Despite hard times, schools are still Job 1
Members of the Deep Run Elementary School PTA executive board have been following your coverage of Maryland's budget crisis with keen interest. Our two-year-old school is located in the burgeoning southeast corner of Howard County, where public facilities have not kept pace with development. We are acutely aware of the need for road improvements and other high-cost projects. Yet even in this time of fiscal woe we believe education must continue to be a top priority.
As Howard County School Superintendent Michael Hickey noted during his 1993 budget presentation to the Board of Education, our students and school system are enjoying "the best of times" with record-setting SAT scores, the finest performance vTC assessments in the state for the second consecutive year, minuscule dropout rates and 84 percent of the 1991 class matriculated into college or other post-secondary education. Paradoxically, we are also in "the worst of times" as we face a continued massive influx of new students, curtailed programs, reduced staff, jeopardized state funding and an uncertain salary resolution for our school employees.
We citizens of Howard County have gotten what we've paid for; our past investment in education is paying off. In these times when programs and staffing decisions made years ago have resulted in unparalleled success for our children and school system, we do not wish to sacrifice our future because of short-sighted funding. Governor Schaefer, members of the General Assembly, County Council, and County Executive Ecker: We implore you to adequately fund our schools for the sake of the children who are our future.
Richard A. Blondo
Many people have advocated cutting the fat in school budgets throughout Maryland. However, we dare not cut education to the extent that nothing is left except a skeleton. In the long run, it is the children of Maryland who would receive a poor education as a result.
John A. Micklos
Just the two of us
It is always good to get The Sun to start the day's activities usually tucked under the arm. It is also good to read The Evening Sun in a relaxed mood. Now if it happens that the two papers finally get combined, it will seem like lugging around the full bulky issue of The Sunday Sun.
How will The Sun and The Evening Sun feel huddled together?Joseph Thaddeus Kasprzak
The current flap over the quality of American education does not pay enough attention to textbook publishers. An article in the Feb. 5 Accent section reports the latest round in an ongoing battle between the Texas state school board and one of the major publishers of school textbooks, regarding the accuracy of its history texts. According to the article, an ad hoc group has found hundreds of factual errors in these books. An attorney for the Association of American Publishers has the nerve to contemptuously brush off "the error thing."
In researching a proposed new children's book on the Lincoln assassination, I found that one of the two books currently in print for youngsters on the subject contains numerous factual errors. The book was printed by one of the big publishers of material for school libraries.
Authors and publishers need to double-check material intended for younger readers to make sure it is accurate. The Texas flap raises serious doubts over whether the publishing industry is living up to its responsibility.
An article in Maryland Newswatch on Feb. 7 begins by noting, "A Baltimore police officer captured a robbery suspect at a Frederick Road bank in Catonsville yesterday." Later in the article readers learn that the officer, a female, not only failed to capture the suspect, a 23-year-old male, but that she also fired at him twice during the pursuit - missing both times. The suspect was arrested a half-hour later "by other county officers."
Is this story just another bungled job of editing? Or is it yet another sorry manifestation of the politics of sex having their way with reality?
Perhaps an enterprising reporter could get more out of this incident by asking how a supposedly advanced society in the late 20th century can blithely condone putting young women in such perilous situations.
Elvis stamp's OK
In regard to Sylvia Mandy's Feb. 4 letter to the editor on Elvis appearing on a postage stamp, I agree it would be pleasant to see a Nobel laureate or scientist on a stamp.
I agree that it would be most pleasant to see a Nobel laureate or a scientist on a stamp.
But it would be most improper to exclude rock groups or musicians who obviously have had a great impact on our culture.
Aside from having terribly stereotypical views about rock groups and drug use, Mandy seems to believe that praise should be reserved only for those who have "made life safer and better for mankind," rather than for those who have overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to fulfill a dream.
That is what many scientists and explorers, as well as musicians, have had to accomplish to get where they are today.
It seems fashionable to promote excuses for the poor mathematics skills of American students. Officers of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics claim that too much exposure to arithmetic causes students' dismal performance (Other Voices, Jan. 31). Council officials suggest some training in arithmetic should be replaced by activities such as problem-solving and more advanced algebraic and geometric concepts.
Success in these latter efforts cannot be realized unless the students have both respect and appreciation for numbers, which can be achieved only through disciplined drill and practice in arithmetic.
It is doubtful that George Bush will use the expression "read my lips" again in the upcoming presidential campaign. With the lashing that Bush has been taking lately from critics of education and the Japanese about illiteracy in this country, it is doubtful that lip-reading would be very effective in the '92 election.
Erwin L. Koerber