COMMENT

MAILBAG

The falconer answers his critics / The vexing question of teachers’ salaries

December 16 1961
COMMENT

MAILBAG

The falconer answers his critics / The vexing question of teachers’ salaries

December 16 1961

MAILBAG

The falconer answers his critics / The vexing question of teachers’ salaries

Permit me one brief rebuttal to the critics of falconry. (Falconry in the suburbs. Oct. 7). Falconers are always labeled as sadistic, falconry linked to bear-baiting and other "medieval” sports. The same persons and groups that are so quick to level these charges see nothing wrong in the breeding and training of hunting dogs. Yet I wonder if a healthy bird attempting to esaape a falcon is as terrified as the crippled duck or pheasant being chased by a retriever or a spaniel? If the critics of hunting wish to criticize all forms of hunting they deserve to be heard, but to attack one small group that takes a very small toll, leaves no cripples and poses no threat of injury or death to anybody or anything else, while ignoring the enormous toll of life taken by rifles and shotguns, with their attendant loss of human life and high incidence of crippling — that seems to me to be most curious. — FRANK L. BEEBE,

SAANICHTON, B.C.

Who gets the top teachers?

In the manner of the good teacher (Two views of the teaching our children get: Nov. 18), I’ll reply to the questions raised by Sidney Katz by asking one: if a scheme of merit rating were satisfactory to boards and teachers, which parents should be asked to give up the right to have their children taught by the "best” teachers available? Unless a foolproof method of concealing ratings is found, this, to me, is the crucial question. — A. V. GOODMAN,

BRAMPTON, ONT.

^ The staggering cost in lost human resources by continued tolerating of incompetent teachers in the classrooms of our public schools is a national disgrace. It is to be earnestly hoped that our teachers’ federations, provincial and national, will accept this challenge forthwith to "clean house.” A wonderful opportunity presents itself for a greatly enhanced professional prestige. One thing is absolutely certain—some form of merit rating must be accepted whereby competency can be financially RECOGNIZED.-KENNETH PARKER, CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.l.

*■" Bright children who are worth their salt will always manage to educate themselves adequately (if not to their fullest capacity). Our real problem is in training the ever-increasing numbers of subnormal or emotionally damaged children who are flooding our schools. 1 suggest teachers’ salaries should be based on merit rating plus job evaluation. The nervous strain of teaching over one hundred dullards every day is something which should be compensated by high salaries and generous vacation PERIODS.-MAVIS JAMES, BRAMPTON,

ONT.

^ The great majority of parents send their children to school because they (the children) can't earn their living yet and are a nuisance around the house. Parents don't visit the classroom on their own initiative. Parents don't try to evaluate the teaching that goes on there. Merit rating is so much smoke. —HUGH MYERS, QUEBEC CITY. P.Q.

^ The argument that incompetent teachers are receiving annual raises should be examined in light of the following facts: School boards hire

teachers whose competence they can examine. During a two-year probationary term a teacher may be dropped without explanation. School boards may withhold the annual increase if

they have reason. Incompetent teachers may be dismissed. It is my belief that if boards pay for incompetence they need to examine their owm approach to the matter. If the courage to use this authority is lacking, how could they muster the courage to judge someone on merit when not knowing the criterion?-MARTIN STAMLER, ATIKOKAN,

ONT.

^ I have merit rated Sidney Katz and have come to the following conclusions: 1. That his choice of topics is always that which some section of the public has soundly debated and reached conclusions about, and then discarded. In other words he raids the public garbage cans for topics. 2. That his writings are vague generalizations. He flits from point to point but never settles one thoroughly. 3. That he is guilty of toadying to various cliques as witness his defence of the “snob schools,” socalled by the bourgeoisie of the localities in which they are. Therefore, as evidently Mr. Katz is not worthy of his hire, I recommend that he be dismissed from the writing staff of Maclean’s and that a more up-to-date, accurate, non-partisan, and less bombastic writer be hired to take his PLACE.-MRS. CATHERINE WATSON, KENASTON, B.C.

^ Aren’t you rather putting the cart before the horse? As an ex-teacher with fourteen years teaching experience both here and in England, I have, alas, met many inferior teachers, ranging from plain mediocre to plain bad. The solution lies in a vastly improved teachers’ training system. The course of even general teaching should be three years at least. In England, too much emphasis is placed on academic achievements; here too much on pedagogy. A cross between the two is needed. When teachers’ colleges can turn out annually a group of highly intelligent young teachers of proven eagerness and value, there won’t be any need to discuss the merits

and demerits of various systems of pay. And I won't have to tell my child that teacher was wrong. - AUDREY N. STANKIEWICZ, OTTAWA

* There are many difficulties which make merit rating schemes awkward to administer. One of the most persistent of these is that administrators do not agree on what comprises good teaching. It is not so much that administrators fail as raters as it is a case of perceptions and values altering between one person and the next. . . . We have some distance to go before we will be able to make a clear definition of good teaching and it is not likely to be simple. —

T. B. GREENFIELD, EDMONTON.

Porter or Fido — a difficult choice?

