Catholic Schools: Demanding, AccountableEdd Doerr's letter...


November 23, 1992

Catholic Schools: Demanding, Accountable

Edd Doerr's letter of Nov. 8 on invalid school vouchers failed to focus on the real issues.

It is not the intent of this response to be combative, but we must sift through what is fact and what is fiction. For too long, the arguments leveled against the Catholic schools' success have been predicated on misinformation, misperception and antiquated thinking.

Catholic schools have a long-standing tradition of accepting individuals who seek a viable alternative in education. We do not select only academically superior students. Such a concept is exclusive and elitist.

What Catholic schools do seek are those parents and students who are willing to be partners in an educational experience that is demanding, where expectations are high, and where accountability is mutually accepted.

The result is that those students who are exposed to our programs become academically successful, an outcome that outside observers and researchers such as the 1980 Coleman Study and 1990 studies by the Rand Corporation and Brookings Institution have documented.

The antediluvian premise that Catholic schools' partial success rests with the principal waving the scepter of expulsion is more fiction than fact. The expulsion of students is rarely used.

And if it is exercised, it must be done within the framework of a detailed process, and only as a last resort.

The major thrust is not to remove the child because of a problem, but to explore every avenue to correct the difficulty, whether it be academic or behavioral.

The real issue of the proponents for the voucher system, who seek the school choice option, is economic justice. We advocate that tax money for education should follow the child.

Our persistence in this cause is not to point a disparaging finger at our public schools. The Catholic schools do not want the public schools to fail.

Both systems have a common bond in educating children to be responsible, productive, effective and contributing members of society.

Both systems serve all members of their community and need to be solvent and secure. The stronger our educational systems become, the greater the benefit for our community and our nation.

We must move away from the mentality that a voucher to a child seeking a non-public education is a threat to democracy or to the public educational system.

What should be the major concern is that we want both the non-public and public schools to be successful. We cannot afford to lose even one child in either system.

This presents a challenge for us. It means a major shift in thinking. We have to move away from the political polemics, the smoke screens, the fear of entanglement, and the hidden bigotry.

The voucher is not only a means for achieving economic justice, but can be the catalyst for an exciting opportunity where collaboration can lead to a substantive movement in educational reform.

Ronald J. Valenti


The writer is superintendent of Catholic schools for the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Slot Machines

The writer of your Nov. 4 editorial, "Maryland Gamblers' Heaven," displayed his gross ignorance of the facts and Annotated Code of Maryland as it relates to legal slot machines in clubs on the Eastern Shore.

The State Police by law are not the controlling authority for legal slot machine revenue. If you knew the law as legislated, you would know the sheriff of each county is the controlling authority.

The law states that 50 percent of the metered revenue must be given to a non-profit charitable organization. It does not allow any variance of this fact.

The law states that the remainder of the revenue can be used "in furtherance of the objectives of the organization," as determined by the organization. There is only one limiting factor in fund distribution. The law states that no individual shall derive direct benefit from legal slot machine revenue.

There is no attempt to hide any information regarding revenue derived from legal slot machines.

The law requires that a report be sent to the state comptroller and a copy to the sheriff of the county. The report is signed by the principal officer of the organization, subject to penalty of perjury.

Maybe you should sign your editorials subject to penalty of perjury as to the accuracy of the information you publish.

I invite you to come to the Eastern Shore and query the sheriff of the various counties to determine if the law works or not.

I invite you to check the reports in the hands of the comptroller and call the charities to ascertain if they did receive the funds.

I challenge you to become educated in the law and the facts and then write another editorial of your findings based on truth and facts.

William D. McCallum


The writer is quartermaster of Meuse Post 194 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Macedonia History

Dusko Doder's Nov. 10 article on the Macedonian question failed to address the heart of the controversy created by the Skopje regime's refusal to use a name reflecting its own ethnic heritage.

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