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Thanks for iBook Piece; Sailor Isn't Kosher 

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Thanks for iBook Piece

Great story on the iBook situation and its so-called positive impact on education — best reporting I've seen yet on the issue (Cover Story, Jan. 15). Ironic, then, that on the cover the word "initiative" is misspelled. Be gentle when dealing with those who educate you: Remember to spell correctly! - Jackson Harrill

I want to compliment Style Weekly and Mary Miley Theobald for her excellent story on the iBook initiative at Henrico County Schools. This was by far the most honest and informative assessment of this subject that I have read. I can always count on Style Weekly and its writers to present a comprehensive and in-depth story. A certain other newspaper in this city, one which is greatly overpriced I might add, could learn much from your talented staff.

I salute Mark Edwards and Henrico County Schools for having the courage and foresight to embark on this grand endeavor. Despite what we have been told by the naysayers, I sense that the positives will far outweigh the negatives as real problems are addressed and solved by dedicated teachers and staff. This was a monumental and unprecedented undertaking that will pave the way for other school systems across the country.

As the parent of a daughter attending Meadowbrook High School, I look forward to fall 2002 when Chesterfield County Schools begins a similar program. I know that we will benefit from the many hours of hard work in Henrico.

Keep up the excellent work. I love Style Weekly for giving me the local news that I absolutely cannot obtain elsewhere. - M. Wright

Thank you for your enlightening article on Henrico County's iBook trials and tribulations. As a teacher in a neighboring school system, I have been watching Henrico's experiment with interest and, I admit, more than a little skepticism. Computers are great educational tools, but even I wouldn't want the responsibility of carrying a $1,500 machine back and forth in my book bag every day; and, having seen the average ninth grader's backback, that's the last place I'd put anything of value.

My colleagues and I have scoffed knowingly as stories of students downloading porn and hacking into the school server have emerged. Your article helped me to see the good intentions of the administrators, as well as the more pressing day-to-day concerns of using, and, indeed, relying on computers in the classroom.

After reading Mary Miley Theobald's helpful breakdown on truth vs. fiction, I'm of the opinion that, while computers are immeasurably useful as a teaching tool, Henrico moved a little too fast.

It sounds to me as though extensive training of students, teachers and parents should have taken place for at least a year before handing those laptops out. Perhaps they could have been placed in classrooms first, or given to more mature juniors and seniors, before being given to everyone. I was disappointed, too, to learn that electronic textbooks are still more a dream than a reality; from the teaching standpoint, they were one of the most exciting possibilities.

Though I admire the boldness of Henrico's technology initiatives (schools are usually the last to pick up on technology implementation rather than the first), I will continue teaching out of the ratty old textbook and sharing with everyone my school's few precious computers while Henrico figures this out for the rest of us. - Joanna Blevins

Sailor Isn't Kosher

Regarding the article by Dave McCormack on Sailor sandwiches (Grub, Jan. 15):

My concern is not with the writing of this article, but with the insistence by restaurants as stated in the article that a sailor sandwich must include a kosher hot dog.

For those who are not aware, the sole purpose of a kosher hot dog is to meet the stringent dietary requirements of those in the Jewish community who follow the laws of kashrut. I firmly believe that kosher hot dogs taste very good, but the only thing that distinguishes a kosher dog from a "regular" dog is the strict regulation of its production so as to meet these requirements.

By putting cheese on a kosher meat product, this is negated, as one of the principles followed in kosher food preparation is that meat and dairy products not be mixed. Therefore the group for whom the only hot dog available is the kosher dog may not eat this sandwich in the first place.

To put it another way: for those who don't keep kosher, it's not necessary to use a kosher hot dog in this sandwich. For those who do keep kosher, the sandwich is not permitted anyway and the use of a kosher dog is a bit of a waste. In fact, it's almost a bit of a challenge: "Look at us, we put cheese on a kosher hot dog!"

Perhaps the delis of this world would be better off using a less expensive non-kosher hot dog in their sailor sandwiches and leave the kosher dogs to those of us who need them. - Arthur Harrow

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