More Reasons for the Decline in Educational Standards
The Opinion page article, "US Higher Education Is in a Downward Spiral," Dec. 27, should be of interest to all educators.
One area not covered in the article is grade enhancement. It is not a generalization to state that term-end grade evaluations have become generous in the extreme. As a result, students are dispatched into the "real world" with an inflated opinion of their prowess. It comes as a shock when often they do not measure up to what is expected of them.
The rationale for this practice appears to be the power that students exert each semester in evaluating their teachers by secret ballot. Educators are loath to bite the hand that feeds them. And, in addition, a reputation as a "high grader" guarantees full classes.
Let's hope the '90s will mark a rebirth of classroom standards in higher education so that our system will attain its true potential. Alvin R. Wormser, West New York, N.J. Asst. Prof., Fashion Inst. of Technology Taking a Democrat to task
The author of the Opinion page article "The Republicans and Duke - a Rhetorical Continuum," Dec. 17, seized on a reference I made to Gov. Mario Cuomo's prospects for electoral success in the South as evidence that Republicans are somehow biased.
I'd been asked about the governor's prospects and, in response, paraphrased something I'd read in the Washington Post Magazine. This was the passage: "Another Southern Democrat, former National Party Chairman Robert Strauss, probably got closer to the mark on the barriers of ethnicity when he later kidded Cuomo: 'We don't like Marios in Texas " The same story quoted a Mr. Don Fowler, described as a "fair-minded" Democratic activist in South Carolina, as saying, "There are no Marios in the South."
Perhaps the most succinct lesson here is that quoting Democrats is always a mistake. Sen. Phil Gramm, Washington The recession is the Fed's fault
In the article "Keep Interest Rates Low, Economists Say," Dec. 30, Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, faults the increase in consumer and corporate debt for causing the recession.
Actually, in my opinion as an economist, Mr. Greenspan's agency should be faulted for causing the recession by boosting the discount rate from 1 percent, where it rested throughout the war years, to a maximum of 14 percent in 1981. The Federal Reserve's policy of keeping interest rates as high as possible has favored lenders at the expense of borrowers.
Economist David Levy, director of the Jerome Levy Economic Forecasting Center, contributes the most to this article by advocating "bold action" to make federal investments in our infrastructure. The article says that this would probably mean building new tunnels, bridges, and dams. Such measures might temporarily add to the present federal deficit, but eventually would prepare the way for the permanent retirement of the deficit, due to the revival of federal government receipts. Ardron B. Lewis, Brooklyn, Conn.