Elected school boards have to listenI have been and...

the Forum

July 02, 1993

Elected school boards have to listen

I have been and continue to be a proponent of an elected school board. An elected school board is part of the democratic process.

Although I have had doubts about elected school boards in general -- the recent war of words in Baltimore County, for example, -- Anne Arundel County has solidified my belief beyond any shadow of doubt.

Michael K. Burns' article "The compelling argument for elected school boards" (Other Voices, June 24) proves my point. Mr. Burns, an editorial writer for The Baltimore Sun, has brought forth a compelling, realistic argument for elected school boards.

Mr. Burns debunks the concept that appointed school boards are nonpolitical. For example, he writes that in Maryland the governor has the final say over school boards -- even though he may know very little about the appointees.

Further, with localities paying 60 percent or more of their school budgets, the time has come to have people responsible for school policy respond to the demands of their communities. Mr. Burns makes clear that appointed boards are political, that they have autonomous power and that they may not reflect the needs of the community.

The Baltimore County school board and superintendent are not reflecting the concerns of their community. In Anne Arundel County, the school board at first turned a deaf ear to the community when reports surfaced that teachers had sexually harassed students. An elected school board in either of these counties certainly could do no worse than the present appointed school boards.

ohn A. Micklos


Life goes on

Maybe we shouldn't be so ready to criticize the state troopers observed tending the gubernatorial greenery.

True, the troopers were gardening on state time with their backs to the governor, the man they were being paid to protect. But they did not open fire on him, or, for that matter, on any of the shrubs.

Considering some of the trigger-happy incidents our law enforcement officers have been involved in lately, their show of self-restraint deserves some recognition.

rank W. Soltis


Moving tribute

Several weeks ago, on the Other Voices page, there was an article by Craig B. Schulze from Silver Spring about his childhood friend -- his brother -- dying of AIDS.

Every time I read the end of it, I get goose bumps, a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye.

Several others who have read it agree that it is a beautiful and moving tribute.

Thanks for publishing it, and thanks to Craig Schulze for opening his heart and sharing his love for his brother. I hope it softened a few hearts along the way.

Patricia A. Hurley


Not too cool

Regarding your June 21 editorial, "Chill out, Forgers," it is my opinion that we should take crime seriously.

Neighborhoods are becoming battlegrounds. They are no longer idyllic places where one can keep one's doors unlocked.

No longer can one walk through a park late at night. No longer do police officers walk a beat in every neighborhood. No longer can one feel safe in and around his or her home.

To claim that a neighborhood is "usually safe" or that it is "not that bad" does not address the problem. The problem is that crime has reached epidemic proportions, and Baltimore is right there in the thick of it.

No neighborhood is immune to crime. Regardless of the amount or degree of crime in any area, to downplay its effect will only lead to desensitization.

Crime is our nation's black eye. Unless effective measures are taken to address this problem, everyone will be at the mercy of villains, rapists and murderers.

I say act up and be a squeaky wheel. Only then will crime be taken seriously and adequate measures be taken.

George Maranto


Name's the same

Regarding Mike Royko's commentary endorsing the nicely bound, $34.50 "same name" books ("A fascinating glance at the origins of a family," June 23), these volumes may not be a scam, but the pitch to buy them can be misleading.

The books are composed of computer-generated name and address lists of people with your last name. The promotional letter Royko quotes does little to inform the buyer that these books are not complete family histories.

In addition to the computer list, they merely include "how-to" type information on genealogy, a marketing practice that I believe is deceptive and adds to the confusion.

I have found these books to be of limited use in identifying one's relatives. Same-name books can be interesting, but know what you are getting if you spend the $34.50.

As an amateur genealogist, I feel that nothing replaces the long and very satisfying process of doing the research oneself.

ichael Parrish


Money won't fix education problems

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