1 sec you have printed another controversial article by that unhappy man McKenzie Porter (No thinking man would keep a pet, Nov. 18). 1 wouldn't like to meet him, but 1 should think the

psychologists will have a name for him. Come to think of it, if I were cast away on an island with Mr. Porter and a fleabitten old dog. I’d have a hard job making up my mind with whom to keep COMPANY!-MRS. MARY FOSTER, WINNIPEG.

MORE MAILBAG ON PAGE 6

Up with pets and down with McKenzie Porter! An underhuman, overscrupulous curmudgeon!

McKenzie Porter [No thinking man would keep a pet, Nov. 18] is an example of a human being who apparently has insulated and isolated himself from any contact with the animal world. If his picture at the head of his article portrays robust health, I’m heading for the dog house. — v.

MASLIN, M ET A MOR A, MICHIGAN

^ I have been associated with animals most of my long life, and prefer the dumb but intelligent affection of the so-called lower animals to that of the human beings I have had contact with in ten countries of the world. However, if we have to get rid of animals for health reasons, let’s go all out and eliminate the automobile, belching forth its poisonous gas into the atmosphere, and the industries with their smog and let’s live in really a sterile vacuum. But why bother? One of these days some rear gunner is going to press the wrong button and boom, away will go germs, fleas, lice, bugs, pets and you, man. —

GEORGE A. TANQUIY, FENELON FALLS, ONT.

^ Possibly the article by McKenzie Porter was written as a joke, to raise the hackles of all pet lovers and fill your Mailbag. If not. it is just ridiculous nonsense. 1 have kept all sorts of pets for years and never saw, felt or heard of flea, bug, or louse. — A. J. REYNOLDS,

TORONTO

* I think the greater menace are these

mawkish writers and professors, trying to alarm pet loving people, and adding still more fears to cope with in a fearridden world. - ETHEL N. SLATE, VAN-

COUVER.

* My congratulations to McKenzie Porter on having the intestinal fortitude to write the article on pets. I hope you paid him well as the article won’t win many FRIENDS.-A. MACNUTT, OTTAWA.

^ I can assure Mr. Porter that, as a pet owner, 1 travel in far more illustrious company than he, as a pet hater, can ever hope to BOAST.-RICHARD GUPPY,

WELLINGTON, B.C.

* After reading the article by McKenzie Porter I have put it where it belongs, at the bottom of my cats’ litter TRAY.-MRS. EDNA ANSELL, ST. LAMBERT, QUEBEC.

^ For heaven’s sake can’t you dig up someone with the necessary urge and talent to squash McKenzie Porter like one would the bugs he infests our pests with.—R. JOHNSTON, KIMBERLEY, B.C.

^ My eternal gratitude for Porter’s article.— MRS. MURIEL M. MCILWA1N, WHITBY, ONT.

^ Much of w'hat Mr. Porter said is true, but somewhat out of context, and considerably distorted. Let me illustrate: even if mustaches did have charm, 1 would be willing to bet Mr. Porter that I could culture from the hairy area under Mr. Porter’s own nose, such a varied and formidable representation of potentially pathogenic micro-organisms, as to frighten the easily frightened Mr. Porter into snatching this potentially lethal adornment out, hair by infected hair.—HELEN M. TINLINE, BLENHEIM, ONT.

Mr. McKenzie Porter has made out a good case against dogs, cats and birds as carriers of insects and disease germs. He should now take a look at people. That innocent looking child on the bus may be coming down with measles, and spreading infection to the child sitting beside him. Riding in an elevator the man beside Mr. Porter who coughs in his direction may be spreading the common cold, influenza or T.B. The hobos who inhabit skid row may be harboring fleas, so Mr. Porter should be careful when he hands out a dime for a cup of coffee. He should also beware the fascinating blonde he met at a cocktail party; she could be harboring germs. Perhaps Mr. Porter should abolish people, or at least arrange to keep them 50 feet away from his clean, sterile

house.-R. VICTORIA ORANGE, VICTORIA,

B.C.

^ We have a cat and she is not what you say she is and there are two dogs up and down stairs! So you think that no one should have a pet. Well 1 think you aren’t very nice. I am nine years old. This is what you should be doing, you know.

GLENNA MOONEY, ST. LAMBERT, QUE.

* I wish to raise my voice in protest

against the article by McKenzie Porter. Doctors say that cats do not transmit their diseases to man; very few diseases of dogs are common to humans. We have had both dogs and cats for many years: they did not have fleas, mites or bedbugs. Porter must have a very odd circle of friends if their homes are as he describes; the humans maintain the homes, not the pets. He must visit the slums. Only neglected animals are diseased and lousy. Obviously he has had no contact with modern veterinary surgeons.-A. CARLE SMITH. LANCASTER,

N.B.

