BSAP Emphasizes WeaknessesI want to commend you for your...


August 15, 1993

BSAP Emphasizes Weaknesses

I want to commend you for your excellent column of July 11 ("Yes, Schools' BSAP Is A Second-Tier Outfit").

My children have just recently graduated from a Howard County high school and I have been consistently appalled at the failure of Black Student Achievement to address the twin issues of achievement and racism. From an academic perspective, the program promotes segregation and does not help African-American students to succeed within the parameters of the mainstream. . . .

To segregate one group only focuses attention on that group, exacerbates resentments on both sides and emphasizes weaknesses rather than strengths. In addition, racism and racial prejudice can only be addressed by bringing together all of the elements of the community and facing the issues straight-on. . . .

African-American history and culture is still viewed largely from the perspective of slavery and weakness rather than from the strengths which have helped African-Americans survive so many difficult periods. Finally, the study of great black achievers often fails to analyze why these individuals were able to overcome and to use that analysis as a model for young people -- black and white. . . .

When students learn to work together to help each other be better, then they all grow and achieve. In short, the factual realities which contribute to poor achievement by black students will not be solved by segregating them with other underachieving black students -- especially at the middle and high school levels. White students need to see black students as capable and willing to learn, and to understand the need to reach out to a fellow student to assist. In return, that white student will have a chance to develop a new friend. For the black student, the opportunity to work together will remove myths about white society and will bring long-standing bonds. Finally, teachers need . . . to know their students as individuals and to work with each student to achieve results. . . .

William I. Weston


Columbia Warmth

Perhaps I could be allowed to use the letters column of your paper to thank the people of Columbia for all their kindnesses during our stay for the Columbia Festival of the Arts.

I would like to extend my warmest thanks to those volunteers who took members of our company "Voice Theatre" into their homes and made us all feel so much at home. We shall all remember their hospitality for a long time and friendships were made which will last for many years to come. . . .

Columbia may be a relatively new town but it certainly showed us some old-fashioned hospitality. . . .

Thanks from all the members of Voice Theatre.

Joe Atves


Affordable Housing

Your paper has missed some important history in its recent characterization of Shane Pendergrass as "never a friend of affordable housing." In our experience, she has demonstrated that she is not only a friend, but an active supporter of such housing.

Our company has developed two apartment properties in the Columbia area over the past several years -- one in Kings Contrivance (very near the councilwoman's home) and one in Owen Brown -- that offer affordable housing opportunities to both families and the elderly. Councilwoman Pendergrass supported these projects and, in fact, co-introduced legislation which provided critical financial participation by the county. These facts speak for themselves.

ark K. Joseph


The writer is president of Shelter Development Corp.

Editorial Cartoon On Smoking Ban Took Cheap Shot At Restaurateurs

An editorial cartoon in your paper (July 25) depicted restaurateurs in an unfavorable light regarding their position on the subject. Since I was one of the restaurateurs who spoke before the Howard County Council, I believe it is necessary to clear the air.

Every restaurateur who spoke before the council clearly stated that they did not disagree with the intent of the act, which was that smoking, per se, is bad for you. If the intent of the Howard County Council was to pass this bill as a health issue, then smoking should be banned.

The question has always been, "Why are there any exemptions?" Is it safer to smoke a cigarette in one place than another? The answer can only be "no."

I would urge The Sun, as well as anyone who reads this, to ask your County Council members the one, straightforward question that I have stated above and then call for a vote. Don't paint restaurateurs as the bad guys because all they want is equality.

John F. Schulze


The writer is vice president of Pizza Hut of Maryland, Inc.

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