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Teaching All But The BasicsState School Superintendent...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Teaching All But The Basics

State School Superintendent Nancy Grasmick and her crew are at it again, trying to perpetrate yet another invasion into the privacy of our children's lives. The current edict from on high is a request for the Social Security numbers of our children to help maintain accurate records in connection with the Maryland School Performance/Testing Program.

Our children won't know their basic math facts upon graduation, but, by golly, they will have had their instructional time sufficiently interrupted to teach them how not to drown (two weeks of the drownproofing program); how not to take drugs (one hour per week for three months of the D.A.R.E. program) and how to be a "good doobie" (75 hours of "mandatory" voluntary service.) In addition, this year brings further time away from studies so that third- and fifth-graders can be taught stress reduction techniques to aid with the MSPAP testing. Am I the only parent who feels that these areas belong in my jurisdiction and that the schools should stick to the basics?

Parents, if you don't realize the consequences of having your child's Social Security number fall into the wrong hands, do a little research and then think about it. . . .

The state Department of Education has guaranteed us that it will not release these Social Security numbers. . . . In light of events in Anne Arundel County's school system during the past several weeks, how may we feel confident that this guarantee is good when we can't even rest assured that our children are safe within the walls of their school?

Dianne S. Osborn

Crownsville

Leopold's Response

In his letter of May 9, Allen L. Bush erroneously claimed that I "climbed over fence barriers and walked a half-mile" to stand on the road with my campaign sign. In fact, I parked my car, with permission, on adjacent private property and walked 25 unobstructed yards from my car to the road -- something I've done many times at this location since 1981.

Sign-waving has always been an appetizer, not the main course, of my political campaigns. . . . Anyone interested in receiving a copy of my goals and priorities can reach me at 410-255-4477.

John R. Leopold

Pasadena

6* The writer is a former state delegate.

Flawed Event

The Anne Arundel County school system was right in not promoting the "Take your daughter to work" day. Kim Nichols, an administrative assistant, should be applauded for pointing out just how blatantly discriminatory this event was. Imagine the howls that would go up if a "Take your son to work" day had been proposed instead.

As a child who was encouraged to visit factories, ride locomotives and tour construction sites with my brother, I see no reason why a day at the workplace should be a one-sex event. . . .

And the concept is flawed in another way as well. According to the authors of "A Nation at Risk," American school children spend fewer days in the classroom than do their Asian and European counterparts. Why schedule an event to take a child out of school in April? . . . Next year, this potentially good idea should be handled in a non-discriminatory, realistic way. . . .

Rosaline Ellis

Baltimore

Drug Program

On April 20, the students at Ferndale Elementary school attended a lively and highly informative drug education assembly. The students in Laura Briggs' fifth-grade class presented an excellent performance. . . . It was so well-executed that all students in the audience remained attentive throughout the 30-minute play.

Mrs. Briggs, who is a volunteer Health and Drug Education liaison, skillfully adapted the Weekly Reader play and trained and coached her students. . . . Many thanks to Mr. Louis Thomas, principal at Ferndale Elementary School, for supporting this program and providing the opportunity for students to have this unique experience.

Andrea Guzauski

Annapolis

The writer is a resource teacher in health and drug education for the Anne Arundel County Public Schools.

Delay Unfair To North County

As the parent of children attending Linthicum Elementary, part of the feeder system for North County High School, I am very concerned that Phase II of the North County Equity Project (the renovation of the Andover facility for a middle school) may be further delayed due to a lack of funding.

A "Planning Advisory Board" to County Executive Robert Neall has advised deleting all funding for this project until fiscal year 1996. Our children are being asked to wait indefinitely for the complete program equity we were promised several years ago.

This is a Board of Education-approved project. It was approved as a whole package to provide North County with program equity comparable to the rest of the county. For eight years, North County parents and the community have worked within the system to finally attain the position of top priority for construction on the Board of Education's capital construction budget. Delaying the renovation of the Andover facility for three years (during which time the Andover building will be left vacant), and subsequently the Brooklyn Park facility, will keep our children in a junior high program for at least another seven years, maybe longer.

We need to keep track with the renovations of both future middle school facilities so that our children will have the middle school experiences and classes they will need to take full advantage of the programs offered at the new high school.

Since this is a phased project, the on-going commitment of the Board of Education and the county are needed in order to assure that North County finally gains true equity of instruction within the originally proposed time frame. And so I urge County Executive Neall and all our County Council members to fully fund this project for FY '94 and to appropriate the necessary funds for FY '95. North County students have waited long enough!

Pamela Engel

Linthicum

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