As a citizen directly in the middle of Maine, reading the Portland Sunday paper is my once-a-week treat. However, almost a month ago, I was reading your lengthy article on the educational dispute that was occurring in the Scarborough school system and was appalled to see your use in the headline and in the body of the article references to the debate as a “cage fight” and a “cage match”! I even looked it up to see if there could be any possible reason for such a choice of words. I found none.

Reading through the article, I could not help but notice that the writer seemed compelled to reference the respective genders and ages of the Scarborough High School principal and the Scarborough school superintendent – a wasted allusion.

The fact is that Maine has fallen far behind in student performance over the last few years, Scarborough probably less so than many others. It is heartening to see an effort on the part of the school committee and the superintendent to tackle the issues of student performance head on.

School systems cannot legitimately claim that they have taught when the students cannot demonstrate they have learned through measurable and observable performances. It is equally disheartening and insulting to see the disagreement described as a “cage fight” – a fight merely for the fight’s sake. The issues are too important and real.

System and school administrations are not popularity contests. Your characterization was a disservice to the individuals involved. It showed a general lack of understanding of how school systems are legally structured and how far the community’s and the paper’s focus has fallen away from the real goals of instruction.

Shame on you. Consider what you need to do to repair the gaffe.

Ann B. Bridge

Parkman