Pro-Wilde LakeThe editorial entitled "Explosion at...


February 07, 1993

Pro-Wilde Lake

The editorial entitled "Explosion at Centennial" (Jan. 13) draws a conclusion that is based on the same misconceptions that are causing the redistricting process in Howard County to be even more emotionally charged than would be expected.

It tries to place the burden of proof on the Board of Education to dispel these myths, when all of the information and facts are readily available through the Board of Education or Wilde Lake High School itself.

The editorial does a great disservice to the entire Howard County school system . . . The philosophy and strategy of the Howard County Board of Education is a matter of public record. Even the redistricting process follows a policy that was developed in 1985, and revised in 1989, with input from the community, including parents who want to be involved in more than their own self-interest. The Boundary Line Adjustment document that is produced annually explains the process in detail, something that is not done, for instance, in nearby Montgomery County.

The editorial was unfair to the administration, teachers, parents and students at Wilde Lake High School, who work together to produce an environment that is equally challenging and nurturing for all students. Wilde Lake is a school that in 1992 sent 83 percent of its students to college. Wilde Lake had the highest ratio in Howard County of students that were "college ready" -- the percentage of students meeting course requirements for admission to the University of Maryland System.

Wilde Lake High School also had four of its 1992 graduates go to Yale, and one each to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, Georgia Tech and many other equally prestigious schools. Wilde Lake has an excellent reputation outside of Howard County. . . .

"Wilde Lake may be the wave of the future again," said James McPartland, co-director of the Education Research Center at Johns Hopkins University. "The school's unique programs are the type of features schools are looking at today."

I urge The Sun and anyone who is interested in Wilde Lake High School to contact the Howard County Board of Education; Bonnie Daniel, the principal of Wilde Lake, or Jan Morrison of the school's Parent Teacher Student Association (several local PTSAs have done so already), to get any information they desire. Also, there are parents, teachers and students of Wilde Lake High School available to come and talk to any group that is interested in hearing more about Wilde Lake High.

Frank J. DeSantis


Haves, Have Nots

Your editorial about Centennial High School and the problems in all of Howard County's high schools was right on point.

There are two types of high schools in Howard County -- "haves" and "have nots." This dichotomy is based on budget allocations and support from the school system, not on the economic position of the children attending the school.

My son currently attends Hammond High School; my daughter graduated last year. Hammond is a "have not" school. As a result, my son could not take any history courses as a senior because there were no advanced placement or gifted history courses available. He and a number of other similarly gifted children were forced to serve as student aides to teachers in lieu of a stimulating class. Talk about outrageous!

For years, the county's superintendent and his band of administrators have failed miserably in dealing with the myriad of problems facing county high schools. There are inferior high schools in Howard County. Perhaps when compared to other jurisdictions, they seem superior, but not when compared to schools in the county which enjoy "most favored" status.

The blame lies squarely at school system headquarters. I am frustrated and angry at the inadequate quality of education my children received at Hammond. There were some bright spots -- a few excellent teachers and courses -- but by and large the curriculum, facilities and quality of education was, in my view as a professional educator, very inadequate.

The fact that both of my children went through four years of high school in nearly all gifted courses without ever having to write a major research paper is but one small example of the lack of rigor, quality and substance in the program. My wife and I were very actively involved in the school and this did help a bit, but not enough.

The disparity of education among Howard County high schools; the problems with teachers who are too contract-oriented and/or seem not to care; an on-site administration which does not address issues and a school system administration which is incompetent all combine to produce poor education and lack of proper preparation for adult life, whether at work or in college.

The most tragic aspect is that these factors produce a group of teen-agers who disrespect education, teachers and the system as a whole. My kids are out of the system, but parents of younger kids had better take an active role on the county level if they expect any change.

William I. Weston


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