Just send money and leave us aloneI was shocked to read...

The Forum

April 09, 1993

Just send money and leave us alone

I was shocked to read that some state delegates have the temerity to meddle in the city school system. Why should they set standards for us when we can perfectly well set them for ourselves?

I'm delighted that the city school system has a bold new initiative under way to redistrict schools. Keeps those busybody parents occupied. (Great move, threatening the Gifted and Talented Programs! Bunch of smarty pants who do their homework, that's all. Who needs it?)

You never know what these hyperactive parents will be demanding next. More homework, maybe. (As if there were some kind of cheap, simple, instant fix possible, for gosh sakes.)

Teacher accountability? Superintendent accountability? Or even making our students learn as much as those wonks in Montgomery County?

Don't we have enough problems just getting our kids to read and leave the guns at home?

Let's face it: We don't have the luxury to be upwardly mobile, and we have no right to expect our school system to worry about where its students are going to be in 20 years. I mean, if I were worried about that, would we live in Baltimore?

Of course the school system should take the long view. Take as much time a you want, folks. I expect all my children will have graduated by the time you improve things -- but I believe in you. You'll get around to it when the time is ripe.

So you lawmakers in Annapolis, don't worry about Baltimore. We're doing fine. Keep those checks coming (and we don't mean those checks and balances, ha! ha!).

And for heaven's sake, keep a lid on the school voucher stuff, let alone school choice. Are you trying to rock the boat, or something?

Elizabeth W. Philip

Baltimore

On target

Ronald L. Dowling characterizes Mike Lane as an "uninformed loony" and an "illustrative clown" for his editorial cartoon of March 10 depicting a National Rifle Association person selling rockets and hand grenades in "Wacko U.S.A."(Forum, March 25).

In defense of the NRA, Mr. Dowling says "the NRA has no agenda to legalize or allow for sale any weapon capable of destroying or defeating any type of armor." It is comforting to know that the NRA draws the line there.

I interpret the cartoon as a statement that the policies of the NRA make it easier for every radical group and criminal element in this country to obtain an arsenal of weapons. A pro-gun letter by Mark Szymanski (March 27) reinforces Mr. Lane's point by equating David Koresh's group with the confrontation that ensued in 1775 on Lexington Green.

The NRA's lobbying efforts are overwhelmingly tied to the unrestricted access to guns, no matter what the cost to society. Mr. Lane's depiction of these actions is right on target.

Fred Davis

Pasadena

Accident-prone

Recently an article boasting of Maryland's pride in its lower automobile accident fatality rate credited the lower speed limit and automobile safety features for the improvement.

But Maryland remains one of the least safe states to drive in. It does not have annual safety inspection of vehicles. Nor does it enforce traffic regulations such as turn signals, stop light and stop sign violations or cars with faulty headlights, tail lights or brake lights.

In addition, statistics have shown that the reduction of the speed limit to 55 mph does not reduce the frequency of accidents. Has there ever been a police report of an accident that stated that it may have been caused by bad brakes or bald tires?

If Maryland would take the initiative and apply the aforementioned safety criteria rather than rely on automobiles' safety features we would see a significant drop in both the fatality rate and the overall accident rate.

George Marshall

Columbia

Dr. Berger's 'haughty' attitude

Your article "Parents to counter 'haughty attitude' at Baltimore County school headquarters" (March 30) discussed the development of a group called Parents Rights in Developing Education.

The group was formed because of the frustrations experienced by parents in their desire to communicate with and be understood by Superintendent of Schools Stuart Berger and by the school board.

The article cited Dr. Berger and the school board as being "insensitive to the parent constituency, negligent in not allowing the flow of communication and dismissive to parents' voices and inquiries."

To these allegations, Dr. Berger responded: "I think it's a phony issue." It seems that Dr. Berger has just proven the allegation of being dismissive to parents' voices.

One would think that since it's the parents who have the most at stake -- i.e. the education of their children -- and since it's the parents who pay the taxes that support the schools as well as Dr. Berger's salary, it would be incumbent upon him to do his best to incorporate the needs and interests of parents into his overall agenda for the school system.

We know from past articles that Dr. Berger has already alienated the majority of teachers in Baltimore County. Now he's doing the same to parents.

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