Staff days make school year too shortIn her article on the...

The Forum

September 21, 1990

Staff days make school year too short

In her article on the importance of staff development activities for teachers ("Let's help the teachers," Other Voices, Sept. 14), Jo Ann Robinson said I was wrong to suggest that the so-called "re-scheduled days" be eliminated from the Baltimore city school calendar.

But these days, which are ostensibly used to help upgrade teachers' skills, are described by Ms. Robinson herself as largely wasted, sporadic and fragmented. Thus, it is hard to understand why she so ardently defends them, especially when they rob students of valuable class time.

It is my position that the rescheduled days, along with a hodgepodge of other unrelated cancelations, take significant chunks out of the 180-day school year. Ms. Robinson dismisses this concern as misguided, insisting that the issue is not about some abstract percentage of time. But I can assure her that when students lose anywhere from 10 percent to 20 percent of their classes, the losses are hardly abstract.

There is no question that staff development activities are important and need improvement. Just don't take away my child's class time to do it.

Howard Bluth

Baltimore

Women's health

In spite of two deficits, one in the federal budget and the other in males' life expectancy compared to females', Barbara Mikulski proposes to increase federal spending to fund women's health studies.

And they call my beer drinking a sin!

Dave Reich

Fallston

Tears and laughter

Three articles in The Evening Sun of Sept. 17 move me to write. The first is Mike Royko's hilarious article on the "Prix Fixe" dinner. My husband read it to me at lunch and we laughed so hard there were tears in our eyes. I immediately got on the phone with my two sisters so my husband could read it to them.

The second article was A. M. Rosenthal's "Forgive them not, for they know." I am not Jewish, but all stories concerning anti-Semitism make me angry. I just can't imagine how people can be so cruel and inhuman. Pat Buchanan has always made my skin crawl, and it is a shame other people listen to him. I am proud of the little country of Israel and am glad it is an ally!

The third article by Jane M. Earhart about reading warmed my heart. I too have found my spirits lifted by reading. When life becomes dull or lonely, I can always lose myself in a good book or newspaper.

L Thanks again for the laugh, the cry and the shared feelings.

Joan R. Beard

Baltimore

Talk to me

Why did perhaps half the voters not show up for the primary? And why did so many who did vote "single shoot" for just one candidate? Because we're mad as hell at being ignored, that's why!

I have lived in the same house in northeast Baltimore for 35 years. In all that time only two candidates or their representatives have ever written or called meet me individually or in a group to discuss my needs. This is infuriating. I am not going to vote for someone whom I don't know.

I read the papers and watch T.V. But they are not enough to tell me if a candidate is a crook or a crock. I won't know whether he or she is liberal, moderate or conservative on the issues I'm interested in. I need personal contact.

I have a family, a church affiliation, memberships in various groups. I've lived in Baltimore all my life. I think I have some influence. But almost all politicians have ignored me. And now my feeling is, "the same to you."

Politicians, if you want to do something to get my vote: Talk to me.

ohn J. McQuade

Baltimore

A modest proposal

Voter turnout for the primary election was even lower than anticipated -- indicative of the public's lack of faith in our politicians. People aren't voting because they feel the politicians do not, and will not, represent their best interests. Put simply, our elected representatives have lost touch with the people.

I propose a change in our electoral system. There should be added a third choice for all elected positions, from governor down to party clerk. It would be "none of the above." If "none of the above" won a majority of the vote, then a second election would be held, with one caveat: Those candidates who lost to "none of the above" would not be allowed to run again.

This way, the mandate of the public would be insured and a greater number of voters would make the effort to vote.

Donald Howard

Baltimore

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