Dr. Amprey hides failures of EAI experimentI...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Dr. Amprey hides failures of EAI experiment

I attended the City Council hearing on Tesseract on Dec. 7 planning to present testimony concerning my opposition to the program.

However, as I listened to the gentleman from Education Alternatives Inc., the group which runs the Tesseract program in Baltimore City schools, my position changed from dislike to vehement opposition.

Businessmen who come to a hearing or presentation without anything to back up their alleged facts and figures are sloppy. Is this how they run Tesseract?

I sat through three hours of presentations by EAI and School Superintendent Walter Amprey, including a long video that most of the audience couldn't even see.

In the video, students at Tesseract schools were shown singing, smiling and glowing. But enter a classroom at a non-Tesseract school during American Education Week and you will often see the very same scenario.

Tesseract supporters were bused to City Hall to give testimony. Where were these same parents when PTA meetings were held? Did any of them ever offer to volunteer at school before Tesseract?

The sad state of Baltimore's educational system not only hurts parents and children but helps keep the crime rate up and discourages business from locating here (the quality of the local education system is a major factor in business location decisions).

This in turn reduces tax revenues, which makes it harder to provide a quality education. The result is a downward spiral of failure.

Many of us hoped this program had promise and that the current superintendent could get his act together and control the bloated bureaucracy on North Avenue.

But any hopes I had on that score were --ed at a meeting on privatization at Walbrook High School several weeks ago. The Dec. 7 hearing was the icing on the cake.

The latest outrage is the change of the "control schools" used to evaluate EAI's success. Is this because some of these "controls" are better than the Tesseract schools themselves?

Apparently the "controls" were changed because they showed improvement that was not present in the EAI schools.

You don't need a doctorate in quality control to know that this is fudging the results.

Moreover, the record-keeping of EAI and North Avenue is so bad that they are in contempt of court with regard to programs for the disabled.

Record-keeping for the non-disabled is no better, and probably worse.

Even their ability to issue accurate report cards on a regular basis is problematic.

The performance of city students is so bad that grades have been inflated quietly to conceal it.

Retroactive to the beginning of the school year, the passing grade has been reduced to 60 percent; previously it had been 70 percent. In effect, we have "dumbed down" the entire system.

Michele Rosenberg

Baltimore

Drug tests

Although now well documented in the medical literature, the fact that the ingestion of products containing poppy seeds -- whether raw, in cakes, cookies, paste or on rolls or bagels -- may produce urines which test positive for morphine and codeine is generally unappreciated by the medical and lay public.

Personal knowledge of two such instances, one in Maine and one in Maryland, each of which had an unfortunate consequence, indicates that all in the workplace or armed forces, who may be requested to submit to such a test, should be aware of this occurrence.

A report with full documentation about pertinent chemical observations has been made in the December issue of the Maryland Medical Journal.

The Oriental poppy is a native of Europe, Eastern Asia and North America. The milky juice obtained from its unripe seed capsule is the main source of crude opium, from which morphine, codeine and papaverine are obtained.

Until recently, the seeds have been thought to be free of opiates, but current investigations have demonstrated their presence.

This evidence was instrumental in having the detection level of codeine and morphine in urine tests raised to preclude the possibility of a "false" positive report from poppy seed ingestion being made.

People being considered for sensitive business positions or those connected with the Department of Defense may be requested to submit to an opiate urine test.

If bakery products containing poppy seeds have been ingested within a day, a positive report may result.

In fairness to the individual concerned, extreme caution must be exercised by supervisory individuals in the interpretation of such laboratory results. The possibility of legal action may be great in such instances.

!Joseph M. Miller, M.D.

Timonium

Not the economy?

I believe it was James Carville who came up with the slogan, "It's the economy, stupid" during the 1992 presidential campaign.

Since the historic, landslide, watershed Republican victory Nov. 8, I am totally confused.

With the economy booming, how in heaven's name did the Democrats get so blown away last month? I suppose the Dems will have to come up with a new slogan.

My question to Mr. Carville is, "Is it still the economy, stupid?"

I think not. Look up the word character in the dictionary.

Robert E. Corbett

Cockeysville

Abortion politics

Ann Lolordo's article on abortions ("Who will do abortions? Skills dwindle amid debate," Dec. 4) added a new perspective to a volatile issue that ultimately could diminish vital health services for women as the number of physicians who are trained to perform abortions decreases. With fewer services available, more women will die.

There can never be a satisfactory compromise between those who believe in the "right to life" and those who believe in the "right to choose."

Therefore, it is time to take the abortion issue out of the political arena. Even though I am personally opposed to abortion, I don't feel I have the right to impose my principles on anyone else. I believe that any decision concerning abortion should be decided by the woman who is pregnant, the male responsible for that condition and a qualified physician. I would also include a member of the clergy if those involved desired religious counseling.

The government should have no right to interfere in this very personal and highly emotional business.

Wm. G. Huppert

Perry Hall

WWII stamp

Once again our leadership has bowed to pressure from another country, this time regarding the proposed postage stamp that shows the atomic bomb explosion over Hiroshima during the Second World War.

There always seem to be concerns of sensitivity regarding the Japanese whenever the bomb is mentioned. It should be remembered that these "sensitive" people are the same ones who perpetrated the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. They also carried out the infamous Bataan death march.

I feel the stamp was appropriate to remind these "sensitive" people of the terrible hardships they caused Americans on Dec. 7, 1941, and on many other occasions during the war in places like Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Iwo Jima, Guam and Okinawa.

John J. Francis Jr.

Catonsville

Late mail

For the last six months or so, our mail has been arriving between 5 and 6:30 p.m.

One night, it arrived so late my husband draped our mail box in a black cloth and turned on our driveway lights.

I have arrived at a solution for early mail arrival: I wait until the next morning, then get the mail as early as I want, just another day late.

And the rate goes to $.32 in January.

Lona Petri

Kingsville

Rule breaker

For better or worse, Jerry Rubin was a leader of sorts, even if just for those who plugged into his philosophy, religion, social agenda or whatever it was that he espoused.

I wonder how many of those who looked up to him asked themselves if it was not ironic that his own self-appointed standards took precedence over the laws of society he disdained, and that the very least of these, jaywalking, whimpered its rebuttal and crushed his body in consequence.

Tom Hayden apparently quipped of Mr. Rubin that "up to the end, he was defying authority."

Though Mr. Rubin has forfeited his opportunity to learn from this bump with the law, perhaps I can.

Even when I am not pressed with conviction to do so, I should still choose to love my wife, care for the widows, provoke not my children to anger, covet not my neighbors' assets, love my God with all my heart, soul and might, and -- not least of all -- abide by the 55 mph speed limit on Maryland interstates.

Stephen Held

Hoffmanville

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