Studio curriculum can't show it works
It seems to me that the investigative panel's report on the Studio Course curriculum reflects what was already painfully apparent to many of us educators - that the curriculum is clearly inappropriate and ineffective ("Report faults course used in city schools," Feb. 9).
What frustrates, befuddles and amazes me is that in spite of the enormous amount of scientific research and the overwhelmingly consistent outcomes and conclusions of the research, some educators, including top administrators in Baltimore's school system, persistently base crucial educational decisions on intuition and beliefs instead of research.
The Studio Course curriculum has no record of effectiveness. If that was not enough to disqualify it from consideration, the premises upon which it is based certainly should have been.
Studio Course was clearly selected based on someone's philosophical beliefs, not on empirical evidence.
The primary mission of all educators is to seek the truth and to teach our students to do the same thing.
What does it teach our children when we turn away from the truth in favor of our ideological beliefs?
Robert P. Marino
The writer is an education consultant and a former principal in the Baltimore public school system.
Sprawl will blossom if wineries wither
The state comptroller's office should be congratulated for its contribution to suburban sprawl in Maryland.
Requiring a group of outstanding businessmen and women who contribute to the great lifestyle of Maryland to sell their product via a wholesale distributor could force many of the smaller wineries out of business ("Md. wineries are told to halt direct sales," Feb. 8).
But just think of the prices they could command, if they sell their lands, from the real estate developers, who must be toasting themselves into a glee-filled stupor.
I salute those who make life in our state more palatable and gracious with the excellent wines they provide.
I'm stocking up on my favorites while the supply lasts.
W. Brooks Riley
Congratulations to the state comptroller's office for finding an all-too-clever way of forcing many small Maryland wineries out of business by requiring them to sell their wares through wholesalers.
I'll bet the local homebuilders have volunteered to help come up with a way to use all that prime acreage the winery owners may soon be selling.
Ongoing cronyism undermines the city
In the tempest over City Council President Sheila Dixon's possible ethics violations, it's important to remember that Ms. Dixon ought not to have voted on anything regarding Comcast ("Ethics board to investigate Dixon actions," Feb. 10).
Community media activists and others called for Ms. Dixon to recuse herself from the December 2004 vote on Comcast's franchise renewal with the city because she had received several thousand dollars in campaign contributions from Comcast and its executives.
She did not recuse herself from this vote as she should have.
Baltimore's culture of political corruption, with its cronyism, nepotism, back-scratching and political patronage, has much to do with why our city is so broken.
I can only hope that come the next election, more Baltimoreans will have the courage to elect truly new leadership that has a history of battling corruption and "business as usual" instead of tolerating it.
Sharing the blame for puppies' deaths
Baltimore Animal Control and the 311 operator who took the call reporting the six puppies found on the street (which later froze to death on a sidewalk) need to share the blame for the dogs' suffering and deaths ("Puppies freeze to death on Baltimore sidewalk," Feb. 10).
The 311 operator didn't obtain enough information, nor did he or she apply common sense when it came to interpreting the urgency of the call.
In turn, Animal Control failed to err on the side of caution by dispatching an officer in a timely manner.
The term "animals at risk" is a vague statement, but it should have been enough to warrant an immediate response from those charged with protecting the safety of helpless animals.
Publishing cartoons would raise tensions
The Sun is not "trampling on the First Amendment freedom of the press" by not publishing the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad ("Publish the cartoons to uphold freedom," letters, Feb. 12.
There is nothing to be gained by publishing these cartoons, because the intelligent reading public is already aware of the content of these cartoons and most people have an informed opinion about them.
Printing these cartoons would not serve any purpose except to satisfy voyeurism.
However, printing them might further incite and hurt those among us who feel that the cartoons desecrate what they believe to be holy, sacred and above ridicule.
The press has a duty to uphold responsibility in journalism. And its responsibility is to mend and heal, not to cause further anguish and rifts.
Publishing the cartoons would not teach tolerance to the offended; it would only cause further breakdown of a fragile and tenuous understanding.
Muslims must learn to tolerate the West
In response to Rep. Albert R. Wynn's column "Why Americans should condemn Muhammad cartoons" (Opinion * Commentary, Feb. 13), I say that, yes, Americans should condemn these insulting cartoons. But there was not one word in Mr. Wynn's column about the Islamic press and its daily failure to treat other peoples with the same respect Muslims demand for themselves.
The Islamic press and Islamic leaders are full of hate for the Jews and the West. Nothing the West can do will change this culture of hate.
The Muslims will have to realize that co-existence is in their best interest.
But I doubt that this will happen in my lifetime or that of my children.
No surprise to see Cheney misfire
The unfortunate accident at a South Texas quail hunt is not surprising, as Vice President Dick Cheney has shown in the past that accuracy is not one of his talents ("Cheney wounds fellow hunter," Feb. 13)
G. M. Naul
It would appear that Vice President Dick Cheney's philosophy of "shoot first, ask questions later" applies to his quail-hunting strategy as well as to his approach to foreign policy.