Love-Hate Mail 

Letters from our readers

Letters from our readers.

It do come easyTim Ghianni’s piece on Ringo Starr’s 1970 Nashville recording visit was as fine a piece of music journalism as I have ever read (“Nashville Starr,” July 3). Unbelievably well-researched and complete in every respect, only it left me wanting more. Ghianni is an outstanding writer, and I hope to see more of his talent in these pages soon, and often. Many thanks to all involved!SCOTT (Clarksville)

The 30 percent solutionWhile mayor Karl Dean may appear sincere in wanting to see the high school graduation rate go up in Nashville schools and throughout the state, there are a lot of unanswered questions (“Sincerely, Karl Dean,” July 3). No amount of government intervention in the public school system will make every parent and child suddenly care about the need to graduate. There will always be dropouts because there will always be a certain number of people who don’t give a damn. And the more tax dollars you throw at them, the more they remain a problem to themselves and others.

Real change must come from within. The problem isn’t the 70 percent of high school kids who do graduate on time, it’s the 30 percent who don’t and their parents—or lack of. Why does everyone have to cater to their every whim and need? Again, no matter how many alternative high schools or attendance centers you build, you’re still not going to do anything to fundamentally change the 30 percent who don’t give a damn. I say this because both parents and their children know well in advance what the requirements are and what the time period is in order to ensure little Johnnie or Jane graduate like a normal person on time.

It’s a pretty good bet the vast majority of at-risk children have been improperly labeled with a mental disorder like Conduct Disorder and are drugged and allowed to swear at their teachers without real consequences. Doesn’t anyone see something wrong with the fact that most special education dollars go to students labeled with subjective behavioral concerns, rather than those children who have real physical limitations? Our pill-for-every-perceived-ill mind set has destroyed a good part of education and basic common sense.

Memo to Karl Dean: Put more absolute responsibility on the students themselves and their parents and leave counselors out of it. Too many classrooms have already turned into therapy sessions, and these are history and math classes for crying out loud. It’s extremely sad that students often identify with each other by comparing what psych meds they are taking or what subjective mental disorder they were suddenly diagnosed with when things got tough. Where is the pride? Where is the grit? Where is the sacrifice?

Sure, it’s problematic to the core that here in Tennessee the high school graduation rate is only about 70 percent. Back in Georgia where I used to live, the graduation rate is just about the same. Republican Governor Sonny Purdue decided to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on high school graduation counselors in every high school. And you actually wonder why there isn’t much of a difference between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to public education? Appeasement rules the day, and that is the last thing any student needs. There is absolutely no excuse for it.

I believe that only the parents of students who find themselves inching toward giving up can make a lasting change happen. For starters, they can be a parent first, friend later. That has to happen right now. And fast. Students need to put away their poor-me trophies and develop a thick skin once again to make it through trying times. Things can only then get better. If we keep drugging our students and lowering standards, we’re going to have a generation of adult children on our hands.

Is this what we really want?TONY (Hermitage)


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