* Does Mr. Porter actually hold these narrow, overscrupulous, underhuman opinions? Or does he know that he’ll get a rise out of most of us when he speaks derogatorily of our homes which are “infested” with dogs, cats, children, garden tools, paint rags, and numerous other items symbols of loving and living?—A. MORGAN, EDMONTON.

Porter really thinks these things, and the editors know he’ll get a rise out of you.—THE EDITORS

New light on fallout

Congratulations on publishing at last a lucid, concise resume on a usually badly handled subject (A guide to fallout, NOV. 18).—R. R. REAL, OTTAWA.

Continued on page 10

The case against Red China in morality and law A wife in every port for the cook of the Nabob

You say, “there is no reason legally or morally why a majority of the United Nations should not face the facts of life in China and vote to scat the government which actually rules one quarter of the human race.” [How the ghost of a dead China blocks our hope of peace, Nov. 4.1 The moral reason why the majority should not do this is that the Peking government’s entry would weaken still further the organization which is facing threats to its very existence this fall on every side, and strengthen the international position and influence of the Communists. The legal reason why the majority cannot do this is that the assembly does not have the power on its own to elect members. A new member must be recommended by the Security Council. The political issue that confronts the United Nations here is that the Chinese nationalists, as permanent members of the Security Council, have a power of veto which would be used, of course, to keep the Chinese Communists out. This kind of stuff is unworthy of Maclean’s where, at one time, one could find responsible editorial opinion. — FREDERICK C. STINSON, TORONTO.

Mr. Stinson, an MP who has spent much time at the UN and has visited both the Chinas, must be aware that China, the nation, is already a member of the UN. The question is which of her rival governments will be recognized as representing her THERE.-THE EDITORS

* Thank you for the forthright editorial comment on the recognition of Red China. Amidst the hysterical denunciations of the U. S. A. it was refreshing to find a Canadian with the sanity and gumption to tell us what we should be doing to ease world tension. - MRS. F. FARMER, TORONTO.

*■" Your editorial was masterful in its detached impartiality regarding the United States and our enemy. Communist China. I take issue, however, with your assertion that there is no “moral” reason why the Peking government should not be seated. The attack of Red China on the UN forces in Korea, the slaughter and enslavement of the Tibetans and the massacre of tens of millions of its own people might possibly constitute a few moral considerations against UN membership for this regime. Finding “a stable basis for world peace and disarmament” with this gang, who have continually stressed the inevitability of war and world domination by Communism, is a prospect which the American people view with scepticism, strange as it may seem to

you. - GEORGE M. QUINN, JR., CICERO,

ILLINOIS

A tonic for patriots

The article on H.M.C.S. Nabob (The most agonizing hour of the war at sea, Nov. 18) brought back interesting memories. She was one of a class of “flat tops” brought up from Tacoma to be refitted according to British standards. They had names of oriental rulers, and I had the privilege of officiating at the naming ceremony, as they had all been launched prior to their being taken over by Canada. Nabob was a fated ship from the start. On her first cruise out of Vancouver, she ran aground, but was refloated without much trouble.

The tale of her torpedoing in a Norwegian fjord is one of sheer heroism and dedication. A landlubber can hardly appreciate what must have been going on down in the engine room where men labored to get the auxiliary power going, knowing that at any moment she might sink or get another torpedo slammed into her. I married at least one of her crew, an English cook, who came into my office in the cathedral looking like a drowned rat. He was a funny little man, but he must have had “something” for later he was arrested in Montreal on a charge of bigamy. Having a wife in England, he had married a third girl in Montreal after I had married him to a second wife in Vancouver. . . . A few more tales of this kind may

very well be the sort of tonic that we need in these rather soft days, and inspire young men with a sense of service beyond the call of DUTY.-VEN. CECIL

SWANSON, CALGARY.

^ Your article was very interesting especially since my husband was a member of the crew of the Nabob. He was a stoker, and one of the skeleton crew who took the Nabob into Scapa Flow. - MRS. I*. REDECOPP, REGINA.

Where dentists go

The attempt of the writer of Dentist Outlook; Better, Coach (Nov. 18) to be sensational and “go collegiate” has resulted in missing the meat of an interesting and important story. Instead he has substituted tawdry inessentials for an interesting story of how long-term planning is being done by one profession to meet the dental health needs of people living in the county towns, villages, and small cities of Ontario. This need became apparent from the many direct requests from chambers of commerce, mayors, reeves or clerks of municipalities, as well as interested citizens asking that young graduates be persuaded to set up practice in their communities. As a result of these requests, the dental statistician at the Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto was asked to make a study of the trends in respect to the home town of the student entering dentistry as it is related to the location of practice after his graduation. The results showed trends among the students from rural Ontario, of returning to practice in similar sized communities from which they came. About 80 percent of students from metropolitan areas remained to practise in metropolitan centres. While the former communities supplied three quarters of the students in dentistry in the 1920s and ’30s the reverse is the case today. It was evident to us that we must interest more good students from the towns, villages and small cities of Ontario to enter dentistry if we hope to provide dental services so badly needed in these areas. — GLEN T. MITTON, TORONTO. ★