Let's invest in our children's educationThe public...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Let's invest in our children's education

The public education crisis in Baltimore City and the 23 counties of Maryland will never see improvement without a major shift in attitude from the taxpaying voters.

It is an unfortunate sign of the times that apathy and neglect fuel the public schools.

The future of Maryland children lies in the hands of "Let's make a deal" politicians who are elected by older, retired citizens who have raised their own children and don't wish to be burdened with additional taxes to help educate future leaders.

Recently, a state commission on school funding unveiled a formula that would send millions of dollars to poorer school districts throughout the state and especially to Baltimore City. The intent is to level the playing field and give every child the same opportunity to succeed regardless of socioeconomic background.

To fund this proposal would cost the state an additional $332 million. But Gov. William Donald Schaefer doubts the state can ++ afford it.

Perhaps if millions of dollars in back taxes from businesses and industry were collected it might help offset the expense.

If Maryland needed to build another sports arena I am certain the governor would find a way to fund it. Instead of investing our hard-earned dollars in building more prisons, let's invest in our children.

We must give them a strong educational foundation that will pay dividends in their future as educated, self-supporting members of society.

Paula Baziz

Pikesville

'Outcome' schools

As I read about the growing controversy surrounding Outcome-Based Education (OBE) in the Baltimore County public schools, I am reminded of the story "The Blind Men and the Elephant."

The first, who felt only the elephant's trunk, concluded that, surely, the elephant must look like a snake. The second, %J approaching the elephant's leg, assumed that the animal resembled a tree. The third, upon touching the tail, believed that the elephant was much like a rope.

reality, none of the blind men discovered what an elephant truly looked like, because they never took the time to examine the entire animal. Each hastily arrived at a conclusion based on incomplete information, then adamantly refused to alter his opinion, despite hearing additional facts.

As a teacher in Baltimore County, there is much that I do not know about OBE. Teachers have had only one staff development day on the topic and have been told that this is the year for information, not implementation.

So far, I have discerned nothing earth-shattering, sinister or objectionable about it. I do not fear that it will jeopardize the well-being or the futures of my students or, more importantly, of my own two sons.

Rather than arriving at a blind decision that they oppose Outcome-Based Education for Baltimore County public school students, I challenge parents, elected officials and the media to first make sure they know what the whole "elephant" looks like.

Sandi Roberts

Baltimore

Alternative cinema

Patrons of the Orpheum are disappointed that The Sun failed to mention it among the list of alternatives for the Charles Theatre-goers, should the latter close down.

Located in Fells Point, above the popular coffee-house, The Daily Grind, this cozy, rear-projection brainchild of part owner/proprietor George Figgs shows the classics as well as second-runs of recent releases.

Dedicated to discriminating cineastes, the Orpheum is where the stars come out to catch a flick.

Scott Loughrey

Baltimore

Clinton will stay the course

With the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement, President Clinton has continued to define his activist role as an agent of change.

The fear that many people have of the trade agreement is rooted in the job losses of the 1980s, which were the result of the anything goes, leveraged buyout frenzy of the Reagan era.

During that era, a small number of people created immense wealth for themselves at the expense of jobs and security for the many.

There will certainly be some job losses because of NAFTA in low technology fields, but they will be more than offset by increases in high technology areas where our future as a nation lies.

As President Clinton and Mrs. Clinton have stated on numerous occasions they do not need "authorship" of their programs. If what they put forth can be improved upon, fine.

This is a new type of leadership, and the bipartisan nature of the NAFTA victory bodes well for the initiatives that surely will follow.

Several weeks ago, Sen. Bob Dole was asked on the television program "60 Minutes" if he wanted Bill Clinton to succeed. He hedged somewhat, but essentially he said he did not want him to succeed too well.

Mr. Dole has his eye on the presidency, of course, but we as a nation cannot wait three or four years to salve the egos of elected officials. The increasing waves of term-limit legislation rising from the grass roots have shown that many citizens are running out of patience with the old ways.

Too often the game of politics blinds our public servants. They forget that they are supposed to help us and work for the general good. We no longer have time for these games.

President Clinton does not have a hidden agenda. He obviously would desire a second term, but not at the expense of his vision for the future of America and the world.

Ronald Freeland

Catonsville

Improper claims to Catholic authenticity

A column by Anna Quindlen discussing 'Authentic Catholics' in The Evening Sun (Other Voices, Nov. 22) is a good example of why the U.S. bishops had to state clearly that Catholics For a Free Choice is not a Catholic organization.

Ms. Quindlen apparently has been persuaded by CFFC's claim that support for abortion is as authentically Catholic as the church's clear and constant teaching that abortion is a grave moral wrong.

She apparently is further persuaded the CFFC has as much right speak "for the church" as the nation's Catholic bishops.

For her, speaking "for the church" seems to mean reflecting current popular opinion rather than faithfully interpreting the truth found in divine revelation and a proper understanding of natural law. However, the truth is the truth, whether currently popular or not.

Happily, with regard to abortion, the bishops speak for the church in both senses. The overwhelming majority of practicing Catholics are pro-life. CFFC distorts not only Catholic teaching with its claims but also the true convictions of the parishioners who come to church week after week.

As bishop of the nation's largest diocese, as well as the chairman of the Bishops' Conference Pro-Life Activities Secretariat, I can testify to that.

I can also testify that Catholics expect their bishop to clear up the confusion created by the few Catholics who advocate abortion.

Ms. Quindlen implies that the bishops, in saying that CFFC is not an authentic Catholic organization, are treating the name "Catholic" as if it were a trademark.

Yet it is CFFC which uses "Catholic" in this way. Without it, the group would be a tiny element in the nationwide pro-abortion lobby. With it, they can attract the interest of the media and claim attention they would not otherwise get for the opinions of an organization so small that it does not even consider itself to have a membership.

What secular organization would not protest the use of its name to propagate opinions contrary to its policies?

The U.S. bishops can do no less when it comes to moral truth.

Ms. Quindlen says that the bishops use innuendo by connecting CFFC to pro-abortion organizations. This is not innuendo. Years of watching CFFC work in tandem with groups that not only support abortion but which are often quite anti-Catholic in their tone have convinced the bishops that "choice" (meaning abortion) in their title is far more their concern than "Catholic."

Lastly, Ms. Quindlen claims that conservative organizations use "Catholic" without complaint from the bishops. The groups named have not taken positions contrary to Catholic teaching. Were they to do so or were an organization to arise, for example, with the title "Catholics for White Supremacy," they, too, would be declared not authentically Catholic.

There are other points Ms. Quindlen makes that deserve either rebuttal or correction. For the sake of brevity, I have limited my comments to the main point of the column.

Cardinal Roger Mahony

Los Angeles

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