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April 3 Letters to the Editor

Gen-ed opponent

As a student in the University of Maine’s Honors College, my “gen-eds” (BDN editorial, “Generally Educating,” March 29) have been covered by the program’s “Civilizations” sequence, rolling everything but math and science into a challenging but interesting four-semester format.

While I have had a great professor in the two classes I have taken to fulfill my mathematics requirement, I find that my struggle with math does nothing more than take time away from my major — instead of spending time doing reading and analysis for political science classes, I am spending hours upon hours trying to memorize formulas, and panicking about how the class might knock my GPA below a 3.6.

I appreciate the value of a liberal arts education that exposes students to a variety of options. “Gen-eds,” however, in their present form, serve as a roadblock to moving students towards an ultimate degree in their major. While I don’t agree in the “test-out” option suggested by the editorial, allowing students to simply have a credit requirement outside their major, or in a variety of different majors — or perhaps not factoring gen-eds into GPA (but only credit requirement) might be a better course of action.

Then again, challenging times call for employees in the workplace to have knowledge in a variety of disciplines. But to move Maine out of economic uncertainty, we need students to want to succeed — and that means encouraging them to excel in their major.

Ben Goodman



A good read

On Monday at 7:30 a.m. I started reading the BDN and except for a few interruptions, finished at 11:45 a.m. At this point all important articles and news had been properly marked with a red pen — my father would have used a wood pencil).

There were two articles that I found equally interesting. The first was the continuing story of the Sarah Smiley family. My own family and grandchildren are much older than the Smiley family, but I find this article very interesting and I enjoy hearing about what goes on.

The second is the story about the Bijou Theatre by Wayne E. Reilly. In 1924, when I was 5 years old, it was my pleasure to attend the Bijou Theatre to see my first movie. The show was Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. in “The Flying Carpet.” He was quite an actor, and I can still see him flying around and jumping with ropes. It is still with me.

I would still be going to the Bijou if it had not been torn down in the early ’70s.

William S. Stetson Sr.



Don’t cut MPA major

What could possible justify the wholesale dismantling of the entire department of Public Administration at the University of Maine? The department provides cities and towns across Maine with managers for our municipal governments, professionals who keep our hospitals operating and public servants who are the lifeblood of nonprofit organizations.

Our nation is now experiencing what many are calling the Great Recession, and as a result more people than ever before are deciding to go back to school. In response, the University of Maine should be opening its doors, not closing them; it should be adding faculty, not dismissing them.

I chose the University of Maine over other schools because I knew that it would provide me with a learning environment where I would receive individual attention from faculty and support from fellow students.

I decided to pursue my Masters in Public Administration at UMaine because I know it will one day give me the opportunity to give back to my community and best serve the public.

I urge UMaine to reconsider before it takes that opportunity away from future public servants. In order to strive for excellence as the premier university in Maine, it is necessary that we maintain intellectual endeavors in all aspects of higher learning and offer our prospective students a broad array of programs to choose from. This is the only way to maintain our competitive edge in an increasingly competitive system.

Craig Castagna



Race to the Top?

Accepting federal dollars for improvement of school academic performance by students, but having to release the principal as a requirement to accept federal dollars, seems very defeating for anyone who wants a lifelong professional career in education (“Sumner’s Race to the Top means exit for principal,” BDN, April 1).

Education careers are not the most financially rewarding compared to many other occupations. Who needs the headache of job insecurity if they have a family to support and raise or want to become comfortably situated in a community? If students are not motivated to study in school or out of school or, frankly, do not have the intellectual ability to learn what they are supposed to learn in school, all the money in the world is not going to improve academic performance.

The cost of college is expensive for any college grad starting an entry level job in education. How long before there are no college students who want a professional career in education?

Richard Mackin Jr.



Tea as identity

It is time conservatives speak out! We can start by wearing tea bags dangling from safety pins with orange ribbon or surveyor’s tape tied to the pin. It would signify that the wearer believes in common sense solutions to government problems, not passing them on to future generations. It would allow us to identify each other in places such as the supermarket check-out lines.

Seeing others sporting tea bags would bolster our self-confidence and allow us to communicate with each other as we let others know just how many of us there are. What’s wrong with letting others know who supports the founders’ ideas and believes in capitalism and does not want to live like a zombie under a Euro-Socialist type government?

The only thing wrong with socialism is that you run out of other people’s money.

Mike Ouellette



Secret socialists

I couldn’t help but notice in the front page of the March 29 issue the picture of the 400 tea baggers that the common denominator, other than the shades of the faces, was the average age of the attendees. I wondered how many of these “patriots” came in and tore up their Medicare cards and burned their Social Security checks in protest?

It was nice to see a costumed re-enactor find another tax write-off for his costume — if in fact he pays taxes.

Arthur Morison


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