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Published: Sunday, 6/17/2007

A serious commitment to education

Graduation should be viewed as the culmination of one journey and the start of the next. Commencing the next phase of their lives, students need to look back and learn from this moment in time. No one has suggested that students should be handed an undeserved diploma.

However, the ceremony transcends the piece of paper received. Graduation is an opportunity to reflect upon the 12 years of work, perseverance, and sacrifice that have been dedicated to these achievements. By removing this commemoration, which happened here in Findlay as it did in Toledo, a disservice is done to the family, friends, and communities who have vested themselves in this journey.

I am not suggesting we lower academic standards. I would make the Ohio Graduation Test more stringent, and also upgrade the curriculum and expectations students need to meet. I think the school day and academic year should be lengthened. I believe schools should be monuments to academia, and teachers need to be compensated more than they are now.

Until we make a serious commitment to change the minimalist culture education has devolved into, resources and expectations will not follow, and we'll be stuck in a cycle of perpetual mediocrity.

Should the action in this instance be solely dictated by rules, or is quality education also formed upon the foundation of wisdom, compassion, and understanding? In some cases, policy and protocol lead the way, yet in other instances an arm around someone's shoulder and an empathetic understanding are what is needed.

Students need to know that those entrusted with supervising their academic growth are actually concerned about them.

If the school board members who made this decision don't do what is best for the students, the community will have the opportunity to make our voices heard in November.

Ronald Stewart Knopf, Jr.

Findlay

I could not disagree more with your recent editorial concerning demonstrations at graduation exercises. I am not an "old fud," but I do wish for dignified behavior at those convocations.

My concern is not so much which students "walk," but what occurs during the ceremony.

Graduation exercises, no matter where they are held, seem to involve screaming, cheering, air horns, and other noisemaking on behalf of each graduate, as in some sort of competition.

Where is the dignity? Perhaps the occasion should be held at the circus, with the clowns passing out the awards.

This issue will soon fade into the background, to be forgotten until next spring. However, when my son graduates from Lourdes College next year, I hope he is greeted with respect.

Steven G. Sirotnyak

Sylvania

By definition, Robert Jobe is a juvenile. He is psychologically and intellectually immature. Why was there even a question as to whether to try him as a juvenile or an adult?

If an adult commits a crime that doesn't suit adult penalties, is he then tried as a juvenile?

What is needed are laws that don't limit detainment for juveniles who commit horrific acts, not reclassifying defendants as something they are not. Robert Jobe is a juvenile and should be tried as one.

Notwithstanding the seriousness of what he is charged with, classifying him as an adult defies all reason. Permanent incarceration of juveniles is the question that should be worked on.

Bill Burkhardt

Heatherdowns Boulevard

Our prayers and sympathy go to the University of Michigan family, co-workers, colleagues, donor family, and intended recipient family.

The June 4 airplane crash has left many of us speechless. The Survival Flight Team lost their lives working for what they believed in: organ and tissue donation.

Our daughter is a liver recipient and we know firsthand the hard work, dedication, and care a transplant team puts forth to meet the needs of both families: donor and recipient.

God bless them, their families, and those who work to save the lives of others.

Jennifer Herr

Metamora, Ohio

As a Peace Corps Volunteer (and former Toledoan) who has been serving in Ukraine since the end of 2005, I have watched firsthand the disputes over language, gas prices, and economic policies which the June 10 editorial, "Ukraine's unfulfilled promise," discussed as inhibiting the country's progress.

Since I am a U.S. government representative, I must keep my personal political views out of my interactions here, and this policy has given unique insight to both sides of almost every issue.

I agree that the lack of unity is holding Ukraine back and, for me, trust seems to be the missing link. The average citizen, looking at the big picture, doesn't put any faith in the federal government and, thinking more locally, erects large fences around his house, which is often guarded by a chained dog praised for its ferocity.

When trying to find reasons for this lack of trust, I sometimes think of Ukraine's history, which is more or less one tragedy after another.

Maybe people here have a difficult time trusting their neighbors and their government institutions because, in the past, they've never been given any reason to.

It is hard to say where the solutions lie. There are many promising qualities here, like the editorial suggested, as well as a hard-working citizenry which has made ends meet despite all the hardship.

In the end, I think it might just be time that heals history's betrayals and brings Ukraine's people together.

How much time?

I don't know.

Stephen Streicher

Kivertsi, Ukraine

Competent executives of hospital systems should be well paid in recognition of their many responsibilities and complexities associated with their positions.

Paying them excessive compensation, on the other hand, would reflect negatively on members of their boards of trustees, who are responsible for representing the best interests of the community.

In fact, many hospital systems throughout the country, and their related hospitals, have moved far from the objectives envisioned in the original federal "not-for-profit" legislation.

This is characterized not only in questioning of executive compensation packages and billing practices in recent years by congressional committees. It is characterized by issues pertaining to unnecessary duplication of facilities and services, as well as millions of dollars being spent on meaningless image advertising.

It is also characterized by the allocation of significant amounts of funds to unrelated entities, such as sponsorship of expensive sporting events. From a consumer's perspective, the latter, while well intentioned, can be considered to be a misguided use of a hospital's income.

All of the above raise questions relative to today's meaning of "not-for-profit" in the hospital industry. It is a serious matter for our country, and for our community.

Incidentally, because of its close ties to northwest Ohio, your article ("ProMedica chief got $4.5 M in '05") could have been more comprehensive had it included executive compensation for Catholic Healthcare Partners, the parent company of Mercy Health Partners.

A review of several of its IRS reports indicates that 10 executives associated with CHP received total compensation exceeding $1 million in 2005, including four corporate officers who received compensation ranging from $1.3 million to $1.9 million.

Darryl R. Lippman

Sylvania

Editor's note: Darryl Lippman is former president and CEO of Mercy Health Partners.

If Robert Jobe is a minor, who gave him cigarettes during a police interview?

Tim Aichler

Monroe, Mich.



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