Unsought AwardsIn Donald N. Langenberg's column in The Sun...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

July 14, 1993

Unsought Awards

In Donald N. Langenberg's column in The Sun July 1, he mentions a nice little rise in grants for the University of Maryland System.

He wrote: "In the first four years of the system's life, external grants and contracts rose from $165 million to $273 million (an increase of 65 percent), and we anticipate another substantial increase in the year just ended. That is direct evidence of the vigor and quality of our faculty, who must win such support in fierce national competition."

What Dr. Langenberg fails to mention is that some portion of all that money may result from something less than "fierce competition."

It is interesting to read a Washington Post editorial of July 3: "This year the University of Maryland will share $73 million to track global change, Georgetown has $10 million to use on 'programs of major importance' to the Defense Department . . . Colleges and universities around the country are receiving similar sums from the federal government for research on blueberries, maple trees, urban gardening and a whole lot more . . . These funds weren't requested or competed for. They were handed out by congressmen who like to give a little something to their favorite research institutions."

Why do administrators and politicians alike speak in meaningless generalities, and never mention the statistics that mean something?

Instead of citing the amount of money the school has received, talk about the quality of the graduate that the college is producing -- the number of graduates accepted into Phi Beta Kappa, Nobel Prize winners, the number of liberal arts majors graduating with honors, or even nationally ranked departments.

Why are we continually fed a line of buzzwords portraying the university system as "forging ahead" and "on course"? How many times have we heard the same words over the last 40 years?

R. D. Bush

Columbia

Educator

The controversy surrounding Baltimore County's school superintendent Stuart Berger and his wide sweeping changes has, at the very least, gotten everyone involved in the discussion of education.

Some of the changes he implemented, such as all-day kindergarten and site-based management were long overdue. Other changes, such as the mainstreaming of students with special needs, were beyond his control.

The concern I have is that Mr. Berger is not providing the training and educating necessary for parents and school personnel to be able to adjust to the changes.

For example, site-based management gives the local school greater autonomy; however, a principal is not overnight able to effectively run a school (business) without some training in related management.

Along the same line, mainstreaming students with special needs will not happen effectively without sufficient communication between and among classroom teachers, special education teachers and parents.

While Mr. Berger seems to be on the right track regarding the future of education in Baltimore County, his own lack of training in how to communicate with others may well undermine his efforts.

Frank Pinter

Baltimore

School Politics

The Sun continues to support the policies of the Baltimore County School Board, alleging that the problem is not the policies but the manner in which they were communicated.

If your editors have been listening, that position is not credible. I think it is more likely that the board knew that the radical policy changes made would not stand public scrutiny and saw as its only recourse the strategy it has followed to date.

That strategy has been to implement policies and then hunker down and wait for the storm to blow over. So far, that strategy has been successful, because the community's deep resentment has not resulted in reversing any of the policy changes, with the possible exception of some modifications that may be made regarding special education.

Having two board members change places hardly reflects a concern for community opinion.

While it is clear that the majority of residents oppose the actions by the board, it is also clear that they lack the leadership to do anything about them.

One wonders where the local politicians are on these issues. Sooner or later, they are going to have to face the electorate regarding them.

One only hopes that those politicians sitting on the sidelines waiting for the smoke to clear will be judged in the manner they deserve.

Herm Schmidt

Bradshaw

The Sex Appeal Business

If Michael Olesker had done his homework (column, June 27), he would know that I laid the Hooters issue to rest on Jan. 17, 1991, in The Evening Sun. After a careful survey of the place, I concluded that those who give a hoot about Hooters are more interested in wings than in breasts or thighs.

Mr. Olesker overlooked one thing: Hooters is in business to sell food and drink, especially chicken wings, using the age-old device of semi-nudity to help boost sales.

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