From: John A. Agro Jr.
Md. Transportation Authority
I would like to take this opportunity to say "thank you" to the hundreds of motorists who contributed toys to the Maryland Transportation Authority's Toll Facilities Police Toys for Tots campaign which took place Dec. 3-5. More than 3,800 new toys were left at our toll plaza and turned over to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve for distribution to the area's needy children.
This is the first year our toll facilities police participated in the Toys for Tots campaign, and I would also like to commend them for their volunteer spirit and hard work which led to a very successful drive.
It is difficult for most of us to imagine that there are many youngsters who receive no Christmas presents. But thanks to the generosity and true holiday spirit of hundreds of our toll facility patrons, that will not be the case this year for thousands of area children.
Thanks to all that contributed!
ANTI-DRUG EFFORTS GET COMMENDATION
From: Melvin A. Steinberg
Governor's Drug and Alcohol Abuse Commission
The residents of Harford County are to be commended for their outstanding efforts to reduce substance abuse in their communities.
As chairman of the a Governor's Drug and Alcohol Abuse Commission, I recently had the opportunity to spend an entire day in the county with other commission representatives and to see first-hand the wide variety of programs designed to address this problem.
During our visit we heard about several innovative anti-substance abuse initiatives.
Representatives from the Drug/Alcohol Impact Program presented the results of a survey which measured current substance abuse-related attitudes and program suggestions from nearly 1,000 residents. Such information is valuable in developing programs which meet the needs of Harford County residents.
Changing attitudes regarding the acceptability of substance abuse is one of our most challenging tasks. Harford County's Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization has done an excellent job of increasing the public's awareness of many issues surrounding this dilemma.
Our visit to the Marty Mann House illustrated the positive results of treatment programs tailored to meet the needs of women.
Reducing substance abuse in our communities requires involvement and committment from everone--state and local governtments working together with businesses, parents, youth educators and the media. In Harford County, such involvement and commitment are apparent today, and if maintained, could spell success in our continuing effort to confront the problem of substance abuse.
AS TEACHERS DEVALUE TESTS, STATE ADDS ONE
From: Ray Hofmann
A recent Gallup survey of 231 semifinalists in the "thanks to teacher" competition asked what was essential to achieving the goals that President Bush has established.
The teachers identified higher parental or societal expectations and more school-community partnership as most essential for achieving the president's goals. Identified as least essential was more testing.
So what has Maryland Superintendent (Joseph L.) Shilling decided to do?
Introduce the Maryland School Performance Testing and data gathering program on top of the Maryland Functional Testing Program that was established by Dr. (David W.) Hornbeck, who was the previous superintendent. It appears that the only thing the growing educational bureaucracy knows how to do is test -- they do not know how to help deal with educational problems.
An increasing amount of tax money is being spent to evaluate student performance, and students are spending an increasing amount of time being tested rather than learning. Local school systems are spending more time preparing students for the tests as opposed to teaching the established curriculum. The growing testing mania must come to an end if real learning in school is to happen. With the limited availability of funds, it is more prudent to direct those funds to learning rather than more testing.