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Workers who cleared snow were heroes of Ravens game

The Ravens were not the only triumphant team at M&T; Bank Stadium last weekend. As chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority, I'd like to credit those unsung heroes who spent up to 72 hours straight preparing for battle against the toughest snowstorm this region has seen in years.

The Maryland Stadium Authority is committed to not only maintaining and managing our fine sports facilities but also to keeping them safe and accessible for the millions of visitors we have every year. We are vigilant in preparing for any challenge, so when the blizzard of '09 arrived just before our last home football game, we had our team in place.

The work force and equipment come from many sources: private contractors, our partners in Camden Yards operations (including the Ravens) and other state agencies. Efforts to keep the stadium accessible were coordinated with state and local officials who worked tirelessly.

It is a tribute to all involved that the main arteries connecting the stadium were maintained through the storm and the lots were ready for tailgating by Sunday morning.

About 1,750 workers, many of whom stayed Thursday through Sunday night (sleeping on the club level floor) made this remarkable feat possible.

All of us at the Stadium Authority are proud of our teams - the ones on the fields, and those who maintain our operations and offer the best fan experience possible, despite any challenge.

John Morton III, BaltimoreThe writer is chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority.

O'Malley doesn't really want to 'race to the top'

Gov. Martin O'Malley really doesn't want the federal Race to the Top money, he wants the teachers' votes ("Not No. 1 in reform," Dec. 22). After all, they already endorsed him months ago, and he hasn't even kicked-off his re-election campaign. That's why he wants to submit a lame application for the federal pot of gold that's intended to focus on critical reform issues like teacher tenure and evaluations.

By the time decisions are made in the first round of the Race to the Top competition in April (and Maryland gets turned down because its application didn't address these issues), it will be too late for our legislature to take action on the real reason students can't learn - ineffective teachers that can't be touched because of tenure. In other words, Governor O'Malley is buying the teachers' votes at the expense of Maryland students.

Joan Maynard The writer is a former member of the Maryland State Board of Education.

Two years not enough for teacher tenure

With so many articles about how college teacher training programs are not cutting it and how new teachers barely scratch the surface in being able to manage a classroom effectively within the first years of teaching, it's astonishing to read in your editorial "Not No. 1 in reform" (Dec. 22) that Maryland teachers can be tenured, that is guaranteed a permanent job, after only two years.

I cannot think of any profession where a person would be considered knowledgeable and experienced enough after only two years to be guaranteed permanency. Any apprenticeship profession such as plumber, electrician, or cosmetologist requires several years of training before a person can sit for a licensing exam. With all the lip-service paid to the importance of teachers in molding our youth and the country's future, it seems flagrantly irresponsible to endow someone with so much trust and power after only two years on the job.

Charles M. Kone, Baltimore

Higher standards for tenure

In response to the Sun's editorial "Not No. 1 in reform" (Dec. 22), why not make the National Board Certification for teachers the litmus for teacher tenure in Maryland? Teachers cannot sit for the National Board Certification until they have completed three full years of teaching in the same school district and must submit a portfolio, which should include video recordings, examples of student work and documentation of accomplishments outside the classroom that impact student learning. It sounds like there would need to be real proof in the pudding to earn that recognition.

Harry Cooke, Bowie

E-cards: not 'green' so much as 'cheap'

Mercifully, I receive few e-cards, and when one appears in my in box, I delete it - I don't even want to know the sender.

While many pride themselves on being "so green" ("More people are dreaming of a green Christmas," Dec. 23) I interpret it as being "so cheap." There nothing wrong with saving money at Christmas - the holiday has become little more than a shopping fest. But the reason I send Christmas cards (and photos along with them) is because this is the one time of year you can catch up with friends and acquaintances. We live in a culture that promotes isolation and electronic neighborhoods, so I say enough. Even though stamps cost 44 cents, it's still possible to mail a post card for about half the price.

Don't fall for the "green" philosophy behind e-cards - it's just an excuse for saving money and saving time.

Roz Heid, Baltimore

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