Why An Elected Board Is BestPersonalities aside, an...


February 14, 1993

Why An Elected Board Is Best

Personalities aside, an elected school board deserves some thought and consideration. Nationally, about 13,000 of the 16,000 boards of education are chosen by election.

As a political science student, I was taught that the election of boards of education is the cornerstone of democracy. No other public institution is as important to basic community values. None is entrusted with a more sacred and universal mission. No other entity is vested with such absolute trust in the nurturing of our most valued and vulnerable society members.

Some say campaigns would destabilize public education, but public schools are the single most important public entity we need to understand through elective discussion and participation.

Some say board turnover would render the Board of Education less effective. But staggered terms insure stability while adding fresh ideas, community interest and creativity.

Long ago, as an assistant professor of government, I taught Thomas Jefferson's concept of absolute trust in the democratic actions of a freely informed public. The politics of appointment by the few challenges this precept of democracy. The process of budget negotiation between branches of government one step removed is not particularly focused on the issues of human development. The concept that the families that bear and raise our children are not competent to choose the stewards who are vested to protect and enhance those children's development is abhorrent.

. . . I personally know, trust and like each member of the Board of Education. They would no doubt win election. But it is difficult to believe that we accept an exclusionary process by elected officials -- however well-intentioned -- to involvement and review of public education via the election of one-third of the Board of Education every two to four years.

During my career as a university educator, I acquired three basic beliefs. One is an old saying: "The most important classroom is the living room." The other two are the missions of public education as defined by the Truman Commission in 1948: to help each person become all that he or she can be; and to produce good citizens.

The democratic process is a threat to public education? I see none of my beliefs -- or my parental interest in two children enrolled in our public schools -- that are better represented by the oligarchic few than the democratic whole.

Warren R. Hartenstine

Bel Air

Humane Humanity

We hear so very much about how dreadful the younger generation is, I had to share the following:

One recent Sunday, when we came out of the Price Club on Pulaski Highway, our car wouldn't start. My husband did what he could but he had no luck, so we stood there with the hood up while awaiting the auto club.

During this time, no less than five young men, at different times, ++ stopped to see if they could help. Then two young couples stopped and tried to help. One young woman even stopped and stated: "If you are still here when I come out, I will take you home, I don't want you stuck here after dark."

It was truly worth the frustration, waiting, etc. to experience the ..

wonderful feeling of people caring.

Victoria McAllister


Bike Safety

Recently, the combined PTAs of Ring Factory and Homestead-Wakefield elementary schools held an evening meeting to promote bicycle safety and the use of helmets.

On behalf of Carol Ellis, Ring Factory Elementary PTA president, fTC and myself, I would like to thank the parents and students who attended the meeting. I would especially like to thank our speakers for the evening, Dr. James Brayton, local pediatrician, and Peter Baker of Pete's Cycle Shop in Bel Air.

Dr. Brayton spoke about the importance of helmets when riding a bicycle and stressed various safety guidelines. Mr. Baker told the attendees what to look for in a bicycle helmet, how to fit both helmets and bicycles to a child and safety checks to make on bicycles. . . .

Barbara S. Dettbarn

Bel Air

G; The writer is president of the Homestead-Wakefield PTA.

Pierno's Socialism?

Councilwoman Theresa Pierno, the transplant from New Jersey, is at it again. Her underhanded machinations, by inhibiting free enterprise, is another step down the path of socialism. Her most recent attempt to place further restrictions on developers is an attack on our basic rights of property ownership.

The next thing you know Councilwoman Pierno will be introducing legislation to have the government develop property and build all the houses so that she and her merry band of socialists will be able to dole out the houses as they see fit. . . .

If she likes Baltimore County so much and their legislation, she ought to move to Baltimore County. No, we Americans will not sit

idly by and let you legislate away our rights.

Frank W. Soltis


Wilson's Library?

Harford County Council President Jeffrey Wilson has been saying some strange things with regard to both the Highland and Bel Air branches of the county library.

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