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Letters Sept. 17, 2013: meth epidemic, Montessori schools

Morrissey should look into meth, not abortionEditor:In a recent editorial, the Gazette discussed the perils for all affected by the meth epidemic. Aside from the fact that the meth problem is out of control in West Virginia, two very troubling issues hit me hard. First, the failure of our Legislature to adequately address the problem because of the lobbying efforts of pharmaceutical companies that make huge profits by selling these drugs over the counter. And second, the failure of our Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, a former lobbyist for pharmaceutical companies, to commit to investigating how many cold remedy purchases go straight into meth-making.It is certainly disheartening for me to realize just how arrogant some of our government officials are when they don't even bother to try to cover up the fact that their decisions are directly related to the contributors of their campaigns rather than to the health and welfare of the citizens of West Virginia.The meth epidemic here is real, and real families are being hurt on a daily basis. But rather than use an approach like Mississippi, which caused a significant decrease in meth use there, our leaders chose an approach that guarantees pharmaceutical companies continue to make big profits and West Virginians continue to suffer from this destructive addiction.In addition to pandering to the lobbying influence of Big Pharma, pandering to the neoconservative, religious right appears to be the political motivation behind Attorney General Morrisey's decision to investigate abortion providers. There have been no outstanding issues in these clinics, and both are licensed and follow the laws and regulations under which they are governed. There is no abortion epidemic in our state. There is a meth epidemic. Which should be the focus of our Attorney General's attention? Anyone who cares about the health of women, children, mothers, fathers, grandparents and families -- West Virginians -- should have no problem with that choice.Elizabeth C. Scott Winfield  Can Montessori system help schools?Editor: Editorials and columns in our state papers have been abundant regarding education. I am grateful for the attention given to both, and I am grateful that in my 9th decade of life I am able to read and understand them.
Sometimes people ask me what it is like to be 'past 90',  I say that I'm not sure, but for me it is like seeing things from the beginning, middle, and possibly the end.I learned the word Montessori perhaps 65 years ago.I read a remarkable article about a young Italian woman who was the first to be accepted for Medical training in her country.
She was the only woman in the class, but was limited in participation. It was, for example forbidden to a woman and man to be together in a room with a naked corpse of the opposite sex.As a consequence, she had to do her research on corpses alone, at night, after classes. There were many other cultural limitations, but she was keen to succeed and she did.At some point in her career, Dr. Montessori became interested in the problems of underprivileged children. She decided that the underprivileged would be facing difficulties even if access to schools that other children attended were available because their background did not prepare them to succeed. So she devised a method of teaching that would allow students to eventually join the normal schools and not be left behind.As I understood it, these were eventually called Montessori schools and did in fact succeed in achieving the goals Dr. Montessori had set for them.When I see anything written about Montessori schools and students, now, I think of her and her plans and wonder how that beginning fit into the history of the schools.I write in the hope that others can fill the gaps I have not remembered or learned:  When, why and how did schools named for her become schools of the elite? Can her system help our struggling dilemmas about public education contribute to restructuring and improvements today?
Sister Mary Pellicane Charleston 
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