Schaefer popularity down in new poll
Gov. William Donald Schaefer's popularity has plummeted, according to a new poll taken by Mason Dixon Opinion Research Inc..
The poll, taken Friday through Sunday, showed that only 35 percent of Marylanders think Schaefer is doing an excellent or good job, while 62 percent rate his performance as poor or fair.
Just 15 months ago, 68 percent gave him a favorable rating and 29 percent unfavorable.
FORCED SCHOOL START
A bill to require 5-year-olds to attend kindergarten in Maryland won tentative Senate approval yesterday after a spirited debate over the right of parents to control the education of their children.
The Schaefer administration proposed the mandatory kindergarten bill in an effort to ensure that all children enter the first grade with at least a rudimentary knowledge of reading and writing.
School districts are required to offer kindergarten, but attendance is left to the discretion of parents until a child reaches age 6. Currently about 5 percent of all 5-year-olds are not enrolled in kindergarten or some equivalent educational program.
Several senators questioned whether it was proper for the state to require kindergarten attendance over the objections of parents.
Sen. John A. Cade, R-Anne Arundel, offered an amendment that would allow parents who think a 5-year-old child is too immature for school to be excused, but it was defeated 12-33.
Cade said educators do not agree on the proper age to enter children in school. He also said there is clear evidence that boys mature slower than girls and many boys would be better off staying at home another year.
A final Senate vote on the bill is expected later this week. If the House goes along, the measure wil take effect in the fall of 1992.
Veteran Baltimore Del. R. Charles Avara is recuperating from brain surgery at the University of Maryland Hospital and hopes to return to the General Assembly before it adjourns for the year on April 9, an aide to the lawmaker said.
Avara, a 59-year-old Democrat, has represented Baltimore's 47th district since 1967.
Doctors discovered a non-cancerous brain tumor in Avara shortly after the start of the General Assembly session in January. Avara underwent 14 hours of surgery on Tuesday. Doctors have requested no calls or visits by well-wishers.
Del. Martha S. Klima, R-Balto. Co., plans to amend her parental-rights bill so that physicians need only notify parents of their children's treatment for problems such as substance abuse, pregnancy or venereal disease.
As originally drafted, the bill would have required parental consent for such treatment. The amendment would enable physicians to treat the children before they notified parents.
Klima's amendment follows a Tuesday hearing on the bill in which pediatricians and counselors said that some teen-agers would not seek treatment for such problems if they had to tell their parents about it.