Students' WorkEditor: A recent article by Kathy Lally...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

November 16, 1990

Students' Work

Editor: A recent article by Kathy Lally implied that parents should be involved with their children's homework. It is natural for parents to see that their children get their work done and to acknowledge that there will be ongoing battles. However, one really cannot make a child do homework, one can only make a child accountable for having the work done.

In the best of all worlds, homework, beginning even at the most elementary level, is a responsibility that the child develops to the school independent of the parents. What a child needs from the parent, and the parent needs from the teacher, is an understanding of how much time a project should take. The parent needs to set aside space where a child may work independently and also limit the amount of time spent on homework. Work that is dawdled over does not promote the kinds of habits that will help a student learn.

In the ideal situation, the child submits work to a teacher, who sees that it is checked. The child then learns what needs to be learned. When the child has not completed the work or has made errors, time should be set aside by the teacher for the student to complete the work. If children are made responsible for completing their work, then the teacher doesn't have to hear about an aunt who was sick or how the family had to go out. The child needs to complete work whether or not there were intrusions in the home. This removes the parent from the situation.

Parents are brought into homework as if they were the ones who had learned how to teach. As a rule, parents do not possess the skills or the understanding of current methods that a particular teacher is using. It is fine for parents to be involved in spelling if the child so chooses, but for parents to include themselves is only a part of a battle that has never been won in the past nor will be won in the future.

The best students learn to work independently and are directly responsible to the teacher for their consequences.

Dorothy Siegel.

Towson.

Give a Chance

Editor: I would like to express my thanks to every voter who got involved in the election process this past general election. Even though the turnout at the Catonsville Middle School was not 100 percent, it still made my time as a poll captain worth the many hours that were devoted to the election process. It was gratifying to see the turnout which proved conclusively that the American voter can make a difference in the operation of our government.

Not getting involved only sends the wrong message to the do-nothing incumbents, to continue on with the ''business as usual'' attitude, making no attempt to change the way ''business'' is done.

It is now the responsibility of the ''new kid on the block'' to make good his campaign statements. We, taxpayers, breadwinners and voters will be watching with a very sharp eye, to see how he, Roger Hayden, our new Baltimore County executive, conducts himself.

This past election proved that we voters and taxpayers wield a pretty hefty club and are not afraid to knock incompetent, do-nothing, free spending, elected leaders right out on their ear, or other portions of their anatomy.

Voters, remember one important fact before we kick and scream about our newly elected officials. Give them a fair chance to perform. If their efforts fall short of our expectations, then, give 'em the hook!

John F. Thomas.

Catonsville.

Saving Lives

Editor: Clearly the great threat to peace in the Persian Gulf is now the contest of wills between George Bush and Saddam Hussein. Both men are locked in eyeball-to-eyeball conflict and the question is, ''Who will blink first?''

There is little doubt that President Hussein grossly miscalculated world opinion and especially the opinion of the Arab world by invading Kuwait. Now he is caught in a dilemma with no honorable escape.

President Bush, ever the crafty politician, has seized the opportunity to enhance his ratings with the American populace by playing the role of ''leader of the free world.'' This arrogant title, assumed by most recent American presidents, is anathema to the rest of the world, even to our staunch allies. Only Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher seems comfortable with it. Actually, it flies in the face of one of our most cherished American traditions -- that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. The ''free world'' has not elected Mr. Bush to act for them.

Why can't our government join the world community of nations as an equal partner instead of a presumed superior authority? Let the United Nations take charge of this situation now. We have nothing to lose by such a sensible move and very well may save the lives of some fine, brave young men and women.

Earl L. Hagan.

Randallstown.

Bad Times and Charitable Giving

Editor: The Sun's business pages recently noted the collapsing share prices of major companies in the Maryland area.

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