To help Afghans, US must stabilize Afghanistan
Regarding the Dec. 22 Opinion piece, "Why give now?": Those in the greatest need are often those who are the hardest to help. That is because the reason they are in need is because they live in a country with a bad government that provides little security.
In Afghanistan, America had the chance to help some of the world's neediest people by not only giving them the basics needed to survive, but to help them build a government that could provide security and economic opportunity.
Vengeance and retribution became our focus after Sept. 11. We lost our ability to see what was important for a country, such as Afghanistan, to become stable. We must regain this ability if our humanitarian contributions are to be effective in the future.
Make science teaching a priority
In regard to the Dec. 29 article, "Wanted: More science and math teachers in the US": In my work with science programs over the last 35 years, I have seen how school systems fail science teachers and cause many to leave.
Recently, I listened for over an hour to a group of science resource teachers in a nearby large school system as one after another told of missing equipment, lack of supplies and textbooks, and the administrative deaf ears on which their requests fell. The kids were fine. The teachers love teaching science. But the system let them down and many were ready to quit. Most had been in the job for less than three years.
My daughter, a science resource teacher in another system, is ready to quit that job. Although she is paid the same stipend as other subject areas, she has the additional tasks of ordering and inventorying science supplies and equipment, dealing with lab safety issues, and disposing of biological and chemical waste. Then she has the same preparation as the other resource teachers.
Until school systems make science teaching a priority, we will continue to recruit, train, and, yes, lose more science teachers through a revolving door.
William N. McDonald
Science program coordinator (retired)
Montgomery County Public Schools
Speed up the end of dog racing
Regarding the Dec. 11 Opinion piece, "How we finally won the ballot question on greyhound racing": After I read this article, I took it to my English class for my classmates to read. They did not know that greyhound races were dangerous for the dogs. They were disturbed by the deaths and wanted to do something. But when they saw that it took 13 years for the law banning greyhound racing to be passed in just one state, they were discouraged.
Everyone needs to realize the severity of the situation. People need to stop going to the races, breeders need to stop breeding the dogs, trainers need to stop working the dogs to death, and the industry's lobbyists need to stop working to keep the tracks open. Everyone has a part in banning greyhound racing across the country. Hopefully, it will not take another 13 years to do it.
College degrees don't guarantee jobs
In regard to the Dec. 26 Opinion piece, "Save the economy: Bail out our kids": Author Rick Dalton isn't clear whether he wants a BA for every student, but he should keep in mind that, currently, only 20 percent of American jobs require a BA.
Lawrence B. Schlack
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