Letters to the Editor

Volume VI Number 3
January 22-28, 1998

The Right Not to Read

Dear New Bay Times:

I was really hoping someone would get this right, once and for all. Two points that you missed in your editorial "The Censors and Maya Angelou" (Jan. 8-14).

1. The book [I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings] never left the ninth grade, the difference is the word mandatory. No longer will my child be forced to read something I don't think is age appropriate.

2. Cable TV, NYPD Blue and the Spice Channel all exist out there, all right, and it's entirely optional for parents to allow their children to watch this stuff. Not all of us grant carte blanche with the remote.

No one is arguing about the merits of the piece, but, as you so eloquently pointed out, nobody likes to be told what to do.

-Sue Crandall, Edgewater

Editor's note: The writer originated the protest that led to the removal of Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings from the ninth grade teaching curriculum in Anne Arundel County.

Yes, Sen. Miller, We Are Richer for Our Young People

Dear New Bay Times:

The NBT interview with Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller (Jan. 15-21) was first rate. I was particularly intrigued by his comments about young people today. He has "great hopes for the next generation." The big problem, Sen. Miller said, "is that the smokestack and manufacturing jobs aren't available to those who don't graduate from college. So somehow we have to make sure that everybody gets trained."

A massive training program, something like the GI Bill of Rights after World War II, might be the answer. Our colleges and universities filled up with motivated students and America was transformed. People who had only given cursory thought to a college education now became college graduates and enriched the land. Hundreds of thousands of engineers and scientists, doctors and dentists, accountants and others made America hum. Abuses, sure, but the overall result was manifestly good.

A vast array of apprenticeship programs, similar to what they have in Germany, might be the ticket. My nephew Brad Gill completed the General Electric Company's apprentice program and became a plant manager first in Wisconsin and then in Quebec. Last year he was sent to Indonesia to show them how to make locomotives. Not everybody wants to go to college or should.

I started my working career as an apprentice machinist at the General Electric Company while in high school. Then I went into the Army and then to college under the GI Bill.

In 1994, I went back for my 50th high school reunion. Those members of my class who had completed the apprentice program had all done well, some of them much better than I. Surely America can develop innovative training programs for most people. We will be richer for it.

-Tom Gill, North Beach

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