Letters to the Editor
The Patience of Job
As someone who has been interested in relocating to Memphis for quite some time, I was very intrigued by Tom Jones’ “The Young & Restless” (City Journal, April 2007).
I think it is a mistake to place the burden of drawing younger people to Memphis on a few select colleges or employers, such as St. Jude. If the plan is to draw younger people to the Memphis area, then most major employers should be on board with this philosophy. It makes no difference to me if Memphis has a skating and biking park — that is something for the people who are already there to enjoy. In the meantime, I will continue to call Memphis “home” while I wait for someone to offer me a job interview.
St. Louis, MO
Right On Point
As always, I enjoyed the most recent issue of Memphis magazine. Great publication. I found your editorial (Last Stand, May 2007) at the end of the magazine interesting. You consider yourself a "News Junkie" – which I think is a great thing – I'm one also. However, I found your description of what you watch and listen to very interesting. Watching CNN and local news, and listening to NPR is not really true "news junkie" material, at least not by itself. To be a real student of news and world events one has to get all perspectives – so I have also added FoxNews, Rush, Mike Fleming, etc. I won't say on which side of the political aisle I sit, but I will tell you that regardless of which side I am on, I listen to all sides before making my decision. CNN and NPR alone will not give you the perspective one needs to make informed decisions. They are great news outlets, but let's face it, all news outlets have a bias of one degree or another.
I enjoyed your Point/Counterpoint in the May Memphis magazine. The topic of single sex or coed schools is something that I have churned over in my mind for many, many years. I began my teaching career in 1944 and since then have taught in six single-sex schools, three coed, and one, would you believe, "co-institutional school" (boys and girls separate in classrooms, but together in library, cafeteria, and school activities).
This tour has taken me to four Mid-western states, a school in London, and two universities. And did I mention a few months in a one-room schoolhouse? By now you may be wondering if this itinerant pedagogue was ever able to hold a job. Well, I am a Christian Brother and, being a member of such a religious community, one is expected to go where needs arise, needs being determined by the head man, the Provincial.
I find so much truth in each of your presentations. There are so many contaminating variables in this discussion, however, such as climate of the school when one attended, student personal success, winning seasons, number of strong and caring teachers, to name a few.
Viewing the scene from behind the teacher's desk, I tend to agree that the single-sex environment was best for my teaching, and when teachers feel comfortable, they feel that the students are learning better. I also see the need today for an enriching social experience and that comes so naturally within the coed school.
This topic is complex, with so many spin-offs, that an answer is not easy. Each one's personal story develops the answer, for I do not believe that research will be able to give us the real, live data. Well, maybe there is a solution. Remember that co-institutional school that I mentioned?