Artificial Intelligence

Teach responsibility: Many of my friends in college use the "study aids" reported in your article ["High Scores," by Jennifer Mathieu, April 17]. These are the same kids that, in fourth grade, hoped for floods and hurricanes to force the cancellation of school. Face it: Most kids don't like class, but whose fault is that?

Maria Montessori, founder of the education system that bears her name, discovered that the inborn instinct to work becomes deviated by conventional education, influenced as it is by mankind's perception of work as a harsh necessity to gain wealth and power.

But work is meant to be a physical expression of will and intellect; and the purpose of a young person's work is the creation of a good human being. Perhaps if this ideology were respected, we wouldn't need forced labor in our schools (a.k.a. study hall) and students wouldn't need to artificially alter their neurotransmission to pay attention for more than 60 minutes at a time.

Youngsters are getting more and more power and accessibility. Isn't it time that education evolved to teach them more and more responsibility?

Ian Ragsdale

Sound minds: I read Jennifer Mathieu's article with great interest, but I was disappointed to find that the drugs being used were the stimulants Ritalin and Adderall. These stimulants in the long run do nothing for procedural and declarative memory.

If a person is really interested in true study drugs, they should try nootropics (for example, Propanolol, Phenytoin or Hydergine). These true smart drugs can be readily ordered over the Internet.

But if smart drugs are not to your liking, a longer but safer route to increase cerebral processing can be tried with the use of light and sound. The best I have found come from www.toolsforwellness.com. Its Hemi-Sync CDs and Muse mind machines are above the rest. Its free catalog is a must.

But be very careful in what you ask for, because even though my chess, mathematical and computer skills have improved, my "other" mundane and embarrassing moments of my life have been hard to forget.

Good luck!
Joe Muniz


A Story to Dig

Rest in peace: I found your article "Dead Wrong" [by Wendy Grossman, April 10] to be interesting and thought-provoking. Furthermore, I'm eager to read the results of the investigation of Hollywood Cemetery. Death is a subject that people don't like to talk about, but we must all recognize that the final steps in planning a deceased love one's funeral are painful for many. To complicate the fact of death, survivors should not be stressing over concerns of violations on the part of a cemetery.

I certainly hope that Hollywood Cemetery not only settles any disputes but rectifies any problems in its record-keeping. We've all heard of strange events with the final disposition of a deceased person.

Your article confirms that there is still suspicion from the community when dealing with death and funeral arrangements. I only hope that you follow up on the article.

Steven Johnson

HISD Special Interests?

Children come last: I read your article on T.H. Rogers ["Bend Over and Take One for the Team," by Margaret Downing, April 17], and I'd like to ask you a question (actually, two questions): What is going on in HISD, and why isn't anyone doing anything about it? I've been teaching at Attucks Middle School in HISD for 22 years, and I tell anyone who will listen that the district does not have the best interests of its children in mind.

I don't care about trustees taking credit for high test scores or low dropout rates, but I take serious issue with trumpeting "Children First" as a district motto and portraying yourself as some sort of child advocate when you sell out handicapped children to special interests.

I was attracted to teaching because of what I perceived to be the nobility of the profession. What greater way to contribute to society than by preparing young people for productive, successful lives? I had no idea the greatest obstacle to helping children would be a school board and superintendent (Billy Reagan to Kaye Stripling) consumed with delusions of grandeur.

I look forward to the Houston Press stories on HISD. I am grateful somebody holds the district accountable. Even though your coverage has not brought about much substantive change in the district, I can at least have a good laugh at the embarrassment you've caused.

Thanks again.
Thomas Iocca


Cry for Post Oak: Margaret Downing strikes out swinging in her third attempt at depicting the T.H. Rogers-Post Oak Baseball dispute. Exactly who got bent over, Ms. Downing? Post Oak's license agreement is by far the most restrictive of any similar agreement with other Houston-area Little Leagues and HISD. Post Oak has handed over to HISD more than $1 million in capital improvements since 1981 and will have to raise an additional $100,000 for future renovations that do nothing to enhance the baseball fields. The grounds will continue to be meticulously cared for year-round at no cost to HISD and at considerable expense to the leagues. In return, Post Oak gets only the right to play on HISD land after school hours under an agreement that can be revoked at any time, for any reason, by HISD.

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