School Success Without Diversity
Minority diversity in schools is not a prerequisite for delivery of quality education to students. Schools do not need diversity; schools need to serve their communities and teach their students.
When my Armenian ancestors immigrated to the United States in the early 1900s, they were a disliked minority. They established an Armenian community which became a major support system for them. They worked hard, realized the American dream and gradually became assimilated into mainstream American culture. Rugged individualism worked for them.
School redistricters did not attempt to break up their community create a minority mix and they succeeded anyway.
It is about time people began to realize that communities, regardless of their racial or ethnic composition, are an important support system for their residents. Redistricting students destroys community cohesiveness and fuels resentment instead of tolerance.
. . . We must cease from defining ourselves as African, Jewish, Hispanic, Irish or white Americans, but as Americans period. . . .
Educators can facilitate this goal by taking responsibility for instructing our children in American culture, so they develop an understanding and appreciation for the principles that made America the greatest country in the world. . . .
Today, the education establishment is consumed with paying tribute to other cultures and pandering to organized special interest groups at the expense of our own culture.
If you doubt this assertion, ask your children what they know about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. After all, we just celebrated Presidents' Day, or did we? Visit your local school: Valentine's Day was probably more important than paying tribute to two great American statesmen. . . .
. . . My advice to Howard County school officials and communities is to work hard as Americans to make each local school the best it can be and to refrain from the social engineering that serves to divide rather than unite us as a people.
Janet M. Sloan
Ellicott City Doesn't Need Another Tax
This letter is about the editorial, "In Ellicott City, Death by Taxes," which was published March 2. The phrase about the infliction of a "mortal wound" is correct. But the damage occurred when the task force failed to address the concerns of the business community. The report covers a very broad spectrum and attempts to formulate a marketing plan by bringing together groups with diverse interests. Some of the marketing consultants on the committee should not have served due to an obvious conflict of interest.
The business people . . . should have been given greater #F consideration since they would be most affected by the proposed regulatory tax. Both property owners and business owners in Ellicott City already pay a considerable amount of tax. The renovation and maintenance of the historic structures is expensive. And as the private sector restores these great old buildings, taxes are raised accordingly.
Additionally, services are provided to the public which are also funded privately. The business people are certainly justified when they reject a plan which recommends more tax; the proposal itself is nebulous with regard to the use of the funds.
The editorial states that the tax revenues in the plan "could be used to create more parking." This notion is a clear indication that the writer did not read the report and apparently missed several important points which were discussed at the public meeting. Parking was barely addressed in the report.
An improvement to the parking situation in Ellicott City is not an "amenity," it is a necessity. The town is not just comprised of a "quaint row of shops." The mix consists of residents and other professionals as well as merchants. These people all need a place to park and the visitors demand parking. . . . By accommodating more visitors, the business community would generate more tax revenues for the county and the state.
I would advise the writer to understand the implications of the task force proposals. The report is an untimely attempt to regulate business through taxation. The concept promotes inflation.
The editorial is myopic and full of unsubstantiated remarks. The business people of Ellicott City do not need the "cold water of reality splashed in their faces." Not even a cold shower would bring this writer back to reality.
The writer is corporate vice president of the Forget-Me-Not Factory.
It is sad to see an editorial writer of The Sun write about 'D something of which he obviously knows nothing.
To help historic Ellicott City to achieve its full potential, a tax and central management . . . is the most foolish idea yet. The "proposed" promotional activities -- group advertising, festivals and more -- are already being provided by the Ellicott City Business Association, a voluntary not-for-profit organization, and other groups like Historic Ellicott City. . . .
The question of the benefits outweighing the losses is easier to take if it is not your life savings wrapped up in a business. Nor were the funds to be raised ever marked for parking in the report. That combined with no hint at the amount of the "assessment" scares people with sizable investments in their businesses.
We merchants in Ellicott City have faced the cold water of reality by becoming self-employed. We knew the parking situation from the start, and jumped in. We just don't need nor want anything else from the county. But they keep asking what they can do for us as they do for all of Howard County. We reply with the question most asked by our customers: "Where is the parking lot?" The county, not being able to provide what we want, offers us a new tax and government involvement in private enterprise in its place.
. . . Unfortunately, we don't own a sizable piece of land to pave. Only the county does. Without greater parking facilities, achieving the full potential of Ellicott City will be difficult.
The writer owns the E.C. Does It Cafe.