AS MUCH AS I respect Lee Cullum and Ross Perot’s Select Committee on Public Education, I must emphatically disagree with both regarding the abolition of vocational training from high schools [“Editor’s Page,” May]. A lot of people don’t go beyond high school for a lot of different reasons. Many stay in school because of the vocational training they receive there. I firmly believe that abolition would do more damage than good. I agree that we need renewed emphasis on academic curriculum, but let’s find another way to do it.
I WAS DISMAYED by your editorial supporting the Select Committee on Public Education’s recommendation to curtail vocational education. Lest the upscale crowd at Dbe unaware, the recommendation applies to Oak Cliff and West Dallas, not Greenhill and Hockaday. Lee Cullum’s words came through as a very Marie An-toinette-ish “Let them eat culture.”
The call for culture is admirable, but premature. Social scientists, notably Abraham Maslow, have long told us that human needs have a priority hierarchy. The basic survival needs of food, shelter and clothing must be met before safety and “belong-ingness” can be met. Only then can a person be concerned with language, literature and other trappings of culture.
Vocational education is about jobs-jobs to provide food, shelter and clothing. Vocational education can be the key to making adequate provision for these basic needs. Once he’s no longer hungry, a child can acquire an education and culture.
Culture should come after breakfast, not instead of it.
Frank D. Repp Jr.
I HAVE LONG admired the activist position that D Magazine has taken in regard to the need for quality education in the Dallas Independent School District. I truly believe that D has served as a catalyst for continued improvement of our public schools. However, I must strongly disagree with your recent support for the elimination of state funds for vocational training in public schools.
I have long been active as a volunteer in the DISD’s Career Education Programs. I have served as chairman of an advisory committee at Skyline High School and on the advisory committee for the Public Services Magnet since its inception. I am currently chairman of that committee and have taken an active role in the many law-related education programs that are part of the DISD curriculum. I have recently been appointed as chairman of the Career Education Committee of the Dallas Chamber of Commerce. I can assure you without any hesitation that the Career Education Programs in the DISD are effective and educational and that the funds for those programs are well-spent.
I don’t disagree with the need for renewed emphasis on the academic curriculum. I merely feel that the Career Education Curriculum is equally important and that continued funding for that type of education is a vital part of the total picture. Just as we can no longer afford to graduate students who cannot read and write, so can we no longer afford to graduate students who have no basic tools for the implementation and continuation of their chosen careers-whether they be the skills of an auto mechanic, a secretary or a nurse, or the necessary knowledge to begin the competitive process of becoming a lawyer, a doctor or a businessman.
Alfred W. Ellis
Woodruff & Ellis
THE COVER ON your April magazine prompts me to write. I found it, at the very least, disgusting. You have a wonderful magazine. Please give it the dignity of a quality cover, one that your readers would be proud to display on the top of their coffee tables.
In the almost two years of my subscription, your covers have been the most disappointing factor of your fine publication.
Margaret O. Hendrick
I AM VERY disturbed with Eric Miller’s expose on “Hugo” in “What Makes Rabbit Run?” [April]. There is a dangerously soci-opathic air about a glorified violent criminal whose only professed moral obligation to society is to “bust dope dealers.” I would feel far better protected by our law enforcers if this so-called legend was not only taken off the streets but permanently exiled from humanity and forbidden the opportunity for social interaction. All of this would be accomplished, hopefully, with a fair trial, a luxury not granted by Hugo to the men and women he assaulted before he “turned snitch.”
Why should freedom and all of the rights it represents be granted to a man found just as guilty as the men he helped send to prison? At the very least, don’t allow “Rabbit” to breed like one and conceive more innocent, unfortunate children. This level of inhumanity needs no further cultivation or encouragement.
I HAVE ENJOYED D Magazine for several years, but I must object strongly to the graphic description of the beating of a woman in the article “What Makes Rabbit Run?” I was interested in the story, but after reading of a person being forced to swallow her kicked-in teeth, I could read no further. I am not unaware of the violence that exists in Dallas, but I did not expect to read such a vulgar and offensive example of that violence in the pages of a quality publication like D Magazine. I hope that in the future, the writers for D will exercise a little more discretion in their descriptions of the seamier side of life.
Sarah E. Audsley
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
DOES ANGELA Enright possess ESP? In her Press Club Gridiron story [“Inside Dallas,” April], she speculated that Dr. Philip O’Bryan Montgomery-the mover and shaker of the Dallas Arts District-would be named the Headliner of the Year. And she certainly called the ending right. As publicist of the show, nobody told me who it would be! Thank you for the recognition of appearing in your great magazine.
GETER, JUSTICE AND JOURNALISM
AS SOON AS I removed your magazine from my mailbox and read the story, “Accusing Accusers” [April], I realized that it had been written and was in the works just as Lenell Geter was being released.
I read the article with more than a casual interest to see if the writer, Eric Miller, had made a wild-eyed guess.
I was relieved to find the article fair, interesting and very informative. Also, I agree with attorney Edwin Sigel’s statement about the prosecution “shuffling bodies” and that “when you see an innocent man, nobody recognizes him.” Since August 1983,1 have been working a case almost exactly like the Geter case here in South Carolina.
By the way, I subscribe to your magazine because Dallas is my hometown.
I enjoy your magazine very much. Keep up the good work, and I agree with Miller that sometimes it takes a “media circus” to get anything done.
Sutton Investigative & Security Services Inc.
Greenville, South Carolina
SUPPORT FOR THEMENTALLY ILL
AS A MEMBER of the Dallas Alliance for Mental Recovery, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for including Richard West’s excellent article about the local Mental Diagnostic Unit at Parkland hospital [“Diagnosis: Schizophrenia,” May]. I think it would have been appropriate for readers to know that there are family support groups in the Dallas area that are actively addressing the serious and complicated problems that these illnesses-schizophrenia and manic-depression-present.
Our own organization now has a membership of 120 families, and FAIR (Family and Individual Reliance) has four family groups that meet in the Dallas area. Each of these groups have client activities as well, and all of them can be contacted through the Mental Health Association of Dallas County.
Nancy S. Wood
Dallas Alliance for Mental Recovery