As a disgruntled alumnus of the University of Toledo, I applaud your recent coverage of misplaced values, most recently concerning the abominable staffing levels for the Carlson Library.
May I remind The Blade, however, that this lack of educational emphasis is not a new symptom of UT from the ill-fated Vic Kapoor presidency. If you recall, The Blade took a strong editorial stance concerning UT abandoning the highly regarded Northwest Ohio Quarterly in 1997.
The Horton administration determined that UT could no longer afford the $17,000 annually to retain this invaluable academic publishing resource. This decision was made at the same time that UT sent me a congratulatory note for contributing toward its recent $40 million fund raising campaign.
I was furious! UT was telling me as a history alumnus that it was too poor to afford $17,000 for an outstanding scholarly journal while congratulating me for helping to raise $40 million. I did the quick math: After subtracting $17,000 from $40 million, I still had $40 million!
Now UT trumpets its models for two new student dormitories while “spinning” that Carlson Library will be able to maintain its academic services while at less than half-staff. My question now is: If UT's enrollment in 1990 was 25,000 students and its enrollment in 2000 is 17,000 student and dropping, who's going to live in these two new dorms? Why not take the millions for the dormitories, postpone that project, pump the funds back into academic programs and facilities to get more students to attend UT, then build new dorms when UT's student population again reaches the mid-20,000 level?
What is the common characteristic between the Horton and Kapoor administrations? The UT Board of Trustees. Unless Governor Taft and his successors finally start to name individuals to the board who remember that UT is about education first and ornamental items second, UT will sadly remain a third-rate university.
Grosse Pointe Parkway
Toledo school board member Terry Glazer's comment that collaboration existed for 30 years and that “we have one of the toughest contracts in the country” bears looking into. In my 30 years as the president of the Toledo Federation of Teachers and negotiator for Toledo teachers, I worked with seven superintendents, dozens of board members, and many cabinet-level administrators.
Only three of the superintendents could be described as collaborative in their approach to me and the teachers I represented. Those three helped to produce the teacher quality programs that are now copied by several states and a number of local districts. The same programs that put Toledo Public Schools on the map are the same programs Mr. Glazer has sought to end or weaken - all in the name of “reform.”
There were very few board members, cabinet-level administrative officials, or board lawyers who advocated collaboration with the teachers' union. Those who did met with stiff opposition from their colleagues. We were constantly at odds over representational issues often facing hostility, disrespect, or inattention to policies affecting teachers. If Toledo teachers have a strongly protective contract, it is because we were forced to strike twice by hostile school management.
Mr. Glazer advocates his confrontational approach because he says that a return to the days when principals ruled like foremen and teachers were without any guaranteed workplace rights is the answer to the challenge of educating today's youth. Could it be that he also sees the return of unlimited management power and patronage as a necessary step in his climb to higher office? Whatever his motives, it was not collaboration that built a strong union for Toledo teachers. Mr. Glazer does not know his history.
Isn't it curious that George W. Bush campaigns vigorously against the federal government with the aim of becoming the head of that same government? Why does he look on the federal government as the enemy of the people?
Our government, local, state, and federal, is the people - the people we elect to run the institutions we think are the best in the world. Without these levels of government, and, yes, the tax money required to run them, we would not have water systems, roads, sewers, police, firemen, and schools. We would not have state universities, Social Security, Medicare, Head Start, the Coast Guard, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines, the national parks, the post office.
If the people have become cynical toward those who head our government, it is because we have allowed special-interest money to pollute our political process. We can take back control when campaign finance reform is finally passed in Congress, something the Republican-controlled Congress has refused to do.
Al Gore wants the campaign finance reform bill to be the first one he signs as president.
It would go a long way toward restoring faith in our elected officials, who would then be more free to govern for the common good, not the good of special interests.
The Bush campaign, with the theme of “I don't trust the federal government; I trust the people,” does not understand that we the people are the government.
America is still worth fighting for. If there has ever been battle for the soul of this country, it is now. We are seeing more violence in our communities, homes, and schools. We have accepted partial birth abortion for the sake of convenience. We have driven God out of our courts, our government, our schools, and our lives. We have changed the definition of marriage and reduced its meaning to a court document rather than a covenantal relationship.
The United States was founded on “self-evident” truths and an appeal to the “Laws of Nature and of Nature's God” (Declaration of Independence). Our greatest accomplishments have stemmed from battles waged and won over moral issues and our understanding of right and wrong.
Does the future of our families mean something to us? We have to stand against those who say that government has the answers. Your choices today not only decide your destiny, but also your children's. Reflect on what you want that to be, remembering that men and women have given their lives for the freedoms we now enjoy.
It is time to take back our responsibilities from a government that is too intrusive and that is led by the most morally debased administration this country has ever seen, of which Al Gore is a willing participant.
If your family's future and the future of this country mean something to you, I encourage you to vote for George W. Bush on Nov. 7.
Recently, as a result of the eruptions in the Middle East, some synagogues have been damaged. These acts are obviously wrong. If Muslims are doing this, they are committing acts that are clearly condemned by Islam and the Quran (the holy book of Muslims). The Quran explicitly warns Muslims against harming anybody's place of worship.
We realize Palestinians (Muslims and Christians) are being oppressed by Israel, but attacking one's place of worship is not the way to react. I pray to God that peace prevails and that all matters are dealt with justly.
M. Y. AHMED
United Muslim Association of Toledo