Regarding the March 11 article "Teens ready to prove text-messaging skills can score SAT points": Perhaps the authorship of e-mail will improve writing skills, but I doubt it. Writing skills are improved by reading skills: absorption of the written word from able expositors of thought is the fundamental base of the skilled use of the language - whether Shakespeare, Tom Wolfe, or Thomas Wolfe. Not so the slang of the Internet, which by seeking to express ideas in the briefest of terms, actually devalues the English language, the most expressive in the world.
Arthur K. Snyder
Nathalie Arbel's statement on how the essay topic questions for the SAT are "kind of dumb" indicates how many students take an apathetic view toward writing. Her later comment on how she does not "know or care if contributions are made by leaders or average people," embodies an attitude of dislike that spans not only writing but also knowledge and thinking.
No matter how often a student types instant messages, and no matter how proficient he thinks he is at it, he will not develop an aptitude for writing until he starts reading and abandons his or her uninterested and uninvolved attitude.
Cholla High School senior
Regarding the March 14 article "Pakistan's antidote to extremism: first arts school": While I agree with the article's point that an arts institution is an antidote to extremism, the National Academy of Performing Arts is not the "first arts school" in Pakistan. We may not have a performing arts academy per se in the past, but we have had great art institutions like the National College of Arts (NCA) and the Pakistan School of Fashion Design in Lahore, as well as the Indus Valley School in Karachi, which have produced a number of well-respected artists ranging from actors to painters to fashion designers. Besides the aforementioned institutions, some of the art departments at major universities in Pakistan are quite well respected and have contributed a lot to enriching our great culture, past and present.
Regarding the March 8 article "How do the new teachers measure up?": The Monitor's recent run of education articles detailing shortages in both male and "high-aptitude" female teachers did not address why teaching can so often be a miserable profession for talented people: namely, the people in it. Mediocre teachers dominate the profession, and their influence on the faculty is equally dominant - usually intolerable for someone with either intelligence or the self-respect that should come with it.
So isn't it understandable that they quit? The job requires that they tolerate too many fools too gladly too much of the time - it isn't because of low pay.
Regarding the March 11 article "Marijuana industry booming in Canada": The marijuana industry is booming in Canada largely because US drug policies make the easy-to-grow weed more valuable than pure gold. If marijuana were sold in licensed business establishments where it could be regulated, controlled, and taxed, the bootleg "grow operations" would disappear in a heartbeat - just as our bathtub gin operations disappeared in a heartbeat when alcohol was relegalized.
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