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Monday, Aug. 12, 2013: Improving education, Waterfront Concerts and GOP’s tactics

Improving education

In response to Paul Shanley’s Aug. 7 BDN letter, many people have ideas for improving education. Nothing will work, however, until we stop using our public schools as footballs in a game of control, where the real purpose of education gets lost in religious and political power plays.

Leading countries teach factual knowledge impartially in their schools. Backward countries teach beliefs about religion and politics. A fight ensues with every political or religious change, and real education suffers.

Education is not indoctrination. Education teaches skills in math, reading, writing and science, so students can think, question, learn and decide for themselves what they believe about religion, government, culture and life in general.

Education is not patriotism. Education teaches the facts of history, good and bad, about our country. Real pride comes from understanding the praiseworthy, and working toward improving that which keeps us from greatness. It does not come from a xenophobic idolatry of country.

Education is not unquestioned acceptance. Real education teaches students to think rationally and grow intellectually.

Our public schools have a responsibility to educate for factual knowledge, the base for lifelong learning and independent thinking. The family has the responsibility of instilling beliefs about religion, politics and culture.

No amount of good ideas or funding will improve American public education if we insist on misunderstanding the two separate responsibilities and behaving like a backward country by promoting beliefs instead of education.

Janet Alexander

Old Town

Forever young?

The “forever young” generation has gone grumpy. Outraged and offended by the Waterfront Concerts, they have forgotten their own history. Did their parents and grandparents ever think life would be the same again after Country Joe and the Fish cried out, “Give me an F?”

Or what about The Who breaking up their guitars? Kind of noisy. And references to drugs were everywhere — “White Rabbit” by the Jefferson Airplane, for one.

But memories are short, and baby boomers have found out the hard way that being in their 60s is nowhere near the fun of living in the ’60s. They can say 60 is the new 40, but watch any city council meeting lately, and tell me that’s true. Right now, a concert is going on, and, instead of complaining, I am glad there are people out there having some fun just like I once did back in the day.

Maureen Walsh


Military jobs

To all the people who feel the answer to all the country’s problems is to shut down the military, what do they propose the approximate 1.4 million people who would be out of a job do?

Susan Taylor


Dinosaur care?

As Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Would the Republican-controlled U.S. House’s 40 attempts at repealing Obamacare qualify under Einstein’s statement?

Across the country in various states and in the U.S. Congress, the Republicans seem to be trying, and many times succeeding, in rolling back or passing laws to prevent various things from happening. Many of these moves look like they are going backward.

A few examples would be as follows: Moving health care back to the previous mess we had, with no changes; making it more difficult to vote by decreasing the days of voting, limiting forms of identification and limiting voting areas; limiting abortion availability, by requiring unnecessary and patient-paid vaginal probes and hospital affiliations by all doctors; stopping same-sex marriage rights and discriminating against gays and lesbians in other ways; not raising the minimum wage to keep up with inflation; and making sure women cannot expect equal pay.

Should the Republican symbol be changed to a dinosaur? Doesn’t that more closely represent the current direction of the Republican party?

Verne Flood



Obama kudos

People need to get off the back of President Barack Obama and admit that he ranks right up there with some of our former renown presidents. He surpasses the scandal-plagued Warren G. Harding; he equals the attitude of Herbert Hoover; he would make Richard Nixon proud by the way he has an enemies list and his use of the IRS to punish opponents; and he certainly exceeds the total incompetence of the Jimmy Carter administration.

At least he can multi-task. Don’t laugh, Republicans, George Bush was no prize either.

Rich Nutter


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