Cleveland Has Shaken 'Blue-Collar' Rap

What a pleasant surprise to pick up the Monitor and see a positive headline about Cleveland: "Cleveland Turns Into 'Believeland' " (Oct. 22). There is no question the Indians have helped its image by winning the American League pennant. Still, as I read through the article, I noticed there is a reluctance to let go of some of the negative press of years gone by. It gives an impression of a grungy blue-collar town just on the fringes of success.

When I was growing up in a suburb of Cleveland, the city was known as "The Best Location in the Nation," and it still is to many of us. Even through the difficult years, when outsiders' jokes and critical commentary put the city down, Cleveland was a city with a wealth of culture and professionalism. The phrase "smokestack and lunch-bucket town on the shores of Lake Erie" shows a lack of knowledge of what Cleveland has been offering for a long time.

It bespeaks a prejudice and ignorance not characteristic of the Monitor. Just to set the record straight, while the city is experiencing a renaissance, it has for many decades been the home of the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, top-notch museums and theaters, and many other cultural attractions. Cleveland's ethnic and cultural diversity is comparable to any city in the US.

Joan M. Greig

Aurora, Ohio

Not the same ball game

The opinion piece "The Unspoiled Crack of the Bat" (Oct. 17) talked about how baseball hasn't changed, but Major League Baseball in the 1990s is quite different from what it was in the 1890s.

Baseball these days isn't about green fields and red ropes. It is about money. Owners talk of moving teams just so more fans will come to the stadiums. Effective, but is that how owners should show loyalty to their clubs? The richer teams can now buy up all of the good players, leaving smaller teams with young players or worn-out veterans.

Another thing that has changed is the players themselves. We call players who like to get dirty, "throwback" players. Modern players are too worried about hurting themselves, or doing something wrong, to give their best effort. We accept a professional baseball player spitting in the face of an umpire and getting to play in the next game.

And the worst part is, it's the fans who support the sport. If we want baseball to return to glory, we need to stand up and say, "This is ridiculous!" Is it worth $40 a ticket to watch grown men give a half-hearted effort for a team they get millions from? I don't think so.

Scott Reese

Rexburg, Idaho

Students hungry to learn

The article "Term Papers At the Click Of a Mouse" (Oct. 27) illustrates clearly the dilemma of stasis mentality in an era of revolutionary change. Writer-philosopher Eric Hoffer once suggested that "learners" will survive while the "traditionally learned" will only be able to function in that world for which they were trained, but which no longer exists.

It has been clear to me for the past 30 years that when a teacher individualizes assignments and allows learners to construct their own body of information, knowledge, ideas, and theses over the course of the term, cheating vanishes. Teachers and professors, as well as administrators, staff, and parents need to pay attention to what is really happening in the classroom and stop fantasizing about what no longer exists on the other side of the podium.

To perceive the downloading of "pre-written" Internet essays only as evidence of cheating and "impropriety" misses the point altogether. In my 48 years of teaching, I find that students are hungry, not dumb or lazy. They are willing to work at meaningful tasks for themselves, but not willing to slave at the memorize-regurge-and-dump game played in many classrooms by overworked and uncreative teachers.

Guy Bensusan, PhD

Flagstaff, Ariz.

Your letters are welcome. All letters are subject to editing. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. Mail to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com

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