Students' WorkEditor: A recent article by Kathy...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Students' Work

Editor: A recent article by Kathy Lally implied that parents should be involved with their children's homework. It is natural for parents to see that their children get their work done and to acknowledge that there will be ongoing battles. However, one really cannot make a child do homework, one can only make a child accountable for having the work done.

In the best of all worlds, homework, beginning even at the most elementary level, is a responsibility that the child develops to the school independent of the parents. What a child needs from the parent, and the parent needs from the teacher, is an understanding of how much time a project should take. The parent needs to set aside space where a child may work independently and also limit the amount of time spent on homework. Work that is dawdled over does not promote the kinds of habits that will help a student learn.

In the ideal situation, the child submits work to a teacher, who sees that it is checked. The child then learns what needs to be learned. When the child has not completed the work or has made errors, time should be set aside by the teacher for the student to complete the work. If children are made responsible for completing their work, then the teacher doesn't have to hear about an aunt who was sick or how the family had to go out. The child needs to complete work whether or not there were intrusions in the home. This removes the parent from the situation.

Parents are brought into homework as if they were the ones who had learned how to teach. As a rule, parents do not possess the skills or the understanding of current methods that a particular teacher is using. It is fine for parents to be involved in spelling if the child so chooses, but for parents to include themselves is only a part of a battle that has never been won in the past nor will be won in the future.

The best students learn to work independently and are directly responsible to the teacher for their consequences.

Dorothy Siegel.

Towson.

Give a Chance

Editor: I would like to express my thanks to every voter who got involved in the election process this past general election. Even though the turnout at the Catonsville Middle School was not 100 percent, it still made my time as a poll captain worth the many hours that were devoted to the election process. It was gratifying to see the turnout which proved conclusively that the American voter can make a difference in the operation of our government.

Not getting involved only sends the wrong message to the do-nothing incumbents, to continue on with the "business as usual" attitude, making no attempt to change the way "business" is done.

It is now the responsibility of the "new kid on the block" to make good his campaign statements. We, taxpayers, breadwinners and voters will be watching with a very sharp eye, to see how he, Roger Hayden, our new Baltimore County executive, conducts himself.

This past election proved that we voters and taxpayers wield a pretty hefty club and are not afraid to knock incompetent, do-nothing, free spending, elected leaders right out on their ear, or other portions of their anatomy.

Voters, remember one important fact before we kick and scream about our newly elected officials. Give them a fair chance to perform. If their efforts fall short of our expectations, then, give 'em the hook!

John F. Thomas.

Catonsville.

Saving Lives

Editor: Clearly the great threat to peace in the Persian Gulf is now the contest of wills between George Bush and Saddam Hussein. Both men are locked in eyeball-to-eyeball conflict and the question is, "Who will blink first?"

There is little doubt that President Hussein grossly miscalculated world opinion and especially the opinion of the Arab world by invading Kuwait. Now he is caught in a dilemma with no honorable escape.

President Bush, ever the crafty politician, has seized the opportunity to enhance his ratings with the American populace by playing the role of "leader of the free world." This arrogant title, assumed by most recent American presidents, is anathema to the rest of the world, even to our staunch allies. Only Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher seems comfortable with it. Actually, it flies in the face of one of our most cherished American traditions -- that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. The "free world" has not elected Mr. Bush to act for them.

Why can't our government join the world community of nations as an equal partner instead of a presumed superior authority? Let the United Nations take charge of this situation now. We have nothing to lose by such a sensible move and very well may save the lives of some fine, brave young men and women.

Earl L. Hagan.

Randallstown.

Bad Times and Charitable Giving

Editor: The Sun's business pages recently noted the collapsing share prices of major companies in the Maryland area.

Large well-established banks are down 70 percent from their prices at the beginning of the year, and not far behind are several Maryland household names - Black & Decker down 52 percent, Marriott down 69 percent, USF&G; down 57 percent and BG&E; down 23 percent.

Whether these stocks represent great bargains at this time or whether they are painful reminders of how quickly wealth can dissipate depends on whether you are stockholders in these companies.

However, there is another potential loss that was not examined ' the loss to the State of Maryland if the business leaders of these major organizations have to pull in their civic reins in order to concentrate on the financial woes of their own companies.

Gov. William Donald Schaefer has always been able to call upon the wealthy business leaders to help fulfill his dreams. Not only have they given him enormous financial support, but they have also generously volunteered their time. Will the momentum wane as the economy further recedes and the business community has to batten down the hatches for a long recession?

Let's take a look at some of these companies, their leaders, and the effects on the State of Maryland.

1. Baltimore Gas & Electric - The chairman of BG&E; is still heavily immersed in the difficulties at his Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant. Replacement power cost during this outrage is approximately $600,000 a day. Whether the regulators see fit to pass the entire cost onto the utility customers is still pending. Operating expenses have risen sharply as a result of the problems at Calvert Cliffs, and the earnings picture is not bright for the remainder of 1990. Throughout the 1980s this company was one of the best run utilities in the country. The 1990s represent a different story and much might depend upon the treatment by regulators.

As a Schaefer loyalist, George McGowan sits on numerous boards and agreed to run the University of Maryland's Board of Regents.

2. USF&G; - The conservative Jack Moseley has seen his stock fee fall from $30.37 to $11.50. The soundness of the company is being debated in the newspapers, and it's lofty dividend of $2.92 ' representing a yield of 22.5 percent at a stock price of $11.50 - is being questioned. USF&G; will probably not earn its dividend for the next two years. Yet, Mr. Moseley (who has resigned) never hesitated in loaning his employees to work on United Way drives and USF&G; has always given generous support to charities.

3. Maryland National Bank - MNC's sudden fall from grace shocked nearly everyone in Baltimore. Down from $29 a year ago, the stock hovers at about $5. Forced to set aside massive reserves to ensure against losses from bad loans, MNC is having difficulty meeting its own short-term debts; and Alan Hoblitzell, the person considered by many to be the most influential man in Baltimore abruptly left for early retirement. Now at the helm is mega-millionaire Alfred Lerner, and the fate of the city's biggest bank will be determined in Cleveland.

And the list goes on, from falling financials at Marriott Corporation to the need of Black & Decker to pay off the vast debt for its Emhart Acquisition.

Poor earnings, outside management, heavy debt burden, and recession fears are only a few problems that could abruptly halt the generousity of our civic-minded business leaders.

Those used to relying upon these leaders to support campaigns, visionary plans and worthy charitable causes may soon be shocked to find that when they come calling, these profit-driven companies can no longer lend them a sympathetic ear and the State of Maryland may wind up the ultimate loser.

Joan J. Huber

Baltimore.

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