Sitting back and blaming teachers has got to stop

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 30, 2009

I recently began my 10th year as a school teacher. Sometimes I get overwhelmed and saddened because of the situations of “our children.”

What happened to the days when parents started teaching their children at home? For many, those days are long gone. Many times these children have passed through three or four grades before any concern is shown for their educational success. The buck has been passed for so long that now everybody blames everybody for what is now slowly becoming an epidemic.

It’s time to call out parents because whether they believe it or not, teaching does begin at home. Teachers can no longer be the scapegoat for the educational deficits our children have.

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I’m responsible for what my students learn, but I will not be solely responsible for their failure. I strongly encourage all parents to take an active part in their children’s education. Visit and volunteer, go over homework with your child, build stronger relationships. I have an open door policy in my classroom and I’m sure other teachers do, too. I’m a young woman, but I was raised “old school,” where the village did help to raise me. Parents, let’s be accountable for our children.

Oneka Washington


There is a better way

After reading about the test results for the MCT2 in Algebra I (The Vicksburg Post, Aug. 21) for the Vicksburg-Warren School District, I find it to be appalling and there should be a sense of urgency to improve the way the subject is taught.

I made a random observation of some other schools’ test results on the Internet and I found the following passing percentages: Pearl High School, 89.1; Richland High School, 76.7; Coleman Middle School, 76.8; Warren Central High School, 56.9; Yazoo City High School, 39.2; Vicksburg High School, 17.5.

I realize that teachers of mathematics are under a lot of stress trying to teach to the test while the state is constantly making changes in standards. When the test was administered in April, a lot of the material on the test had not been covered.

I had a conference with the superintendent and the assistant superintendent in 2007 concerning the method of teaching Algebra starting with Pre-Algebra. The teachers are still using the vertical method for solving equations. The textbooks issued use the horizontal method for solving equations. If the teachers would make a change this would facilitate the learning process.

There are tutorial math sites on the Internet where students can visit to learn how to solve equations and inequalities, but the horizontal method is used to find solutions. Any student who has to do homework can click on Yahoo to search for help.

There is an over use of calculators in the teaching of mathematics in the elementary and high school. I find students who rely on the use of calculators to do basic arithmetic cannot perform well on paper-pencil tests.

Frank Crump Jr.


Spraying may be halted

This is in response to Jim Berry’s letter (Aug. 16) about spraying the roadways.

On May 14, Marc Pastorek and Mississippi Native Plant Society President Gail Barton met with David Thompson, MDOT’s roadside development manager. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss methods that might be used to enhance and preserve native roadside vegetation. MDOT is considering altering some mowing practices that may encourage indigenous stands of roadside wildflowers. Hopefully the Oakleaf Hydrangea will make a comeback and be spared by any further spraying.

Jennifer Heffner


Don’t bash Alabama

The column by Rheta Grimsley Johnson on Aug. 8, “Fanny Ban Proves Idiots Still In Charge,” begins, “I love Alabama. I grew up in Alabama. I went to school  in Alabama. Which means I can say this: When will the state of Alabama quit embarrassing its citizens?”

Ms. Johnson says the alluring image of a woman goddess’s rear end flying alongside a winged bicycle (featured on a wine label banned in Alabama) is art and the people of Alabama are 114 years behind the French in artistic things. If this image were a naked nymph or the front of a woman goddess and the people of Alabama did not think it was art, would this by her thinking mean Alabama people are 228 years behind the French in art?

I was born in Alabama. I love Alabama. I have family in Alabama. I went to school in Alabama. Which means I can say this: The only embarrassment to Alabama is that the writer of the “Fanny Ban” article is from Alabama.

In Ms. Johnson’s words. “The moral of this has nothing to do with the obscenity or nudity or the subjectivity of art.” The moral of this admittedly somewhat amusing Alabama story is simple: The biggest idiot in Alabama left Alabama when Ms. Johnson left Alabama.

Johnny Griffin


There is a leash law

We write this letter in sadness for the passing of our beloved cat Angel.  She passed away because she was attacked, in her own front yard, by three dogs running loose in our neighborhood. We write this to prevent someone else’s precious pet from meeting her fate.

Angel was adopted from a shelter upon my return from Iraq in 2006. She had a limp and was wrongfully named Limpy. I quickly realized how sweet she was and renamed her more appropriately, Angel. We know some may think this is just an animal, but the love our pets return is irreplaceable and brings tremendous joy to our lives.

Losing our beloved animal is hard enough, unfortunately it is just a horrible end to a growing problem in the Vicklan, Glenwood Circle and Chambers area. We constantly have to clean up our yard from animals defecating in it. We always clean up after our dog and we should not have to pick up after someone else’s pet. Worse yet, my wife and I frequently walk our dog, properly on a leash, only to have many loose dogs run up or after us and our dog causing havoc. This is supposed to be our neighborhood where we can enjoy such activities.

Pet ownership is a responsibility much like raising children. We must take the time to provide, guide and teach our pets proper behavior. Additionally, pets, unlike humans, do not reason and thus we as their owners need to keep them under control at all times.

Please Vicksburg, let’s prevent this tragedy from happening again and keep our dogs on a leash. It is not only the law, but it is the responsible thing to do.

Joe and Mindy Durkee


Reneau for the future

Eleven years ago I was a senior at Columbus High School. I hadn’t the slightest idea what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. My guidance counselor shot down my dreams of attending Morehouse College in Atlanta. She told me that I didn’t have the necessary requirements to gain a full scholarship to the liberal arts college for African-American men. So I felt helpless, disheartened and depressed about my prospects of going to college. She told me that I should attend Mississippi University for Women, a school traditionally attended by women, because of my father’s current employment there, which would grant me a deduction off my tuition/dorm fees, its inexpensive cost and its close proximity to home.

I attended class day along with the rest of my fellow seniors on a Thursday night before graduation. I sat on the gym floor along with my peers. My parents were in the stands sitting proudly. I remember my name being called to receive a partial scholarship from MUW. As I got up to walk forward and receive my honor laughter spread around me. To my peers and the people present I was a joke. I was a man about to attend MUW. Funny how some things never change.

In 2003, I earned my degree from MUW, and I still find myself having to explain how a male attended a women’s college, routinely ending with a round of laughs. I’m proud that I attended MUW and earned a diploma in journalism. It has garnered me two great jobs in a six-year span.

For all of its glory, prestige and history, there is one thing MUW can’t change, and that is perception — the perception that it’s a women’s school. That perception is strong and broad.

The reality is that fine individuals of both genders experience great careers after graduating from MUW. I know many alumni who are doing quite well. However, enrollment is not high enough, which means there are major problems.

MUW President Claudia Limbert has proposed a name change which she feels will help eradicate this problem. I support this.

Life is all about change.

In our hearts, MUW will always be whatever our memories hold of it. No one can take those memories away. However, the institution can be taken away from us. I urge a show of support for Dr. Limbert’s decision instead of negativity. I encourage both female and male alumni to unite together for a change, instead of hearing a cry for just “W Gals” to rally together.

It is time for a change at MUW. Trust me; you will never lose MUW in your thoughts and hearts, but you may lose MUW, the institution, if disagreements continue to exist. Please support the name change to Reneau University. If change doesn’t come, the joke would now be on all of us if we let our beloved institution fall.

Edmond McDavis III

Horn Lake