July 1, 2013

Letters to the editor: U.S. officials' penalty pales next to chef's

Having spent the entire spring witnessing indifference, incompetence and dishonesty by our government employees in mighty high places, I am hard-pressed to further shame Paula Deen for time-honored mindless or foolish remarks.

click image to enlarge

TV personality Paula Deen has been unduly shamed for having made racist slurs, while federal officials who should have been fired for their actions are getting off relatively lightly, a reader says.

2012 File Photo/The Associated Press

She does not work for us, nor does she pretend to do so. She's a great cook, a savvy businesswoman whom we can choose to endorse or not, with or without her use of racial terms.

The federal agencies of the Internal Revenue Service, the National Security Agency, the Department of Justice and their leaders, all of whom we employ, are generously if not richly rewarded for working against the best interests of the American people, their employers.

They're not handling government issues on our behalf, they're filling their pockets while fooling or foiling the public. They should be fired, no severance pay, no lifelong benefits.

Instead, having half-heartedly dealt with some of the truth or none at all, these scoundrels are "punished" by a leave with full pay, retirement with all benefits or business as usual, at our expense, not at our benefit.

What is the upshot of the nasty revelations? Not much. We're inflamed, and members of Congress who probed the problems seem satisfied merely to have said something and called it good.

Paula Deen's unacceptable remarks, made in public or private in whatever decade, have caused her far more harm than seems appropriate.

We could wish government employees who have deceived us had only their improper or unfit language for which to apologize.

Lois P. Cross

Boothbay Harbor

Immigrants need extra aid with college applications

This is a response to the June 15 guest editorial "Another View: Guidance counselors already helping with college selection."

Guidance counselors work hard to help students with their post-secondary plans. However, with a caseload of 250 students, the Deering High School guidance counselors simply do not have the capacity to give the Make It Happen students the specialized attention they deserve; these students need the separate program.

The students in the Make It Happen program are all English language learners, meaning that their parents do not speak English. Most of the participants immigrated to the U.S. in late elementary school. Further, almost all of the students get free or reduced-price lunch and are first-generation college students.

All of these disadvantaging factors make it much harder for these students to have the college knowledge needed in the application process. One guidance counselor said, "Make It Happen is what makes it happen" for these students.

The students in the program are stellar students with great potential. They just do not have the support or cultural capital to know how to approach college admissions. Many studies have shown that lack of social and cultural capital disadvantages first-generation college students in the admissions process, but these students must also overcome cultural, language and financial barriers.

In his book "College Knowledge," education researcher David T. Conley says, "College preparation is a know-ledge-intensive activity and ... some students have much greater access to the necessary information than others."

He goes on to say, "knowledge of the entire college admissions process is more prevalent among the more privileged."

Imagine moving to another country where you don't speak the language and trying to navigate the school system. On top of that, you have no money and nobody in your family has ever attended college. Don't you think you would need a little extra support?

(Continued on page 2)

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors

Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)