Daniel Tibbets
via Internet

Case Study
What was the motivation of the Houston Press to publish an article that focuses on approximately 25 parents in a school with 2,800 students? The IB program is alive and well at Lamar High School. In the past, 20-25 Lamar students have received IB diplomas each year.

To strengthen and broaden the program, Dr. McSwain sent the IB Director, Dr. Carol Case, to Switzerland last spring. Case and associates also visited a school in Florida where approximately 100 students a year complete the program and receive the IB diploma. Two experienced teachers were named assistant directors to help with the program. The dean of academics and IB counselor were also sent to the training for administrators. This year the IB teachers have been attending training conferences on the subject matter they teach.

This does not sound like a plan to destroy the IB program. Giving additional administrative help and training seems to be a logical way to further strengthen a sound program.

Pat Rosenberg, Lamar IB parent
via Internet

IB Truth Test
As an HISD teacher for over 15 years and parent of two students (one a recent graduate of Lamar's IB program and the other a freshman in the program), I was extremely pleased to see your article about the demise of the IB program at Lamar. Superintendent Rod Paige abhors negative publicity for the district, so perhaps some positive steps will be taken.

What is truly scary is that Ray Reiner, central area superintendent, asks, "What problems?" The IB coordinator of 15 years resigns, and the IB secretary is reassigned. This leaves individuals in charge who are not familiar with the program. An underqualified teacher is hired to teach Chem 2, and within a month a tutor is needed. (Is this an example of Dr. McSwain's hiring abilities?)

I agree with Mr. Calvert that it does not make sense that McSwain would take an internationally known program and dumb it down or let it fall by the wayside. But I have been in the district long enough to know that HISD does not often make sense. How else can one interpret these actions?

If McSwain wants to raise the standards for all programs at Lamar, that is an admirable thing to do, but one does not have to ruin one program to improve another.

Name withheld by request
via Internet

Feed Feds Fiction
Like "John Herrera" ["Down For The Count," by Kimberly Reeves, January 14], I was alarmed when I got a census form similar to his. I was also very concerned about my privacy versus being fined for not responding. There is an easy answer guaranteed to take the sting out: Lie your ass off. Tell them you make over a million dollars a year, or tell them you don't work. Tell them you have 70 people living with you. Dare them to prove anything and -- on the outside chance they do -- give them the standard government explanation (one they are intimately familiar with): "I must have erred." View it as your contribution to the world's collection of fiction. Beats the hell out of Prozac, and it's much cheaper. More fun, too.

P.M. Knox
via Internet

Go With The Flow
I am the 24th Reiki master trained in the lineage of Takata, as well as founder of Reiki Plus Institute and author of the book that Emily Laurel quoted in your article ["State Board of Touchy-feely," by Tim Fleck, January 14].

Reiki, and its broad spectrum of approaches to understanding the spiritual energy of God, does not need licensing. Standards of education and knowledge can be peer-regulated. Reiki is based upon a simple principle that the receiver regulates the quantity of healing energy conveyed through the Reiki practitioner. The practitioner simply and humbly allows God's love to flow through his body into the person he is touching.

I personally do not see that state regulation in the favor of Judy Carroll or the Reiki Alliance is not without great contradictions. Furthermore, the legislative bill has the flavor of antitrust and restrictions on free trade, not to mention the implication of violation of the Constitution in the separation of Church and State.

David G. Jarrell
via Internet

Fair Enough
I read your Reiki article via the Internet and feel it is well written and honest. I believe this is good journalism and am encouraged by your effort to fairly show the many opinions on both sides of the issue.

J. Withers

Witch-hunting License
The claims of the Reiki Alliance are completely bogus. If one wishes to legislate "spiritual healing" or "laying on of hands," one needs to allow that many viable methods exist and perhaps have written tests to demonstrate a minimal knowledge of ethics, human anatomy and techniques.

Of course, it cannot restrict the use of laying on of hands within a spiritual practice! I applaud protecting the public. However, Reiki is taken by the average person as a self-care technique. Most of us do not make our livings from Reiki.

I can see the Reiki Alliance going on witch-hunts of its own to force people to take their classes and not allow the practice of Reiki by anyone but its members. This would protect members' own incomes but would take this form of healing out of the hands of all but the more well-to-do among us.

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