Community Service Develops Better CitizensIn his Dec. 1...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

December 18, 1992

Community Service Develops Better Citizens

In his Dec. 1 letter, J. Edward Johnston Jr. criticized the state's plan to infuse a community service requirement within the public education curriculum. I feel that the positive impact of this decision far outweighs any negatives.

There is a great deal more to education than simply the material covered within the classroom. Education is much more than the simple mastering of skills that can be quantitatively measured through testing.

True education requires exposure to and interaction with the community. Our children need to know they are valuable and have the skills and abilities to make a positive impact upon their world. This is not something that can be learned within the confining walls of the school.

There is little doubt that public education needs to perform at a much higher level. Reform is needed in many areas.

Requiring community service will be a part of the reformation of public education. Community service can be the spark that ignites the curiosity that is needed for real education and learning to take place.

Students working in their communities, and throughout the state, will develop a greater awareness of who they are as individuals and who they can become. They'll develop a greater understanding of the world around them.

Hopefully, many who struggle in the traditional classroom will begin to see practical applications to the theoretical work presented in the classroom.

Mr. Johnston believes that community service should be voluntary. I can understand his point of view. However, being a citizen is not voluntary. Our children, and many adults, need to be taught to be proactive citizens, not spectators.

We must realize that the performance of community service is not limited to what most of us would traditionally consider to be community service.

It is not limited to working in soup kitchens or visiting the elderly in nursing homes.

There are a vast variety of programs for students to experience. It can manifest itself in building houses with Habitat for Humanity; in creating running and biking trails through the Rails to Trails program; in bringing the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries back to life by working with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. The possibilities for real hands-on learning are limitless.

Too much of our children's energy is expressed through violence, alcohol and drug abuse, and teen-age pregnancy. Community service will direct this vast amount of energy in positive directions.

Timothy Pula

Laurel

Sweetheart Cup

Whatever problems Sweetheart Cup has faced as it has evolved from a family-run business to a division of a major conglomerate and back again to a separately-owned company, the tone of your Nov. 22 article hardly seems warranted.

I have found Sweetheart Cup, one of Baltimore County's largest employers, to be a generous and conscientious corporate citizen.

For example, Sweetheart has received Baltimore County's "Recycler of the Month" award from our Department of Environment and Resource Management and has contributed funds to literacy and environmental programs.

On a recent visit to the company's Owings Mills manufacturing facility, I was not only impressed with the high-tech, spotlessly clean plant and its dedicated workers, but also with company policies such as a guarantee of no layoffs to hourly employees.

Sweetheart Cup has been under completely new ownership and management since 1989. Its leaders are trying valiantly to maintain a strong presence in a highly competitive business while overcoming the mistakes of their predecessors, a challenge in any economy let alone during the dismal fiscal situation we face today.

Your depiction of Sweetheart Cup as a company formerly "defined by quality and service" but now "altered beyond recognition" does not ring true and is unfair to the thousands of hard-working people who earn their livelihoods from this business.

Roger B. Hayden

Towson

9- The writer is Baltimore County executive.

City Bashing

I take the utmost exception to the statements by Del. Timothy F. Maloney, D-Prince George's, concerning the administration of the Baltimore City public schools, reported in The Sun Dec. 5.

He did go too far when he alluded to the 11,000 library books from Garrison Middle School being sent to Liberia. This is a myth which found life in the pages of The Sun and has no basis in fact.

However, I must admit that Delegate Maloney's ignorance of management within the Baltimore City public schools can be understood as he is not in a position to know and it appears that his main source of information is The Sun's usual Baltimore-bashing copy. As a point of fact, the Baltimore City public schools did not pack, move or store the library books in question.

The administrators of the Baltimore City public schools are, in fact, deeply concerned about the future of our children. I am very proud of my 17-year service as an administrator in Baltimore's schools.

K. Gary Ambridge

Baltimore

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