Dr. Walter G. Amprey made his first major public address last night since being named superintendent of Baltimore public schools, telling an audience at the NAACP's annual Unity Banquet that students will do better once the schools improve.
"We don't cause learning to take place, it's a natural phenomenon that is God-given," Dr. Amprey said at a $100-a-plate Convention Center fund-raiser for the civil rights group.
"All people learn. But we must put it into some kind of order that leads to a happy, fulfilled . . . contributing life, [one] that leads to a city that is vibrant. We have to create climates that are vibrant and conducive to learning . . . a climate that is fertile and has youngsters comfortable with themselves.
"When people feel good about themselves, when they are in touch with themselves . . . when they are OK, everything else will be OK," he told the large audience at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People affair.
Dr. Amprey, 46, who left his job as associate school superintendent in Baltimore County to assume leadership of the school system that educated him, said that the large school bureaucracy on North Avenue must be "better managed and user-friendly," and that, in the face of shrinking city budgets, "we have to learn to make chicken salad out of chicken feathers."
Also, he said, one of the facts of modern life that must be faced for education to be successful is a total revamping of vocational schools to meet the needs of a high-tech society.