Board of Education refuses appeals on standards Committees to write specific guidelines

June 11, 1993|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff Writer

Controversial "exit outcome" standards are still in, despite appeals by two groups that asked the Carroll County Board of Education this week to reconsider its vote last month to approve the set of standards.

After two letters requesting reconsideration of the vote were read aloud at Wednesday's meeting, no board members offered a motion to do so. The silence constituted a refusal of the appeals, said board President Carolyn Scott.

One of the letter-writers, Tom Shaffer of Westminster, appeared to be incredulous over the board's refusal to vote again on the so-called "exit outcomes," a list of seven broadstandards students should be able to meet as they go through school.

"They flatly denied even hearing our appeal at all," he said. "Ideally, we wanted them to take another vote."

Mr. Shaffer is a director of a group formed last month by several parents upset about the approval of the outcomes. The group calls itself Carroll County Citizens for Quality Education.

While the Board of Education and PTA leaders have praised the exit outcomes as a blueprint for educating children for the future, many parents have strongly criticized them as value-laden and not academically based.

The school board's vote last month was unanimous, and board members yesterday reaffirmed their support of the outcomes.

However, board member C. Scott Stone said he was disturbed by some errors that had been made in typing the document the board voted on, and in the training manual that was given to about 180 teachers and parents now working to develop more specific standards for each subject area and grade level.

Director of Curriculum Gary Dunkleberger said several things in the manual still have not been approved, and are used only as models for the parents to work from.

He said he would remove the word "approved" from the front of the manual, so that there would be no confusion over what the school board has voted on.

Mr. Stone also said that a line is missing from the list of outcomes that were put in the school board minutes.

Superintendent R. Edward Shilling said he would put the line back in, and accepted responsibility for what he called an oversight.

"I know it's nitty-gritty and right down to a specific detail," Mr. Stone said. But he said because of public concern and distrust about the outcomes, it is important to keep the process free of errors.

"We need to do it in a first-class manner all the way," he said.

Mr. Stone and Joseph D. Mish Jr., another board member, were the two who seemed likely to vote against the outcomes last month.

They both voted to table the vote until this month, but when that proposal failed on a 2-3 vote they joined the other members in approving the list.

Mr. Mish and Mr. Stone said they were satisfied that several of the "dissidents" would be included in the committees that will begin this month to write more specific guidelines for each subject area, following the philosophy in the seven broad outcomes.

Mr. Shaffer's letter asserted that the school system did not provide enough copies of the outcomes to the community and to private schools.

The other letter came from the Rev. Gary F. Buchman of Faith Community Bible Church in Silver Run, who enclosed a report by conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly that "codifies the reasons we oppose the Outcome-Based Education."

Most of the opposition comes from conservative Christians, such as Mr. Buchman, who have focused on the values infused into the outcomes.

For example, opponents have decried the outcomes' endorsement of developing "a positive self-image" and teaching students to become "involved citizens."

They say the national movement toward outcomes-based education will lead to socialism and national control over local education.

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