Parents' Responsibility for Education
There is no doubt about it, the city school system is in bad shape. But it angers me to read a quote from the mother of a first-grade student, "She doesn't know her colors, she doesn't know her alphabet. . ."
Aren't these the things a child should learn from mother and family, even Big Bird?
The school system will never succeed as long as parents believe that learning and discipline begin with school.
Three cheers for parents like the Wilsons, who take an active part in their son's learning activities.
The Sun has printed several articles about incompetent teachers in the Baltimore City public schools. However, there are incompetent principals who seem to escape media attention.
It seems that principals would rather focus on teachers than on themselves, because we teachers are the most vulnerable. Many principals seem to forget that they were once teachers.
This year, I was placed in a situation of teaching under an incompetent administrator at Carver Vocational-Technical Senior High School. I was the victim of an administrator who could not make decisions, who constantly apologized for lack of courage and who constantly lied to protect his ineffectiveness.
I saw this man yell and use profanity at students to make them goto class. He treated his friends on staff better than other teachers who were merely associates. He often caused conflicts between teachers and other administrators. He even defended an assistant principal when he knew that she was clearly wrong. Moreover, teachers were not allowed to have input in how the money was to be spent that they helped raise for the school.
I saw teacher morale drop, including my own. I personally felt a sense of hopelessness. Moreover, the students were victimized by the situation, because they saw the frustrations of the teachers who taught them. Many of the students actually felt sympathy for us, which was often expressed.
I want the public to see that there is a flip side of the coin concerning the problems in the Baltimore City public schools. If we teachers are to do our jobs well, then we need competent administrators who will assist us in our endeavors.
Jacqueline C. Butler
Now that The Sun has painted an astronomically negative image of the city schools, why not paint a seven-day picture again of the positive images of the Baltimore City public schools?
You have taken isolated incidents and blown them up to make it seem like this is how city schools are. All schools, public, private and parochial, have bad and good sides. This includes county schools.
In my 30 years as an outstanding public school teacher in Baltimore City, I never had to have pupils share books. There were more than enough books. I have never encountered many of the incidents you have printed.
I have been retired for five years and I'm sure you found the worst examples to lower our city school's image. Come on, Sun. There is a great positive side, too.
Lola J. Massey
Since I've been critical in the past of Sun coverage of local events, it's only fair to commend you on the school series. Now that's the kind of investigative reporting I expect from The Sun.
Art and History
It is laudable to designate, respect and enjoy federal historic districts, and I am pleased to reside in Baltimore's historic Federal Hill neighborhood.
I do think, however, that some few persons have been overly zealous in their preservationism, by condemning the presentation of contemporary Baltimorean artworks on private property.
Evidently the city code provides that antennae, air conditioners, satellite dishes and roof decks (modern comforts all) are to be kept out of sight in an effort to preserve the flavor of 1875.
Yet as I stroll down Montgomery Street I note that it is flanked by parked automobiles, and gardens filled with many modern exotic flowers and shrubs. Here and there a window boasts a 50-starred banner; yet I hear no complaints about these anachronisms.
It is the artworks themselves? Do they perhaps block the view of the "historically correct" Inner Harbor for a few households?
A stroller notes many new decks and concrete reinforcement from behind, but I never noticed the Baltimore sculptures until they were pointed out to me, and when I, in turn, point them out, my companions so far have enjoyed the surprise. They are certainly not obtrusive and are a celebration of place which brings me joy.
We should feel pride to live with the art and legacy of our city. History and art belong in our daily lives and shouldn't be achieved in museums if they are to help maintain our sense of community.
This is one area in which peoples from other cultures outshine us. Before moving to Federal Hill, I wrote architectural criticism for a Milanese publication and took great pleasure in discovering the artistic secrets of the inner cortile of pallazzi.