in the bank to help fund a search and potential pay raise for a successor to Ben McGee, school superintendent. I think the search issue is a moot point.

The Elementary, Secondary Education Act and the Ohio Board of Education, bound by federal law, will close any school building, fire any teacher and disband any school that fails to pass the federal required tests. It will not permit Ben McGee to rewrite the tests to allow the district to pass the tests. All the fine words of praise heaped upon the teachers of the Youngstown school system by an eccentric education professor at YSU will be in vain.

The teachers at Harding Elementary School can hold meetings until the cows come home. It will do the students and themselves no good, unless the students pass the required federal exams. Unless a miracle of Lourdes occurs, with a track record of passing five out of 27 rating areas by the state board of education, the success of the Youngstown school system is doomed.

The educators at Harding issue an invitation to outspoken board member Cla rence Boles to come to their school. There is an old adage: "Don't wish too hard for something. You may get your wish." Mr. Boles may indeed come to Harding: with a padlock in his hand to lock the door

It is federal law. The students must pass the federally mandated tests or the schools will be closed, teachers will be terminated and districts will be disbanded. The windfall should be kept in escrow to assist with the sale of the new schools slated to be built. All of the money in the world will not help if the teachers do not teach the fundamentals of the 3Rs and the students are not motivated to learn. It is time for the rhetoric to stop and teaching to begin.

THADDEUS M. PRICE

Warren

Attacking Muslims unfair; zealots are in all religions

EDITOR:

The writer of a letter in last Sunday's Vindicator launches an attack against all Muslims and Islam by accusing them of being warlike and aggressive and claiming that there is something malevolent in the very nature of Islam itself. I am reminded of the saying that a spoonful of truth can be used to stir up a gallon of lies.

This is why Osama bin Laden tried to appeal for sympathy for the Palestinians by stirring up animosity against America.

Historically, the Christian crusaders captured Jerusalem in 1099. When they entered the city they massacred 30,000 Muslims. It was a shameful exhibition of religious intolerance. In 1187, the Muslims returned to reconquer the city under Sulieman. Do you think that there was no yearning for revenge in the breasts of the Muslim warriors? On the eve of the battle, Sulieman prayed to God for guidance and he came to a firm resolution. The next day they defeated the Christian defenders and entered the city as victors, but Sulieman held back the hand of his warriors and not even one Christian or Jew was killed.

The truth is that all the religions are afflicted with zealots who are bent on destroying anything and everything that appears to differ with their views on faith. The Jews who are perennially posing as victims are themselves as cruel as any of their tormentors when they have held power. The Bible does not shirk from describing their campaign of terror when they first entered the & quot;promised land & quot; 3,000 years ago. They slaughtered tribe after tribe, town after town to gain possession of the land. Not one victim was left alive. In our day this would be called by its true name, genocide, but the book of Joshua glorifies it as if it were the most marvelous feat of heroism the world ever saw and claims that God delighted in it.

I reject that view. Jesus saw the error in this tribal attitude and sought to teach that all men are brothers. When asked, Paul correctly answered & quot;There are no more Jews or gentiles. We are all one in Christ. & quot;

I would add to that : There are no more Jews, Christians or Muslims. We are all one, all God's people, so let us make peace and restore God's kingdom on earth which is brotherhood with all people. May Peace prevail on earth.

ROGER LAFONTAINE

Youngstown

'Pro-life' means more than opposing abortion

EDITOR:

Although I was surprised and pleased with your large photograph accompanying the short caption under the heading "Voices Against Abortion" in last Sunday's paper, I remain puzzled by the continued use of the term "anti-abortion."

The Mass at St. Dominic Church and the entire focus of the protest is "pro-life." This transcends the singular issue of killing the unborn and includes a recognition of the sanctity of all life. It addresses our concern for those facing the death penalty, the subtle acceptance of euthanasia, the moral challenge of cloning and stem cell research and the entire scope of the spreading "culture of death."

Yes, we are anti-abortion, but more important, and appropriately, we are pro-life. Don't diminish our prayerful protest by limiting it only to abortion. We have been and will continue to be defenders of all life, from the unborn to the elderly. Please be courageous enough to address our efforts as "pro-life," even if it may not be politically correct.

T.L. WAGNER

Youngstown

Smith shows true colors, and they're not GOP blue

EDITOR:

After reviewing the state's approved redistricting plan, I first would like to state that Mr. Clarence Smith, chairman of the Mahoning County Republican Party, should resign. His silence speaks volumes to the loyal Republican voters of the Valley. Not only does his apathy toward the entire Valley and the old 17th District show, but also his true Democratic colors.

If there were any individual who could have used his power and influence to stop the devastating effect of the congressional redistricting, Smith could have.

Unfortunately, the Valley loses again.

As for Mr. Hagan's congressional bid, please spare us. What has Mr. Hagan accomplished in the Statehouse? According to his own words: "The Mahoning Valley deserves to have representation in Washington. & quot; Well, he sure hasn't delivered anything for the Valley since he has been in Columbus. So what makes him think getting a free trip to Washington, D.C., will change anything for the rest of us?

MARC HENDRY

Austintown




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