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Officials responsible for schools' failureLast year, "The...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Officials responsible for schools' failure

Last year, "The City That Reads" once again failed every area of measurement, except Promotion Rate, reported in the 1995 edition of the Maryland School Performance Report.

While Baltimore City students have made minor improvements when compared to the results reported in the 1994 edition of the report, they remain in last place by a wide margin statewide.

This situation is as unacceptable to the citizens of Maryland as it is to the parents of the students attending Baltimore City public schools.

Baltimore City students deserve better than to suffer under the ineptitude of ineffective educational leadership (35 schools in Baltimore City have been identified for restructuring because of poor performance).

The shameful performance of Superintendent Walter Amprey and Mayor Kurt Schmoke in effecting significant improvement in student test scores has cast a blight upon the entire public education system in Maryland.

Moreover, the poor performance of Superintendent Amprey and Mayor Schmoke has jeopardized the future of each and every child attending Baltimore City schools. The public trust bestowed upon the superintendent and the mayor by the citizens of Baltimore City has been violated; they should be ashamed of themselves.

Furthermore, if the superintendent and the mayor have nothing to offer but excuses and more of the same, they should seriously consider resigning their respective positions.

Kudos to Del. Howard P. Rawlings, chairman of the House appropriations committee, for introducing legislation to deny the city $6 million in school funds for failing to enact reforms quickly enough.

It is time for the education community (students, parents, teachers, administrators, boards of education and legislators) to demand better leadership from each and every appointed and elected official responsible for our youth's education.

To accept anything less is to imperil the heritage we bequeath to our children.

C. Scott Stone

Hampstead

The writer is vice president of the Carroll County Board of Education.

Mount Royal does it better

I read with great interest the reports about the academic performance of Mount Royal Elementary/Middle School as compared to other Baltimore public schools.

Mount Royal had performed at a conspicuously higher level than all other schools and I was disappointed by the apparent lack of interest or comment on Mount Royal's remarkable progress.

My daughter attended Mount Royal for eight years and I had the pleasure of getting to know Frank Whorley, its principal. I believe the role of the principal in bringing together all of the available resources is the most important factor in a school's performance.

From my perspective, Mr. Whorley is personally committed to the school, its staff and students and possesses a clear understanding of what he wants to accomplish and how to go about it.

Moreover, through his innovation and tenacity he instituted enrichment programs such as the Mount Royal String Orchestra, which has met with great success.

Congratulations to Mr. Whorley and the entire staff and student body of Mount Royal for their hard work and achievement.

Buzz Cusack

Baltimore

Patient privacy won't be protected

Ernest B. Crofoot and Don Hillier misinformed readers in their Jan. 29 letter to the editor.

The Maryland Medical Care Data Base does not "guarantee total confidentiality" for the patient. It collects information that gives two keys to the patient's identity along with confidential medical diagnoses and procedures. Experts have advised the state that to guarantee confidentiality would require measures comparable to those used for national security and constant updates as technology advances. Clearly, Maryland can not afford this. Contrary to their claims, there have been serious breaches of privacy in other Maryland data bases.

The data base does not contain the information needed to give the answers Mr. Crofoot and Mr. Hillier seek. One example of the missing information is treatment outcomes. Fees, by the way, are no mystery. A phone call to any health care provider will yield the answer.

Most offensive is their assertion that "good providers should welcome this information." The American Medical Association code of ethics for physicians requires confidentiality of all patient information and requires patient permission before any information is disclosed.

This law completely disregards the physician's ethical obligations. Ethical providers are justifiably appalled that such data can be required without consent.

This assault on the privacy rights of each and every Marylander should not continue.

DTC Paul A. McClelland, M.D.

Baltimore

The writer is president of the Maryland Psychiatric Society.

Clearing snow from Confederate statue

Regarding Jon K. Ayscue's letter Jan. 27 on the removal of snow from the Confederate Monument (the word Confederate seems to cause a trauma for some):

An event takes place each January to remember two notable generals, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. A large crowd always attends. This year, at least 500 people were present, and the event was covered by television.

The diligent diggers (as Mr. Ayscue called them) were men and women from a number of Confederate organizations, who helped to clear the monument area. They spent the day doing so, even providing snow blowers.

They were carefully assisted by those splendid and untiring workers from our city, to whom we all owe a mountain of thanks.

Considering the appalling amount of snow to be removed all over this city, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke should not be criticized for the efforts that were made for all of us.

Virginia H. S. Hoffmaster

Baltimore

Ending parole does deter crime

While Gov. Parris Glendening created a 33-member Commission on Criminal Sentencing Reform to talk for one year about ways to deal with a predicted crime rise so he won't have to spend money to build prisons, Virginia's Gov. George F. Allen in 1995 abolished parole.

Previously, at a crime forum, Governor Allen's critics predicted it would have no effect on crime.

Del. James Schuler: "The elimination of parole has not proven to be an effective means of dealing with the criminal element."

James Austin, president of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency: "What we know is that sentencing reform has very little to do with controlling crime."

House Speaker Tom Moss: "It will have no effect on violent crime rates until the next century."

Wrong.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch, Jan. 30: "Homicide rate fell 25 percent; burglaries declined 14 percent; motor vehicle thefts fell 10 percent; robberies fell 6 percent . . . The scoffing softies were wrong -- and Allen was right."

Frank A. Sume

Baltimore

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