Mass transit is the answer to pollutionMaryland...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Mass transit is the answer to pollution

Maryland in general, and Baltimore in particular, need to attract more real industry to provide more real jobs and more real tax money.

Our government has put yet another stumbling block in the path of industrial growth. Employees will now be told how they will get to work, and companies must now supply an overseer to see that they do as they are told.

This is inefficient, costly and degrading, and it may well drive the real talent elsewhere.

Yes, we do have a transportation pollution problem, but the solution lies in an attractive, efficient, cost effective mass transit system.

This is part of our government's charter. Let them live up to it.

David Heston

Glen Arm

Cure of evil

How fast the New York drug dealers would leave town (along with all of the other drug dealers) if the lure of big bucks were eliminated!

The first group of people to be preserved would be the children. Those who are used for "holders" of drugs and weapons and those who are shot while innocently playing on their front steps would have a chance to reach maturity.

The families of teens would be spared the heartache of seeing their youths succumb to the peer presure of owning expensive cars and clothes purchased with drug money. Burglaries of homes and hold-ups of businesses for drug money would decrease. The money spent on law enforcement and incarceration for drugs would be better spent on education, treatment and rehabilitation of the citizenry.

Cure the drug problem through the use of medicine and control of the habit. Legalize drugs and provide treatment at the same time.

It's worth a try. Nothing else has worked and things are not getting any better. Let the drug dealers know that Baltimore is not the place to make money and destroy lives!

Shirley I. Williams

Baltimore

Unsafe streets

Recently, my friend's purse was stolen from her shoulder on Charles Street, where there were many people on the street and much traffic.

At first I was frightened, then sad, then angry -- very angry.

The city streets are dangerous. I must carry Mace, no purse, and be aware every minute of who is in my immediate vicinity. What's going to be done about this?

Government officials are so concerned about being "politically correct" that they don't take steps -- radical steps -- in revamping the police, justice, social welfare systems.

Drugs need to be legalized. Gun control must be established. Take a look at other countries where crime rates are lower. What are these countries doing?

There is something terribly wrong with a country that cannot maintain adequate protection for its citizens.

B. J. Freeman

Baltimore

Home targets

The news of the American attack on Baghdad June 26 came with great sorrow.

I do realize the great threat on George Bush's life. Well, how about threats on the lives of millions of Bosnians being killed and maimed every day by the Serbs? And how about the threat on every American's life right here at home by the criminals on the streets?

We in America are strong on soft targets, even accepting the Iraqi civilian casualties. We need to understand that the strength is right here at home when we put our home in order.

The real battle is to rid the streets of drugs and crime and AIDS, not direct missiles into Baghdad.

This may make us feel good. It certainly creates more hardship for the Iraqi civilians, not for Saddam Hussein.

Bash Pharoan

Baltimore

Berger's malice, contempt destroy our schools

Please spare us any more of your editorials singing the praises of Stuart Berger.

You steadfastly refuse to give any credence at all to Dr. Berger's critics, preferring, instead, to label them as "malcontents" or worse. You continually refer to those who speak out against the superintendent as "unruly parents and teachers."

This does a grave disservice to those of us who truly care about education in Baltimore County.

As a 23-year veteran teacher in this system, I speak for many of us when I say that we do not oppose change; indeed, many of us welcome it.

However, given the fact that my colleagues and I will inevitably be the ones to implement any new programs, we must have a strong voice in what those changes will be.

I cannot in good conscience sit by idly and watch while my students become guinea pigs in Dr. Berger's peripatetic laboratory of education, without voicing my concern that some of these programs are flawed.

You would lead your unsuspecting readers to believe that Dr. Berger merely has a public relations problem. Unfortunately, the problem goes much deeper than that.

Many of his so-called innovations are rootless and riddled with contradictions. For example, at the same time he proposes exciting new empowerment programs for students (electives, magnet schools, etc.), he institutes policies that dis-empower teachers (infusion, inclusion, and the constant threat of demotion).

Doesn't he realize that students and teachers are an entity, essentially joined at the hip? The fate of one is directly linked to the actions or inactions of the other.

A working model for successful learning must, by nature, involve a delicate balance of power between the two.

While students in Dr. Berger's system are being offered commendable opportunities for growth, teachers are treated as willful step-children, who owe unquestioning obedience to their father.

Under his "father knows best" regime, Dr. Berger is demoting school administrators and officials at alarming rates.

Could so many competent people have become so grossly incompetent overnight? Or is the superintendent merely doing a wholesale house-cleaning job, weeding out the old guard and implanting new loyalists who will pledge their faithful allegiance to him?

Ironically, Dr. Berger is sending these demoted "would-be incompetents" back into the schools to teach!

How truly sad that this man views teaching as a punitive demotion rather than a reward for the talented.

How frightening it is that we have a school superintendent who sees the classroom as a place to which he banishes his cast-offs!

Given this sad state of affairs, is it truly any wonder that many of the teachers in Baltimore County are frustrated and disheartened?

The superintendent and the school board sit back in their air-conditioned ivory tower at Greenwood, dreaming up new theories and practices for the "step-children," the teachers, to carry out: home-base advisory, exploratory, infusion, inclusion, school breakfast programs, etc.

If some of these programs should succeed, teachers will never receive the credit for that success; and, conversely, when some of these ill-conceived plans fail, it is the teachers who will ultimately inherit the blame!

On top of these already-existing problems, we face the bleak prospect of an extended school year in non-air conditioned buildings and class sizes of growing proportions.

Dr. Berger has made it eminently clear that he sees no connection between class size and academic performance.

And, despite the fact that Dr. Berger initially promised that teachers' salaries would become commensurate with their new duties, most of us make less money now than we did three years ago.

Worse still, Dr. Berger has not hesitated to apply the punitive whip of the furlough whenever his errant "step-children" get out of line or threaten to act up.

Dr. Berger's chances for survival in his present job depend largely on his ability to involve teachers and parents in any future educational decisions of any magnitude. The real question is whether he can put his ego aside and form a strong coalition of parent and teacher advocates.

It is ironic that Dr. Berger's most recent troubles began with his promulgation of the policy of "inclusion." While he may want to "include" special education youngsters with other students, it is clear that he is very reluctant to "include" parents and teachers in his planning strategies.

Dr. Berger's biggest lesson may come when he learns that he cannot take the "public" out of "public schools."

Dorothy W. Dowling

Ruxton

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