Dynamic ProcessI must take exception to your editorial of...


August 14, 1993

Dynamic Process

I must take exception to your editorial of July 30, "State Takeover of Public Schools?"

There is a basic premise upon which you seem to hang your argument that needs to be examined.

It seems that your justification for the state to take over ''the

worst of the worst schools where the teachers and administrators are failing in their attempts to reach the students'' is founded on the premise that education, much as manufacturing, is a passive process. If an automobile is found wanting, then a change in the process of building it will change the end product.

However, education is a dynamic, interactive process where the ''end product,'' the student, is the most important part of the process. Education is a labor intensive operation where learning is achieved only when the student spends hours of dedicated work, often at a sacrifice of more pleasurable activities. Would you argue that students watch too little television?

To take the simplistic approach that all one needs to do is to change the ''management'' of a school and replace it with the ''management'' of the state or a private, profit-oriented company, overlooks the real problems.

Many of the students attending these ''worst'' schools have needs that can not, and should not, be met in the school house.

This is not to say some change in the administration of schools is not warranted.

However, if you would like to see that children in Maryland are getting a ''fair shake,'' then all school systems need to get a fair share of resources.

It is the family that is the key to learning. Once you help a family to function as a nurturing, healthy unit, then you will improve the educational process.

There is a need to provide the whole child with the family services, health services, juvenile services, etc., as well as the education, needed to ''produce'' a contributing member of society.

K. Gary Ambridge

Bel Air

Local Talent

Mayor Kurt Schmoke said he would make a nationwide search for a police commissioner.


Is he saying there is no one in the Baltimore City Police Department who is intelligent or competent enough to be elevated to the job? Who would know the needs and wants of the city better than a member of the force?

I think he should look in his own backyard first. It's always the same in Baltimore: Go out of state for a replacement, be it a school superintendent, police commissioner or whomever.

Bob Crooks


Jessica's Adoption

There's a lesson to be learned from the trauma that has befallen Baby Jessica and the bitter tug-of-war between her biological parents and the would-be adoptive parents in a case that has attracted nationwide attention: Without the proper supervision and safeguards that child-placing agencies and some courts provide, adoptions can be an unalleviated painful experience for the parties affected.

After litigation which crossed state lines and even reached the Supreme Court, little Jessica had to be returned to a couple she never knew. Why? Because sound adoption practice had been short-circuited by a couple eager to adopt and an attorney just as eager to comply with their wishes.

As foster parents for pre-adoptive infants for more than 15 years, we are no strangers to the heart-wrenching decisions faced by natural parents in separation from their babies; nor the grief felt by foster parents when little ones are finally placed for adoption after three and four years of nurturing -- much too long in some instances and unavoidable in others.

We've been there.

We've had infants returned to biological parents in a planned, thoughtful way, after a change of mind by those parents. Most, however, were adopted with sensitivity and understanding.

One came back to us when the natural parent was unable to cope with the child's distress. But in no instance was there conflict between natural and adoptive parents, or with us as foster parents. And the children were the ultimate beneficiaries.

Katherine and Abner Kaplan



There have been a number of cases in the news lately of biological parents seeking the return of their children from other families. What on earth are these people thinking?

In one case, the courts are being asked to ignore the wishes of a 14-year-old girl to force her to visit with her biological family. In another, a 2 1/2 -year-old girl has been torn from her life with her adoptive parents, whom she has been with nearly since birth, and given to her biological parents.

In both cases, the new situations for the children are very doubtful. The 14-year-old's biological parents have some seven other children; she has been raised as an only child. The mother of the 2 1/2 -year-old named the wrong father, then married the real father and sought the return of the child she put up for adoption.

Do these people sound like they have situations that these children should be forced into? How can there be a justification for putting these children through this?

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