The Oct. 29 article on David Spondike (“Firestone teacher placed on leave”) was troubling. The tone was gleeful; hey, a teacher has come down to our level, let’s get him.
To mention his salary was another media jibe at public employees. It implies that it’s too much for a mere “public servant” to make, or at the very least that such a salary puts him in a category requiring model citizenship.
More disturbing is the American press’ obsession with “racism.” Racism is, after all, irrelevant. Actions are what matter — not feelings. Fix the actions. Ultimately, you won’t change feelings any other way.
If you really want to “cure” racism, address its roots. Address the reasons for stereotypes. Stereotypes are based on perceptions, some incorrect but some correct.
Rather than address the problems of poverty, income disparity, the exploitation of labor and the rampant commercialism and media manipulation of American culture, turn the discussion to racism and you can avoid all the real issues. Gossip takes no thought. Is it the only thing easy enough for American journalism?
Although the media find it irrelevant, Spondike is a rare and remarkable teacher. You will not find a student of his who doesn’t express admiration and gratitude for his teaching. He has inspired more students than any of his detractors can begin to imagine.
He is opinionated, passionate and caring. Why else would he be so upset about a trick-or-treater exposing himself in front of children?
He is a jazz musician. He speaks that jargon. He is a high school teacher. He speaks the jargon of the young. He acts the part. It is a sign of respect and comradeship, not disparagement.
He feels at home in several cultures. Can administrators and the press not grasp subtlety?
The whole discussion is on a low, exploitative level. Everyone involved in this witch hunt should be ashamed.
If you value a male teacher willing to relate unabashedly and genuinely to young students living in this crass culture, then you have to take all that that implies.
I would pick Spondike to educate my children over any of the hypocritical administrators in thrall to politicians who are after his blood. He is someone to engage with and learn from in more ways than fit into the politically correct framework of the legislators.
If he is forced out, it will show lack foresight, vision and courage.
I am writing in reply to the Oct. 31 editorial stating that people’s insurance is being canceled for a reason (“Canceled for a reason”). The reason, ostensibly, is that the policies do not meet the requirements of Obamacare.
The law requires maternity care, birth control and other benefits that many people do not want or need. For example, what does a middle-aged, single man need those benefits for? What right does our government have to force anyone to buy a policy they neither want nor need?
People who buy insurance on their own are already paying what they can afford for insurance. Many new policies offered are at least double the cost, with high deductibles. Hardly anyone can sign up on the website, which is crashing on a regular basis. As many as 16 million people are faced with the prospect of having no insurance at all as of Jan. 1.
President Obama changed the law to give employers a break. What about the average American?
Workers deserve a decent wage
People earning above the minimum wage blindly accept that $7.25 per hour is fair. At its peak, working 40 hours per week at $7.25 per hour, the worker earns $290 per week and $1,160 per month, before taxes. The earnings hardly pay rent, utilities, food and other basic needs.
Of course, these people who earn so little are forced to depend on money from the government in the form of welfare, commonly known by Republicans as entitlement programs.
We could wipe out unemployment and welfare if people were earning a decent wage. I have been asking waitresses for some time now what they earn and have learned that some earn from $2.11 an hour to $2.85 an hour. Employers believe that tips will greatly enhance those wages. Some people never pay a tip or leave a small one.
We know how we look with disdain at what executives are making at the corporate level. Let’s go down to the minimum-wage-group and see how little they earn.
Owners of businesses have to accept that paying wages will cut into their profits. That smile on Ronald McDonald’s face is not for the workers, but for the owner who will be cashing in on your purchases.
The fact is that the poor will live poorly, eating at McDonald’s and shopping at Walmart.
They will be forced to live in lower educational settings, unable to give proper prenatal care and experiencing close at hand a rise in criminal behavior.
The poor have little hope that the land of opportunity will ever provide anything of value for them. Thank God, our democratic government will try to respond to their needs.
Sister Kathleen McIntyre
Cursive fuels the mind
Research has been done regarding cursive versus block printing during the learning process. Imaging done while students were writing in cursive showed continual neuronal connections occurring. The same did not occur when block printing was done.
Unfortunately, many educational decisions are based upon opinions rather than data.
Teaching cursive and practicing it are time consuming. The school day is filled with much, and teachers find themselves hard pressed to get another 15 minutes to have their students practice this skill.
Yet it should be considered necessary if neuronal connections are to be acquired.
Going downhill in Kenmore
I have been a daily reader of the newspaper for nearly six decades. I love this newspaper. That being said, now that the election is over, I must express my profound disagreement with an editorial touting the qualities of Akron Councilman Mike Freeman (“For the Akron council,” Oct. 11).
I have lived in the Kenmore area most of my life. In the 1960s, when I was at Kenmore High School with Don Plusquellic, this was a wonderful community, almost like a small town.
There were well-kept homes, neighbors who cared about each other and a strong sense of togetherness and bonding among the residents.
In the past 15 years or so, this once-vibrant community has gone totally downhill. Cruise any street in Kenmore, and you will see many abandoned, boarded up, rotting houses.
The streets literally reek of despair and ruin. Councilman Freeman has not helped this area grow; instead, Kenmore has receded into a mere shadow of itself.
Where once businesses thrived, empty storefronts and blowing trash have taken over. John Conti was a wonderful councilman years ago. He was easily accessible to the residents and did whatever he could to make it a better community.
Freeman seems to care more about rich slumlords than people. The editorial board needs to cruise around Kenmore and see how terrible it has become. Freeman needs to change his tactics, along with our narcissistic mayor, who has been in office far too long.
M. Lynn Foti
Keep the name, alter the meaning
We have known them as the Washington Redskins far too long to change the name.
Repaint the helmets, but keep the color red. Then paint a potato on the side. They then still be known as the “Red Skins.”
Who could protest? Maybe the Department of Agriculture?
Fill the house for the symphony
Akron is blessed to have a fine symphony, now celebrating its 40th anniversary at E.J. Thomas Hall. As a season ticket holder, I have already enjoyed three outstanding concerts this fall.
Music Director Christopher Wilkins leads a symphony of seasoned maturity.
He has selected a challenging mix of familiar favorites, such as the Brahms Academic Festival Overture, while introducing the audience to lesser-known pieces, such as the Sibelius Symphony No. 7. In addition, Maestro Wilkins is featuring soloists of breathtaking accomplishment.
But, there are too many empty seats. This symphony deserves a full house, not only for the present but to secure its future.
The next concert in the series is Jan. 11. Plan now to attend and support this Akron treasure.
Linda E. Bunyan