Ritchey youth center a study in depressionOne recent...

THE FORUM

July 14, 1992

Ritchey youth center a study in depression

One recent evening found my husband and me sitting in the "living room" of the Judith P. Ritchey Youth Services Center in Baltimore due to some difficulty with our teen-age son.

The longer we sat in this run-down, smelly old house, the angrier we became. The obviously warm, caring women took pride in their work with troubled kids. But the conditions under which they had to work were deplorable.

The house, though neat, was far from clean. The front window was locked with either a screwdriver or an ice pick. The furniture was so old and broken down one feared to sit on it.

The neglected appearance of this place was so depressing I couldn't wait to get my family out of there. We will be returning for counseling, but I wish the place could be more conducive to an upbeat feeling of hope.

We were astounded to find that this facility is not only funded by the Hayden county budget, but the Schaefer state budget as well.

In this day of belt tightening, we find it unconscionable that this facility set up to help troubled children faces budget cuts while our county executives help themselves to $800 dinners at our expense, and state executives have their cronies transported in public vehicles and take elaborate "state business" trips -- all at

our expense!

Victoria L. Carter-Coke

Glen Arm

Amprey's initiative

Informed educational professionals should support the bold initiative of Walter Amprey, superintendent of schools in Baltimore City, in his bid to obtain assistance for inner city schools from Education Alternatives Inc., a private company from Minneapolis. The negative feelings of the uninformed are already being given wide publicity in the media.

National education problems for many decades have defied true solution because educators themselves were unwilling to identify a suitable philosophical base as a point of departure for sound growth. Wordy jargon and innovative trends were adopted by government at all levels, yet it all failed because of professional unwillingness to examine the most fundamental educational assumptions.

Our primary goal in schools of any sort should be learning. If our universities insist upon devoting total academic effort to the improvement of teaching, it naturally follows that administrative focus at all levels of government will be upon improvement of those teacher strategies which will affect teacher personality, technique, assessment, interaction, burnout and so forth.

Since children are the most important elements in the educational process, why have we resisted recognition of this fact for so long?

Once we admit this, however, teacher preparation must change in radical fashion. As the facilitator of learning, the teacher in each classroom is the second most important element in the educative process. EAI cannot be expected to succeed until teachers are prepared to do the professional tasks required of them in the new system that places learning at the top of our list of educational objectives.

Money ceases to be the primary deficit in the educational system, if we examine conditions realistically. Retraining of teachers must be the first concern.

EAI is one of only a handful of systems in the United States which is struggling to make learning the central focus of education. Ample research for decades has supported such a movement, but the public has unwittingly hindered progress by insisting that anyone can teach school.

The EAI experiment will be simply that unless fully qualified and properly prepared professionals are geared to resolve problems of learning, personal uniqueness of learners, cultural diversity, media criticism, crime, drugs, health and motivation. America must start somewhere and Baltimore is that place. Please give Walter Amprey your support for the children's sake, for America's sake!

David C. Osborn

Reisterstown

The writer is a former accreditation specialist in secondary education for the Maryland Department of Education

Doubled Fees

The Motor Vehicle Administration has begun implementing the new biennial registration rates. The revenue raised from this increase will allegedly go to finance Medevac helicopters. But considering the way the transportation fund is raided for non-transportation budget items, I sincerely doubt that is where the money is going.

This fee increase was very, very quietly gotten through the General Assembly with secrecy of stealth technology.

When I receive my registration, I have to find a way to fit it into a budget of other bills in a given month. I will be difficult in these tough times. So other bills must suffer or I perhaps could put off renewing my tags and run the risk of being pulled over by our State Police for expired tags.

This is a situation that I am sure many hard-working Marylanders with two vehicles also face. Imagine the people who are struggling to get back on their feet facing this double dose. What will they do?

Travis Medcalf

Ringgold

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