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Letters: Debating removal of statues; teachers should be paid based on performance | READER COMMENTARY

Column on historical figures was refreshing

Bill Kennedy’s column of July 13 was welcome relief to the usual topsy-turvy mayhem which typically fills the news pages of the Times. Those of us who prefer to judge the lives and accomplishments of historical figures by the standards of their times rather than by the radical Black Lives Matter tear-it-down agenda, view the current political climate with dismay. Lawlessness is allowed to go on unabated, because police are being ordered to stand down for fear of sparking yet more violence and widespread criminality. That’s the exact reaction the so-called protesters who are tearing down and defacing monuments (I prefer the terms thugs, criminals, and useful idiots) are hoping for, to facilitate their program to remake the history, culture, and economic system of the United States. If elected state and local governments choose to cave in to the radical left’s demands and remove monuments and statutes before they get destroyed by criminals, that is still troublesome and worthy of disdain by the rational adults still in the room.

Ah, to be “unwoke” in these times is a challenging condition to have. But it can be therapeutic to call out the absurdities of the day, and not let the radical left’s nonsense go unanswered. The dismay we feel needs to be voiced rather than being intimidated into silence, and I commend Mr. Kennedy’s column for that reason. I also prescribe beer, and Scotch, both in moderation, to help make it through this current calamity.

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Steve Kranz

Westminster

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Good riddance

Confederate statues and monuments must go. Those men chose the values of slavery over the values of our country, especially denying that “all men are created equal.” They might remain in historical museums or on the Gettysburg Battlefield, but only if they have true historical significance. The Confederate flag itself stands in direct opposition to the American flag. Thankfully, Mississippi has finally removed it from their state flag. The Confederate flag is the symbol of white supremacy and inequality. White supremacy has no place in our country. I proudly flew the American flag on the weekend of July 4th because I believe in our flag as a symbol of what we should be. As individuals and as a society, we need to uphold the values for which it stands — one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.

Bob Bastress

Sykesville

Columbus criticism isn’t an attack on Catholicism

My fellow columnist and Brother in Christ Jeffrey Peters wrote a column (religion page) in the Saturday, July 11th issue of the Carroll County Times that is interesting but very disturbing.

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I thought for a moment that the title “Violent protests allow anti-Catholic hate to again rear its ugly head” was made up by the Editor but realized it is almost word for word from what Jeffrey wrote.

Several local clergy and I who have read the article have a concern — is there really “anti-Catholic hate” rising and what do other Roman Catholics feel about the words Jeffrey Peters put in print?

He has a point about the Ku Klux Klan and how lies were spread not only about Catholics but Jews and many immigration groups who were considered not real Americans.

In regard to Christopher Columbus, Jeffery wrote that Columbus never had slaves, never killed anyone, never raped anyone, never committed genocide and was a faithful Catholic explorer. He blamed Francisco de Bobadilla for telling lies about Columbus that people believe today. Local historians will have to deal with that.

The reason some people don’t want to glorify Columbus (like many other explorers) or keep his statue standing is not “anti-Catholic hate” but his relationship with the indigenous people he encountered. Some respected scholars point out a mixed message when it comes to Columbus such as slavery and violence against Native Americans; what some call forced conversion of the people to the Christian religion and most important of all the introduction of diseases that killed. Over the past 20 years or more there have been “indigenous people’s day” celebrating not Columbus but the contributions of Native Americans.

I have a concern with Jeffrey’s statements, “to smear him (Columbus) is a way to delegitimize all Catholics” or “their goal is to end Catholicism and this hate needs to be stopped.” The people I know, Christian or not, are not attempting to “delegitimize” all Catholics or “to end Catholicism.” For those of us who share a common foundation in Jesus, we may have different ways of worship and different doctrinal foundations, but I pray we are “one in the Spirit.”

Wm. Louis Piel

Westminster

Don’t downplay history

Bill Kennedy’s column on the opinion page of July 13 is right on. Those are statues of people that did a lot to help make America what we are today. It’s history we need to be reminded of. They were not perfect; neither are we.

Mary Ann Albaugh

Westminster

Teachers’ pay should be based on quality

Public education is a monopoly. Monopolies are generally viewed as a bad thing in a free economy. That’s why we have anti-trust laws. Yes, there are private schools for those who can afford them, but for most students that’s not an option. For better or worse, the schools they attend are predetermined for them. No competition means teaching jobs are secure, which is why teacher unions fight so hard against “school choice.”

When it comes to teacher salaries, no distinction is made based on the subject matter taught. Quality math, science and special education teachers are in chronic short supply, yet their salaries are exactly the same as those who teach subjects for which there are a glut of candidates. All teachers of equal tenure are paid the same.

Worse, no distinction is made based on the quality of the teacher. The best teacher in the system is paid exactly the same as the worst. There are a thousand reasons why the teachers union will give for why this must be, but then again in practice the union exists primarily to protect the interests of the poorer performing teacher. In a fairer system, one in which teachers are paid based on how well they do their jobs, surely the better teachers would earn more than their lesser qualified peers, but that is something the union will never tolerate, and is why it always argues so vigorously against the value of any test that objectively measures student learning. Have you ever seen data that compares the relative performance of any teacher against his/her peers? You never will.

There is nothing easy about being a teacher, and as a community, we need to value the educators who have such an important impact on the lives of our children. But like people in every profession, all teachers are not created equal. It’s hard to argue a higher performing teacher isn’t worth more than her lesser qualified peers. Should teachers make more money? The good ones definitely should, but to give any teacher a raise requires we give all teachers a raise. Not only is that ridiculously expensive for the taxpayer, it’s a recipe for mediocrity, not excellence, and it keeps some of the most qualified among us from ever considering a career in education.

How is that in the best interest of children?

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Chris Roemer

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Finksburg

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