New contract or Amprey is applaudedThis is...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

New contract or Amprey is applauded

This is a time of stress in public education in Baltimore. Limited resources make it impossible to compensate teachers fairly.

Needed change is affecting many people. Such times increase the importance of stability of leadership.

"The Lessons of Change," a contemporary history of the city schools written by The Evening Sun's Mike Bowler and published by the Fund for Educational Excellence, makes clear that the school's lack of progress in recent decades is partly attributed to a constant turnover in leadership.

Consistent direction is itself a key strategy to improve student achievement.

For this reason, and because Superintendent Walter Amprey is providing strong leadership, I applaud his new contract.

It assures his remaining in Baltimore four more years, and it reinforces his leadership by reflecting a vote of confidence by the Board of School Commissioners and the mayor.

Jerry Baum

Baltimore

The writer is executive director of the Fund for Educational Excellence.

Confusing views

It's confusing that your editors don't think congressional term limits are fair to the good members of Congress and yet they have supported the idea of "universal" health coverage for America.

Many of us don't think it is fair to force our health industry to be dependent on the federal government.

Perhaps the public would be more responsive to Congress' efforts if the good members had been more responsive to our requests for reforms in their work place. Instead, we have a Congress that is playing politics with our health care.

Members of Congress make deals with each other, bully moderates from each side and play lobbyist-of-the-month in terms of who will be included in the new health system. Heaven help us; the First Lady has even become a lobbyist.

Just as the president wants to level the playing field on health care, term limits will even the playing field on elections.

Wilson Thomas

Baltimore

Copycats

Oh boy, they're at it again, the armchair, ivory-tower university educators who copycat the latest innovations from California.

Only this time the local know-it-alls are from Johns Hopkins University.

Hopkins? Come on. That's no bastion of educational ideas. Engineering and medicine, yes, but not education.

Leave that to Towson State University, where outstanding educators have evolved for years.

I am, however, stymied as to why TSU education dean Dennis Hinkle is embracing this very costly, repetitive, not really new idea of doing away with the education degree, making all candidates major in liberal arts and then requiring them to spend a year training in public schools "where they'll work with real kids and real teachers."

That's what Hopkins professor Ralph Fessler says. What does ** he think candidates have been working with throughout the years?

Leaders in higher education are often naive. Do they think the state for one minute is going to embrace the cost of this extended program? That's 20 training sites at $200,000 each plus $12,000 per teacher intern for the year of training. Ridiculous.

Let the local universities develop their own programs -- much less costly -- and step forward with their own knowledge, on their merits, not something borrowed from California.

And let them do it without input from a 21-member task force headed by a Hopkins teacher and backed by state superintendent Nancy Grasmick, who already shot herself in the foot by backing the Maryland State Performance Assessment Program.

The public can't stand any more of these radical changes in education, at any level.

David Boyd

White Hall

The writer is professor emeritus of education, Towson State University.

Only the truth

From George Washington to George Bush our presidents have had to deal with criticism from those who happen to disapprove the way that they are handling the affairs of our nation.

Unfortunately, President Clinton cannot handle the criticism against him by conservatives such as Rush Limbaugh and Jerry Falwell.

As a conservative Roman Catholic, I was offended by Mr. Clinton's recent comments concerning the so-called religious right. He went as far as to compare Mr. Falwell to the money changers in the temple.

All Mr. Falwell, Mr. Limbaugh and other conservatives demand is the truth. We got the truth in the Watergate trials, the Iran-contra investigations, and the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings.

Meanwhile, President Clinton continues to delay any hearings pertaining to his involvement in Whitewater and the alleged sexual harassment accusations by Paula Jones.

If he is innocent, why doesn't he deal with these charges now? Instead he shamelessly solicits private contributions to pay off his mounting legal fees.

Patrick X. Cocker

Baltimore

Killing lobsters

In response to the AP article "Today in hot water after lobster episode" (June 13): It may be true that more tact should have been used in the cooking demonstration, but who buys dead lobsters and brings them home to cook? How are they killed in the home?

In my opinion too many groups are fighting for too many of the wrong reasons, and we are beginning to be legislated out of most of our basic freedoms.

What is going to be the next "great cause"? Do plants feel pain when their fruits are harvested? Can we humanely harvest fruits and grains without causing the plants pain?

Apparently we will be forced to survive on polluted air and water in the future on a planet infested with all sorts of insects and vermin because we don't want to rid ourselves of the latter pests because we can't do it humanely.

I wonder how many of the "do gooders" have ever left the city and spent even a brief moment on the farm, let alone "lived" on one.

Kent A. Klewer

Bear, Del.

Agenda needed

There is a pressing need for a City Charter amendment requiring that all matters coming before boards, commissions and the Board of Estimates be submitted in an advanced agenda.

The vote on School Superintendent Walter Amprey's new salary contract, as well as the one on the Jacqueline McLean property lease, are examples of recent vintage.

These "walk-ons" are made to look like emergencies, which most of the time they are not. They are designed to come in at the last minute to avoid research and public discussion in advance of official voting.

Unless a matter is vital to public heath and safety requiring immediate attention, there is no reason why it cannot follow normal routines and regular time schedules.

Otherwise, there is too much opportunity for bureaucratic mischief.

Richard L. Lelonek

Baltimore

Change the rules

The case of O. J. Simpson and the jurisprudence system habecome yet another kind of sporting event. It is a contest of wits.

Unlike the contest in the athletic arena, where the players' physical prowess determines the winner, in the courtroom it is surrogates representing the player who deftly and craftily strive to determine the outcome.

It's a game for the pros. The rules are stringent and the stakes are high, all in the name of serving justice.

But is justice really being served when incriminating evidence deemed incorrectly gathered is considered the apple of the poisoned tree, and therefore, inadmissible?

To satisfy a higher good, maybe we ought to change some rules of the game.

Ellie Fier

Baltimore

The solution

Your story re public urination in Fells Point elicits the obvious question: Why make criminals out of beer drinkers for want of a few public pissoirs?

Ray Hamby

Baltimore

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