Statistics misrepresent NorthwesternAs principal of...

the Forum

March 04, 1991

Statistics misrepresent Northwestern

As principal of Northwestern High School, I feel compelled to respond to Wiley Hall's column (Evening Sun, Feb. 26). In the column, Mr. Hall refers to an anonymous letter written by an alleged educator criticizing my personal style of dress, the decor of my office and, most important, the performance of my students.

The statistics he alludes to are misleading. Those statistics refer to the performance of ninth graders who have only been in the school approximately one-half of the year before taking the standardized tests. Most of those ninth graders came to Northwestern two or three years below grade level, and the staff had less than a year to work with them before the tests were administered.

To set the record straight, I would like to provide accurate test data: Among ninth graders, 85.1 percent passed the Maryland functional reading test, 39.1 percent passed the math test, 70 percent passed the state citizenship test and 57 percent passed the Maryland writing test.

In order to get a true picture of the performance of Northwestern students, one must examine the test scores of students at all grade levels. In all four grades, 93.3 percent passed the reading test, 64.9 percent passed the math test, 84.5 percent passed the citizenship skills test and 75 percent passed the writing test.

With regard to attendance, Baltimore city's average daily attendance for secondary schools was 79 percent compared to 74 percent for Northwestern.

It is rather disturbing and unfair to judge a school on data that are incomplete, less than accurate and interpreted out of context.

I would be the last person to state or try to give the impression that Northwestern has achieved excellence; however, it is unfair to create the perception that Northwestern is a terrible school. Ranked with other high schools in the city, including citywide high schools, Northwestern falls in the middle range. We are holding our own. Let me hasten to add, however, that holding our own is not good enough to meet the standards set by the Maryland State Department of Education.

I pray that in the future any attempts made to discredit me will not be made at the expense of the faculty, students and parents of Northwestern High School.

oyse F. Mosley

Baltimore

Chisolm's insight

I have occasion to be in Baltimore with some regularity, and The Evening Sun is a welcome companion. On two recent visits I was struck with the subjects Elise Chisolm chose as topics for her columns. Both are too often uncomfortable for open discussion. One is prayer (too personal); the other is animal research (too controversial and emotional). In each column she presented an intimate, personal experience. Yet I easily identified with each. I applaud her for reminding us that God belongs to all, no matter which side we find ourselves on.

The well-defined examples of the results of animal research that have given prolonged life to her husband give much credence to our scientists. Were it not for years of research, many children would continue to be taken from us with infantile paralysis and serious childhood diseases. I am a devoted dog owner and have been for more than 40 years. I love my present pet dearly, but he is an animal and cannot be compared with a human. The families of all victims of illnesses who continue to live are grateful because treatments and medications tested on animals have relieved and/or cured their illnesses and life-threatening diseases.

Many thanks, Ms. Chisolm, for the thoughtful commentary of these two subjects.

Margaret Herring

Washington

Bully on the block

Has the United States replaced the Soviet Union as the bully on the block? As you know, a bully always chooses an opponent that he is absolutely sure he can defeat.

In the case of Panama, Bush's excuse was that Noriega was pushing drugs. The real reason Bush crushed Iraq was that Iraqis opposed the International Monetary Fund conditions placed on their country.

Cornelius U. Morgan

Baltimore

Mencken's legacy

After the release of yet another posthumous volume, H. L. Mencken is again being criticized as an egotistical "self-promoter" by columnist Dan Rodricks. I beg to differ.

"The Sage of Baltimore" published a prolific amount of literature publicizing his home town. Only William Donald Schaefer approached Mencken's efforts in promoting Baltimore on a world-wide scale. If there is a final posthumous volume secluded somewhere, Mencken would have arranged its release in the Mencken Room of the central library on 2 p.m. Sept. 12, 2080 ` his bicentennial birthday.

Not being a literary luminary, Schaefer is ineligible for an honorary room at the Enoch Pratt. The Maryland legislature should pass a bill to erect a William Donald Schaefer Library in Harborplace to perpetuate the memory of its most famous politician.

Joseph Saffron

Baltimore

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.