Apparently Hyde School founder Joseph E. Gauld (“Schools should instill dignity and confidence in students,” April 30) wants to continue the “dumbing down” of America’s students by giving two grades to evaluate students’ performance.

One grade would be the traditional one for academic achievement, while the other would be for a student’s “effort.”

Just what we need — a subjective, wishy-washy, feel-good evaluation with no basis other than a teacher’s whim. It would seem that a student’s effort would translate to academic achievement.

Why would underachieving students be motivated to achieve a good “effort” grade when they don’t put forth the effort for academic grades?

Unfortunately for Mr. Gauld, the real world rewards real achievement.

Self-esteem and confidence is built by achievement, not phony, unsubstantiated awards. There is no participation ribbon in real life.

Small wonder that America’s academic standing continues to plummet, with this kind of thinking at its core.

John Lantz

Harmony

Donald Trump asked to find a few more lost things 

Mr. Trump? Yoo-hoo, Mr. Donald Trump?

Now that you have single-handedly solved that terribly vexatious (albeit at first a non-issue, promoted to pseudo-issue by the right wing) birther issue, could you now just appoint yourself Finder-In-Chief? There are so many things that need finding.

Here is a list for starters:

1. George W. Bush’s accurate and complete military record.

2. That $2 billion that mysteriously disappeared in Iraq.

3. Ditto for certain large sums forked over to Wall Street.

4. The ivory-billed woodpecker.

5. That chocolate bunny somewhere in my yard.

6. Amelia Earhart.

7. The American middle class.

There are so many more, but this is a start! Thank you for your vital work!

Marilyn Reynolds

Falmouth

Veteran very grateful for a pat on the back 

On a recent trip to Hannaford to assist my wife shopping, I was wearing my USS Hornet veteran’s cap.

While in the checkout line, a young man asked if I served on the aircraft carrier Hornet during WWII.

I said, “Yes, a long time ago.” He replied, “Bless you.”

It appeared he wanted to say a few words, but it was a busy spot and his two young children headed out the exit.

As my wife was paying the bill, the cashier said, “The man your husband was talking to gave me a $20 bill towards your groceries.”

The money was appreciated, but the thought meant much more. As I left the store I had a lump in my throat.

I would like to be able thank this man in person and offer him a WWII history book.

Bill Orcutt

Cape Elizabeth

Informed Growth Act shouldn’t be ‘improved’ 

Most Maine communities have dramatically increased their network of roads over the last 40 years. Sadly, most of the communities did not have a concomitant growth in population.

The result was more road per capita, more miles driven on a daily basis and more municipal taxes as the roads were paved, plowed, lighted, policed and given fire protection.

It was all done in the name of “development,” but it clearly was an unfortunate development.

A few years ago, The Informed Growth Act was passed. Its goal was to slow the growth of sprawl and to reduce the extra gallons for our cars, and the extra dollars in municipal costs and taxes. It’s a very good law and requires that a developer fund the cost of a study up to $40,000 if the project is 75,000 square feet or more.

That amounts to around 0.2 percent of total costs but clearly helps small towns to understand the project holistically. It also helps the developer to understand his project more broadly.

The Informed Growth Act has been threatened with an effective repeal, by a compromise that it could be waived by any town.

That would be a terrible mistake, allowing towns to drop their standards and appear more “business friendly.”

While this might gain something for the town with the lower standards, the net impact of allowing towns not to enforce a good state law is sprawl for all. We do not let some towns sell tobacco products to children or beer to 15-year-olds.

The Informed Growth Act should be supported by all as a means of reducing our oil dependence, our cost of driving and our municipal tax rates.

All benefit from the Informed Growth Act as originally passed.

Jim Wellehan

Lamey-Wellehan

Auburn

Let freedom of speech remain unmarred by law 

I have a been longtime reader and subscriber, and it has been on a very rare occasion that I find myself agreeing with the editorial of the day. Maybe I could count on both hands the times that we were on the same page.

But “Free speech curbs not needed for funerals” on April 16 is one I do agree with.

I served with honor in the U.S. Marine Corps, as did my brother, who served two tours in Vietnam. Our father was a casualty of WWII in the battle of Okinawa. He left a young widow of 22 with three young children. I know that we would not agree with our Sen. Olympia Snowe’s good but ill-advised intention to alter the First Amendment. To ban free speech would set in place a road that we may not want to travel.

The Constitution was written for the majority, but the Bill of Rights is for the minority that has no voice. If they lost the right to assemble, what would they take from me? If they lost the right to speak, what would they take from me? If they lost the right to question their government, what would they take from me?

The great French writer Voltaire said, “I don’t agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

I stand with Voltaire.

David S. Kaler

Bath