Using a Name
Those of us who support your paper and look to you for leadership cannot know the challenges that you must face in running a successful newspaper. Developing a healthy internet presence for The Express is clearly an important objective. Your efforts to drive eyeballs to your website are understandable. Why wouldn’t you cherry pick anonymous “comments” from your website and prominently print them beneath the “Letters to the Editor”? It is so much more exciting to read the angry unaccountable rants of one or two people hiding under their paper bags! What a thrill you must be providing for these individuals as you trumpet their strident points of view. Who needs courage anyway?
Have you considered dropping the requirement that writers include their name and address when submitting letters to the editor? Why constrain their expression? For that matter, why constrain any one person by limiting them to one “alias”? In last week’s paper, what if I told you that “TruthAbout IB”, “IBeenThere”, “MomWith a Brain”, “GuestWho” and “Taxpayer” were all comments written by one person? Would it matter to you? What if it turned out that all of these comments were authored by you and your staff to promote business? Would it matter to us?
I think that both of these sad possibilities would matter greatly! To my mind, like many other newspapers struggling to be relevant, you are lowering the discourse in our community and inviting irresponsible behavior as you promote anonymous expression.
John “UsingMyOwnName” Battle
Many Support IB
Over the past couple of weeks I have been glad to see that the dialogue taking place about the potential implementation of the International Baccalaureate Program within the Sag Harbor Union Free School district has reached The Sag Harbor Express.
Yet for a true discourse to take place, it is important to offer multiple perspectives on the topic. Unfortunately, in last week’s article “The IB or AP, a Change is Expected,” it is apparent that only one view was represented. At last week’s Board of Education meeting, seven teachers presented on their experiences at various IB training conferences. Six out of seven teachers were enthusiastic supporters of IB. Four of the teachers that presented have taught AP classes and one has been involved with the Intel Research program.
After having attended the informational meeting on the International Baccalaureate program and the educational forums over the past several weeks, I feel strongly that the IB program offers great promise to the students of Sag Harbor. As a community, we have the opportunity to offer our youth a curriculum that is global in scope, rigorous, interdisciplinary, and encourages critical thinking and problem solving-skills.
Although my daughters are currently in the first and second grades, I am willing to work now for its implementation with the hope that over the years, it will come down to the middle and elementary schools, and I know many parents in the district who feel the same way.
I hope that this discussion continues and that The Sag Harbor Express reaches out to other teachers, administrators, board members and parents within the district who have either been trained or done research and feel that the IB program holds great potential for our students and community.
I was very disappointed with the article in last weeks Sag Harbor Express, “The IB or AP, a Change is Expected.” While I was expecting a balanced report of what transpired at last Monday night’s board meeting, I instead found coverage that was entirely biased against the International Baccalaureate program. At this board meeting, a group of seven teachers presented their thoughts on IB versus AP. Six out of the seven teachers had enthusiastic and positive things to say about the IB training. Yet the article gave a disproportionate voice to the lone teacher who had a different opinion. And if you had read the article in the East Hampton Star (about the same meeting) it quoted this teacher as follows “Frank Atkinson-Barnes, a history teacher who admitted he was ‘very biased toward the A.P. program’ “.
As I speak to teachers, administrators and folks around town I hear excitement and positive feelings about the possibility of IB in our district. I attended the Educational Forum and it seemed that everyone was open to and generally positive about the program. I know so many parents who are very excited about the prospects of the bar being raised for our children. So, I am wondering, why the disconnect in the Express reporting?
A community is well served by a newspaper that represents the facts. Your article was so skewed that it really should have appeared as an Op-ed piece. Board meetings are sparsely attended and the public relies on getting balanced reporting of what transpired. I hope your future articles dig deeper into this issue, give proper perspective and all opinions equal time.
Proud Sag Harbor Parent
Jefferson said, “I own that I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive.” Yet, people constantly scream to government to fix problems. History has shown, however, that the more government “does,” the more oppressive it becomes to the people.
It is a double-edged sword. Our republic is supposed to respond to the voices of its people. But, America was founded on the principle of limited government and the Founding Fathers had no greater worry that, over time, the federal government would become too powerful and by extension, too oppressive.
So, the best advice that I can offer is to be mindful of another Jefferson admonition that, “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.” These 15 words are precisely why we must remain “ever vigilant.”
This is serious business, fair reader. Are you thinking about freedom? Do you care? Since our politicians cannot seem to get it right, there may well be a call to arms. Comfortable living now is no justification for neglecting our responsibility in insuring that future generations of Americans live in a free country. This is serious business, fair reader.
God is Not Political
In one of Bill Jones’ recent weekly rants, he finally admitted he’s “over the top.” I would point that the rest of us concluded that long ago of course. Fancying himself a character in a Hawthorne novel and cartoonish in his 2-dimensional evocations of 18th & 19th century ‘Americana’, he’s given himself away with his elaborate posturing on the topic of prayer. Completely divorced from anything even remotely spiritual, he tries to invoke God, as if that is an entity endorsing his erratic agenda. Bill, George W. Bush beat you to that shtick and wore it pretty threadbare. Sorry, but God is not political and you can’t try to work religious associations when logic, fact and 21st century needs make you look like a fool. If you have something specifically constructive to offer to real policy today, give it a try. Otherwise, save the tirade for a tea party meeting, as people are embarrassed for you these days.
I applaud the Wellness Foundation and its Winter Wellness Challenge. As a 61-year-old who went vegan for life 18 years ago after seeing John Robbins’ video “Diet for a New America,”
it has been humbling and at times discouraging to observe and accept that what for me was no challenge at all but an instant epiphany and ethical imperative based on seeing all animals, human and nonhuman, as equal individuals, is for others a (perhaps short term) health-based experiment.
Nevertheless, I truly understand that each of us is on our own unique
journey. I wish all the participants the very best, and hope that the
seeds planted will blossom into a deeper understanding that all
living, feeling beings are entitled to life, freedom, and other basic rights.