Blogging teacher deserved dismissal
The story about Elizabeth Collins and her dismissal from her teaching position is a perfect example of why so many people are upset with the teaching profession ("Teacher learns a hard lesson about blogging," Wednesday). This teacher was using her English class to push her own belief system. Children at that age often accept their teachers' views as gospel. Good teachers resist the temptation to use this status to indoctrinate. Rather, they should give students the opportunity to explore all viewpoints.
Collins was teaching English; hence, her criticisms should have been directed at the style of writing, not the substance of the student's arguments. If she really was neutral, she should have helped the student refine her arguments rather than refute them.
For any teacher to think that tech-savvy students do not Google their teachers to read any postings is naive, to say the least. This was a veiled attempt to embarrass the student for not accepting her teacher's views. To continue the controversy on the Internet shows both immaturity and a lack of professionalism.
Bravo to the school, the Academy of Notre Dame de Namur in Villanova, for dismissing her. If only the public-school system could rid itself of similar poor teachers.
Time to be practical in energy choices
Big energy companies cheat. Big government advocates for more regulation and holds hearings while taking big energy's contributions and failing to enforce regulations already in place. Unreasonable environmentalists refuse to compromise while drinking water from plastic. Al Gore builds a 27,000-square-foot house and gets rich pedaling inefficient "green" technology.
America's energy policy consists of presidents and politicians pandering to special-interest groups to get reelected. Yet we need energy, unless we are ready to replace toilet paper with leaves.
Forget deepwater wells. What about nuclear? Too dangerous. Ignore France's nuclear success. Hydroelectric? Too damaging to the snail darter and salmon. Ignore Canada's hydro success. Wind? Small impact and too ugly for Kennedy types. Solar? Small impact and uses too much open space; just ask South Jersey. Oil and gas drilling in Alaska's North Slope and Wyoming's Anticline natural-gas preserve? Too degrading to wolves and bears.
Well, look at those oily pelicans and ask your candidate: What's your realistic energy policy?
Vote for practicality.
Michael J. Clement
Thomas had right to express her views
I am more disturbed by the media response to reporter Helen Thomas' comments about Israelis than I am about the comments themselves ("Unconscionable," Wednesday).
Thomas has been a strong defender of a peace process in the Middle East, and I believe that her ill-spoken comments have a right to be aired. I may even listen to them, considering that some right-wing radicals in Israel (with no interest in peace) are not native Israelis, but imports from other countries.
The Founding Fathers said much about free speech, but nothing about political correctness. Perhaps we should trash them, too. I'm sure they all said something I might disagree with.
Gays in military don't need labeling
Leonard Boasberg's piece Monday, "By the way, there's a war on," makes it clear that gays have served in the military for some time and with distinction. His anecdotal evidence cites his gay friend's rise through the ranks. So what is wrong with that? Ninety-nine percent of Americans probably feel as I do that there are gays in all walks of life, including the military. We just don't think a demarcation of someone's sexuality is needed to identify him or her.
If the armed forces support an openly gay lifestyle, will we then send an honor guard to the Gay Pride Parade in Rio? Will the USO have dances for gay soldiers? Will the Veterans of Foreign Wars now have a GVFW? Will there be an extra dimension to all military decisions to allow for a gay point of view? Will there be a special court to deal with all of the gay soldiers, sailors, and Marines who believe they did not get the job, rank, or post they wanted because they are gay? And another court because the straight soldier whose commandant is gay overlooked him?
Philip J. Donohue
Sex education belongs in schools
Recently, a state House panel approved a bill that will require Pennsylvania's public schools to provide sexual education. Dubbed "The Healthy Youth Act" (HB 1163), the bill was approved by the panel on a 14-11 vote.
The proposal comes with hopes of lowering pregnancy rates and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, two major issues of unprotected and sometimes uneducated sexual activity. The 11 panel members who voted against the bill need to take a course on youth pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease numbers. They might change their minds about the bill.
Why would parents rather have their children learn the facts of life in a playground, as opposed to a classroom? It is up to parents to teach their children right and wrong, but not every parent takes the initiative.
Tony Auth's cartoon Sunday was brilliant. Mickey Mouse as BP, the endless army of brooms carrying buckets of black oil slopping over, wells in the distance. Sums up a huge picture in one inspired image.