Your letters, Nov. 27

November 26, 2013 

Rank is a fact of life for students, faculty

As the state has adopted the common core and is implementing teacher pay based on being in the top percent of all the teachers, removing class rank would be detrimental to the philosophy of the state for two reasons.

No. 1: It would not prepare students for real life of the 21st century in which the rank of an employee measures by seniority or level of command really do matter.

No. 2: It would not reflect the government’s stance on education, where it would make logical sense to grade the teachers that way but not the students.

I understand you may want to protect the reputation of a student who has a high class average but may be 50th in their class. But what about the teacher who has a whole class that has high grades and growth, but is not in the top 25 percent of all teachers? They will be judged as not being good enough and a failure.

If judging by rank is not good for students, please remember it’s not good for teachers, either.

Patricia Millbrook

Durham

Civitas request troubles faculty

The Civitas Institute, a private organization that says its mission is to protect liberty, has demanded to review all of the email correspondence, phone records, and calendars of our friend and colleague Gene Nichol, Director of the Center on Work, Poverty, and Opportunity at the UNC School of Law, over a six-week period this fall.

Surveilling a professor’s communications is a really troubling approach to protecting liberty.

We deeply admire Gene Nichol’s commitment to protecting and speaking for the state’s poor and disempowered. The only comfort we take from this sorry request by Civitas is our confidence that it will increase his passion.

Eric Muller

Maxine Eichner

Editor’s note: This letter was also signed by 28 other current and retired members of the university faculty.

Learn about drug dangers

Most people have noticed advertisements on television for prescription drugs. These ads are designed to get a person’s attention and nudge the listener/viewer to consider taking a specific drug product.

Our recent ad that got my eye and ear is promoting Victoza, a new drug to treat diabetes. It had soothing light background music as it proceeds through about two minutes of spoken information.

Nearly halfway through this oral text is the phrase: “ … serious side effects may happen to people who take Victoza including inflammation of the pancreas or pancreatitis, which my be fatal … .”

Victoza is not the only pharmaceutical with potentially serious adverse reactions. But it does illustrate the wisdom of getting all the information available before taking prescription drugs.

This and much more information on specific drugs is available from your pharmacist at your pharmacy. Every commercial package of a prescription drug normally has only one package insert so a citizen may need to wait a few days until that document can be obtained by the pharmacist.

David Work

Wilmington

The writer is the former executive director of the Chapel Hill-based N.C. Board of Pharmacy.

Drinking water safety at risk

As a Carolina student and a member of the Chapel Hill community, I feel compelled to speak out against hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” in North Carolina, and what is at stake if we allow this dangerous form of natural gas drilling to begin in our state.

Fracking has already polluted groundwater sources across the country with toxic chemicals. Just a few weeks ago, a study done at Duke confirmed the presence of radioactive chemicals in rivers near fracking sites in Pennsylvania.

As of right now, 8,000 acres of land in Chatham, Moore and Lee counties have already been leased for fracking by out of state gas companies. If we don’t take action, fracking could begin at these locations within the next year or two, putting Jordan Lake, Eno River, Deep River, and thus the drinking water for millions of North Carolinians, at stake.

The cleanliness and safety of our drinking water shouldn’t ever be in jeopardy. I urge my fellow students and community members to call Gov. Pat McCrory and local elected officials, and tell them to pass a permanent ban on fracking. Together, we can make sure that our drinking water sources are safe from contamination, and that our beautiful state remains frack free.

Michelle Graziosi

Chapel Hill

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