News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


City school system an innovator in teaching

To The Daily: Mary Spor and I would like to thank staff members of Decatur City Schools for hosting Berhanu Habtemariam and Tizazu Asare, of the Ministry of Education for Ethiopia, and Katherine Miles from the USAID office in Washington, D.C., last week during their visit to Alabama. They were here to investigate hands-on mathematics and science in hopes of duplicating these practices for Ethiopia. This visit resulted from a partnership formed more than a year ago, when Spor received a grant from the USAID office to provide textbooks for Ethiopia. The collaborative writing team from Alabama has completed textbooks for sixth and seventh grades and is now completing a textbook for eighth grade.

On our first stop to the Wetlands Edge Environmental Center, the visitors were much impressed with the staff Susan Estes, Mark Slate and Ramsey Huffman, as well as the extraordinary learning environment. Their interest grew as they toured and then observed the interactive science lesson provided for the kindergartners from West Decatur Elementary.

Following this lesson, the group moved to Woodmeade Elementary, where Principal Angie Whittington welcomed us to view an outstanding mathematical lesson with Eveythe Cargill and her fourth graders. Again the visitors were impressed with the level of instruction and the degree of questioning that took place with the students.

The visit ended with Superintendent Sam Houston explaining the science modules provided by the system that invites students to observe and explore science rather than being a passive learner. He explained to the Ethiopian educators the thinking and commitment of the school system when making the decision to adopt this curriculum.

In each of these instances, we saw Decatur has much to be proud of with a school system that provides exemplary learning opportunities for children.

Reba M. Wadsworth

Still hot-headed over hat ban at high school games

To The Daily: The hat ban at Decatur and Austin basketball games is ridiculous. While the article (Feb. 14) cites numerous ways the ban has been successful, I assure you the better behavior had nothing to do with hats or the lack thereof. I believe the ban is just something people in power got together behind closed doors and passed without any opposing debate.

The ban on wearing hats at basketball games has caused me to attend only two city basketball games this year, and I think it has had the same effect on other adults. While the intention of the hat ban was to curtail gang-related and other such mischief, all it did was take the hats off a very few kids and a large number of adults.

I have heard the debate of wearing a hat indoors and all I have to say about it is that times have changed.

The school board can con themselves into believing that the hat ban had something to do with the safety and enjoyment of games. But it is like believing one of those infomercials on TV about weight loss. They use the disclaimer “when used with diet and exercise” and we all realize diet and
exercise would have produced the same result without your four easy payments of $49.99.

In the same way, the hat ban, along with increased security and a prohibition on loitering, has produced a great basketball season. At baseball and football games, hats are everywhere, and so are good honest people, along with gang members and thugs.

Tell coaches they can’t wear caps on the sidelines; tell the officials they can’t wear a hat while calling a game. Be consistent or don’t force idiotic rules on us without debate and opposition first.

This is a classic case of “Ask for forgiveness, not for permission.”

Charles Musick

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