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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Gray Matters: Some Dilemmas and a Pleasure

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I have just tossed out a pile of that advertising material that comes regularly with my newspaper, especially with the Sunday edition. And earlier today I again saw the quantity of similar stuff that accumulates at the local Post Office.

I presume enough people find this advertising useful that it pays out in the long run, but I still think there must be a better way. Add to that the volume of repetitious mailings from government agencies, like Medicare, that come to mailboxes all over the country. How about it, am I the only one who wonders just how serious our nation is about the wasteful use of paper?

We are constantly being reminded that our forests are being depleted, to the detriment of both landscape and climate. If the trees being planted and harvested by paper producers were left to grow, wouldn't they anchor more soil, shelter more wildlife and remove more toxic wastes, or am I missing a connection somewhere along the way?

Even if I am onto something, I'm not sure just what can be done about it. Writing one's congressmen or others in high places would probably have little effect and besides, that would only take more paper. What a dilemma!

Another dilemma many of us find hard to comprehend is that of Iowa school district officials who say they are struggling to find enough time for professional development for their teachers; in other words, for on-the-job training. What is this problem, anyway?

Weren't the four years spent in teacher preparation sufficient? What's wrong with just turning well-trained teachers loose with the kids in the classroom, to devote every possible bit of time to teaching the fundamentals of reading, writing and mathematics?

Wouldn't that produce properly educated individuals ready to earn a living in a competitive world? Does anyone outside of the system understand what it is that takes up so much valuable classroom time on those so-called "In-Service Days?"

I realize our society is changing and problems are developing with which our educators have to contend. However, many of us are not certain the current approach is the right one. At times we are made to feel that we are stuck with some silly old-fashioned ideas of what schooling is all about. Silly and old-fashioned, perhaps, but those ideas worked.

If I'm not mistaken, a generation or so ago our education system ranked at the top of systems, world-wide. All recent reports seem to indicate that it no longer does, and I find this deeply troubling.

Hey, enough of my complaining! As a bit of an antidote I'll conclude by telling you of something I like very much. Most singing commercials annoy me but I love the one for an area TV Station's newscast--the one about our Hometown News.

In the first place, the words are appropriate, they fit the melody without straining and the melody, itself, is charming. The thing I most enjoy is the proper way the vocalist pronounces "news," using "nu" instead of "noo." What a delight!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

But now I must tell you "Goodbye," for I see it is almost time for our Hometown News to come on the air.