The Post's treatment of "The Satellite Dish Dilemma" (Close to Home, Sept. 8) was bewildering. The debate is supposed to be about the rights of individuals to own satellite dishes versus the rights of their neighbors to not suffer such eyesores. Yet two commentators, Daniel Schorr and John Huddy, were alloted more than three-quarters of the available space to promote the rights of dish owners.
Schorr stated that he has no complaints whatsoever and that most people are intrigued by his dish and want to know "where they can get one." This is not the point, however, because dish owners in other locations have received complaints from their neighbors, and Schorr did not address this issue at all.
Huddy was even worse. He admitted that his dish did cause some controversy with his neighbors, but that h simply ignored it. His argument is that if his neighbors only knew how wonderful these dishes were, they would want one too. He offered the ultimate argument in favor of dishes in his final sentence: "Satellite dishes are very American."
All three commentators for the opposing viewpoint, if it can be called that, argued generally that dish owners should be considerate, for aesthetic reasons. The dilemma is not about the relative merits of owning a dish, but the relative rights of owners and neighbors who are opposed to visible dishes. Apparently none of the three commentators opposed to unrestricted rights of dish owners has had to face the problem personally.
Surely The Post could have found someone who was facing the issue on more than a theoretical level. What about these neighborhood associations that have taken positions concerning the rights of neighbors of dish owners? Couldn't The Post have let one of their representatives explain their views in having to deal with a real "dilemma"?
-- W. A. Van Wicklin III
Daniel Schorr implies that the people in his neighborhood (especially those in the mass media) don't mind his dish. I'm in the mass media, I live several blocks away, and I don't like the dish. A newsman of Schorr's experience should not assume that, because he has not heard negative opinion, it does not exist.
-- E. G. Sherburne Jr. 'Is the School Year Long Enough'?
In response to the question, "Is the School Year Long Enough?" (Close to Home, Sept. 1), the opinions of five people were published, all of whom are connected in some way with area school systems and all of whom support, for a variety of reasons, the status quo of the shortest academic year in the industrialized world. Several of the correspondents' assertions must be challenged.
Kenneth Muir, director of long-range planning, noted that it would cost Montgomery County $53 million to extend the school year from 185 to 200 days. But he ignored the hidden costs of operating the schools on the current schedule.
Comparisons are complex, but numerous studies show that European, Soviet and Japanese high school graduates from comparable backgrounds are routinely one or two years ahead of their American counterparts. American students are studying in college, at far greater expense to their parents and the taxpayers, what others are being taught in high school.
Muir also fails to take into account the waste of money incurred by the summer hiatus. Testers estimate that young children lose as much as 25 percent of what was learned during the year, and even bright older students can expect to spend a month or two at the beginning of each year reviewing last year's work.
Muir also writes that schools would have to be air-conditioned. Why not? Is it more cost-effective to close those expensive buildings for two and a half months each year for lack of it?
According to Muir, changing the system would disrupt many established patterns. Reform often does that; our responsibility is to judge whether those things -- jobs for the small minority of school-age children old enough to work, two-month summer camps for the privileged few -- are more important than the goal of providing the best possible educational system.
Several of the other correspondents fall back on the current platitude of "quality, not quantity." Clearly we need both. Ask any athlete, musician or dancer whether there is a correlation between the amount of time spent practicing and the level of performance. It's the same with thinking.
-- Geneve S. Maroon