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Published: Friday, 1/9/2004

Shine bright light on the Patriot Act

It is encouraging that The Blade continues coverage of the growing opposition to the Patriot Act, even after Toledo City Council s early December resolution. Here s hoping that your examination persists and that resolutions grow stronger.

For example, you might consider reporting to parents and young adults the federal data collection “recommendations” from the National Center on Education Statistics. Expanded by the requirements of No Child Left Behind, NCES data collection is exhaustive.

Now under Patriot Sections 507 and 508, the detail of a young person s life, beginning before birth and extending well through post-secondary education, can be made available to law enforcement officials without demonstrating suspicion of wrongdoing, merely that “records are relevant to an investigation.” These Patriot sections diminish the long-standing protections of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act that required consent for the release of this private, sensitive information.

Data is extensively collected on school staff members, too.

The NCES has built 475 recommended student data element fields for utilization by education institutions. It sure makes it easier to release the funding tied to No Child Left Behind if states cooperate and build their systems around these “recommendations.”

What data? Specified elements include student s prenatal condition (did the mother attend prenatal doctor s visits?); birth weight; immigration and citizenship details; 29 choices under religion; income ranges in $10,000 increments for all household income, including rents, pensions, and interest; parents education history; own or rent dwelling; 66 choices to identify each household members relationship to the student; voting registration status; and nine different categories for oral health, including the soft tissue condition of the mouth, number of teeth, and how many fillings.

Your readers might solidly welcome the light of day shining on what familial data is collected as they consider their personal opposition to the so-called Patriot Act.

PEGGY DALY-MASTERNAK

Drummond Road

I was pleased to see the announcement of two DaimlerChrysler (Jeep) prototypes unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show and hope that they become another Toledo success story.

I couldn t help thinking of the comparison between the two vehicles. The Treo is a hydrogen fuel cell hybrid, and the Rescue is an extended utility vehicle stretched out and powered by a rugged diesel motor.

What have the U.S. auto makers done to provide us protection against crashes when a small hybrid crashes head-on with a mammoth sport ute? In this case, bigger is better. How will the American public ever welcome back the smaller passenger car when they are shadowed by the stump jumpers from Detroit?

CHRIS SIMMONS

Perrysburg

Terry Glazer s Dec. 20 Saturday Essay was right on.

My wife and I sent four of our children to Toledo Public Schools, from 1961 to 1981, and the problems of the school system were evident then. No improvement has been made in the past 20 years.

Mr. Glazer s points are very valid.

An old saying noted that “money isn t everything but it s ahead of whatever s in second place.” In this case good teachers should be first.

As for the millions in tobacco money, building new schools only gets more parking space - not better teachers. The Lawrences are one reason our school system is money-minded instead of “teacher-minded.”

PETER J. HODAK

McGregor Lane

Terry Glazer s diatribe in The Blade typified his consistent hostility. He was also overflowing with misinformation.

Mr. Glazer pointed to Cleveland s successes. The Cleveland Teachers Union is our fellow Ohio Federation of Teachers affiliate. The Toledo Federation of Teachers is proud of Cleveland. Toledo s scores were comparable, but the Cleveland Public Schools qualified more special education students for alternate assessments. (Those scores didn t count!) TPS has learned from Cleveland.

Mr. Glazer claims that Toledo s teacher evaluation system protects poor teachers. The opposite is true! Under this program - which won a prestigious national award for union-management cooperation - far more teachers are fired than ever before. Mr. Glazer knows this. TFT has been sued (albeit unsuccessfully) for not defending ineffective teachers. Mr. Glazer knows this, too. In fact, recent critics complain that TPS fires too many teachers! Mr. Glazer encourages them. Mr. Glazer supports anyone who criticizes TFT.

Block scheduling may be good. It is also experimental and controversial. All TPS high schools extended their school day. All TPS students can earn extra credits. Mr. Glazer also knows this.

Health insurance! TFT has long made fringe benefits a priority. Salaries for Toledo s teachers are comparatively low. Even so, TPS teachers have been paying part of health care costs for years. TFT agreed to pay more three years ago. Some other TPS unions refused the deal, which would have saved millions. Mr. Glazer only attacks TFT.

Mr. Glazer s personal attacks on the Lawrences are especially hateful. Dare a teacher criticize Dal or Fran? C.J. Washington once ran against Dal Lawrence for TFT President. His “punishment” was later becoming TFT s vice president! Wrong again, Terry!

Mr. Glazer came to the TPS board with vitriolic prejudice against TFT. Mr. Glazer - not TFT - has been the primary source of confrontation these last eight years.

For the good of the children, good riddance!

DALE PERTCHECK

Sylvania

Doesn't 'no smoking' mean 'no smoking'?

Russ Lemmon s Jan. 4 column about bar owners “smokescreen” to avoid the no-smoking ordinance should have been on the front page.

It appears that bar owners and smokers have more influence with the city administration when it comes to enforcing the no-smoking ordinance than the nonsmoker or average citizen.

City council passes an ordinance and the local citizenry should comply. Bar owners in some instances are using the claim of an exemption as a means not to comply.

The mayor and the administration set a bad example by allowing extensions of the exemption where there are no intentions or proof of actual steps to readily comply with the no-smoking ordinance. Public office buildings have had to comply with the no-smoking rules; why are tavern owners entitled to different treatment?

Our hats are off to those businesses that comply with the no-smoking ordinance, and our hats are off to those businesses who have made modifications to comply. What does the city do with those businesses that seek to avoid implementation of the ordinance, or those that violate the ordinance?

One suggestion would be that council and the administration take the position that it will object to the annual renewal of an establishment s state liquor license if it fails to show good-faith compliance with the no-smoking ordinance or shows a pattern of violating the ordinance. When you put the renewal of an establishment s liquor license on the line, compliance will be more readily accomplished.

Maybe we should treat smoking like sex: only in private and between consenting adults.

BARRY E. SAVAGE

Maumee

Chilling words on health care

It s troubling enough to consider how often doctors actions and decisions may be controlled by insurance companies. After reading Dr. David Baehren s Saturday Essay in The Blade, malpractice insurance and litigation seem just as troubling. His most chilling words were how the malpractice system “has caused physicians to approach patients as potential litigants rather than friends in need of help.”

VICKI JONES

Midlawn Drive


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