It's wrong to ask teachers to fix school shortfall
The expectation that Baltimore teachers would accept a pay cut to bail out the schools' financial mismanagement was absurd. I applaud the teachers for overwhelmingly rejecting the most recent offer ("City teachers reject pay cut," Feb. 13).
It's a miracle that anyone has the dedication and tenacity to continue to teach in this city when faced with the incredible lack of resources, recognition and administrative support that has been so pervasive. No one deserves to be treated in such a manner -- not the students and most certainly not the teachers.
And why are those who should be held accountable for the budgetary woes always protected?
The mayor's contribution was too little, too late.
Perhaps this situation will be a wake-up call for the city and state that results in true accountability in the future.
I have read the coverage of Baltimore's education woes and remain dumbfounded, not because of the possibility that people in positions of trust mismanaged money. What amazes me is the temerity of the school board in asking teachers to be punished for others' malfeasance.
Teachers take pride in what they do, in the children whose lives they touch, and the thanks they get is the suggestion that they should take a pay cut.
It seems that the old adage "no good deed goes unpunished" needs a new tag line -- especially if you teach.
Ralph Laurence Sapia
Teachers must share cost-cutting burden
What planet do these educators come from ("City teachers reject pay cut," Feb. 13)?
Those of us in private industry have taken pay cuts more than once when our companies hit hard times. We were happy to keep our jobs, work to save the company and grateful when we were repaid for the temporary sacrifice.
Believe it or not, this is standard practice in the real world.
If the Baltimore teachers had been on the Titanic, they would have refused seats in the lifeboats because they had paid for a first-class cabin.
Stuart E. Hunt
Time to raise taxes to improve schools
The children attending the Baltimore public schools will be our future nurses, teachers and dentists, and fill the countless other occupations upon which we will depend for our future well-being ("City teachers reject pay cut," Feb. 13).
To contribute to a solution to the funding crisis in the city schools, I believe that the mayor and City Council should approve an increase in the property tax rate, the governor and General Assembly should increase the sales or income tax (which would benefit all school districts in the state), and the president and Congress should raise the income tax to benefit school districts nationwide.
Our children are worth these extra efforts.
Pay cut for mayor would set example
The mayor should try leading by example ("City teachers reject pay cut," Feb. 13).
He could begin by accepting the same reduction in salary he proposes for our teachers.
Don't blame teachers for budget mess
The Sun's editorial "School alarms" (Feb. 10) was well-presented and gave an accurate description of the Baltimore public schools situation except for two words in one sentence.
The Sun wrote, "Yet teachers ask, with some justification, why they must shoulder so much of it [the solution to the schools' financial woes] when they were barely responsible for the mismanagement that caused the deficit, and that kept it hidden for so long."
To accurately describe the situation, The Sun should have left out "some" and replaced "barely" with "not."
Teachers, students and parents should not be made to bear the burden for the mistakes of others.
Governor should keep his promise
Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. just doesn't get it. The governor claimed to be a pro-education candidate to get elected and the majority of Marylanders bought his dog-and-pony act. But now he and his spokeswoman dismiss a huge rally of 6,000 teachers, parents, students and others with the snide remark that "If this is a rally that supports K-12 education, then this is a slots rally" ("6,000 attend schools rally," Feb. 10).
Mr. Ehrlich ignores the resounding voice of thousands of concerned citizens of this state and ties education to gambling. If he had bothered to listen to the many speakers at the rally, he would have heard a demand to fully fund the Bridge to Excellence Act. This was a campaign promise from the governor that he is threatening to break.
Mr. Ehrlich also said he would ask the state schools superintendent to investigate the propriety of granting service credit to students for attending the rally.
If the governor would stand by his promise to the public school students, teachers and parents of this state, there would have been no need for a rally and he would not have to dodge the issue with such ridiculous comments.
Undermining right to confront accusers
Some of the governor's ideas on the subject of witness intimidation are quite laudable ("Ehrlich targets witness threats," Feb. 9). However, one particular idea is problematic -- and that is the idea of witness statements being allowed in court without the witnesses being present.
The problem with this idea is that it's a violation of the 6th Amendment to the Constitution, which states that every citizen has the right "to be confronted with the witnesses against him."
The reasons for this are to allow the defendant the right to cross-examine the witnesses, if so desired. This can't be done, if the witness doesn't appear in court. Therefore, another plan must be adopted to ensure witness protection.
Enhancing environs of the Hippodrome
Two unsung heroes in the Hippodrome Theater story are former state Sen. Barbara Hoffman and Preservation Maryland ("Optimism the rule for new west side," Feb. 11).
As critical state funding for the Hippodrome was sought during the 1999 legislative session, Ms. Hoffman and Preservation Maryland were successful in adding a condition to the funding legislation that led to the preservation of dozens of nearby historic properties originally slated for demolition by the city.
The resulting preservation agreement between the city and state set the stage for a dynamic downtown neighborhood that successfully blends preservation and new construction for generations of theatergoers to enjoy.
Alfred W. Barry III