Meade InquiryYour editorial of Aug. 12 was not accurate in...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 05, 1993

Meade Inquiry

Your editorial of Aug. 12 was not accurate in stating that there had been no response to allegations of improprieties at Fort Meade.

I made my first inquiry about potential problems at Fort Meade to the Army inspector general's office in 1991. The inspector general reported to me that although his investigation found problems with accounting at Fort Meade, each of the serious allegations of fraud and abuse was unsubstantiated. In early 1992, I initiated a follow-up inquiry and the inspector general reconfirmed the 1991 results. This summer, I followed up on new, similar and potentially serious allegations of problems in one specific department of Fort Meade by making inquiries to both the Army's inspector general and to the commander at Fort

Meade. . . .

Barbara A. Mikulski

Washington, D.C.

The writer is U.S. senator for Maryland.

In light of the comments on the editorial page concerning Fort Meade and Ms. Mikulski's seeming indifference, you might be interested in the enclosures. On Jan. 21, identical letters (about federal waste) were sent to Ms. Mikulski, Mrs. Bentley and Mr. Sarbanes over the signatures of my wife and myself. . . . Mikulski didn't answer until July 24, and, as you can see, the reply thanks us for "supporting the Clean Water Act" for God's sake! . . .

William A. Hunter

Frances E. Hunter

Towson

Procedures, Attitudes In Schools Need Change

An open letter to Dr. Carol Parham, acting superintendent of the Anne Arundel County public schools:

I read with interest the article in The Sun (Aug. 17), "Acting chief takes aim at morale." I was, however, disappointed that few specifics were mentioned.

Understanding that you must deal with the problems related to Northeast High, it is my belief (as well as many of my colleagues) that you must address other serious morale problems in middle schools, too. Those of us who have more than 20 years of experience are frustrated and annoyed at certain policies associated with this level of education. Our efforts to explain, suggest and provide alternatives have been fruitless.

Our workload has increased to the point we do not have adequate planning and preparation time during school hours. Too much time is spent in meetings, doing clerical work and dealing with chronic behavior problems. These kinds of things constantly erode our efforts to actually teach.

Too many of the "top-down" policy decisions are made without adequate teacher in-put. Furthermore, the relentless introduction of new programs never seems to replace old ones.

The academic standards in the middle school are at best mediocre. When students can do absolutely nothing for 18 of 36 weeks each year in all of their subjects, for three years, and still get promoted, the trite expression of "excellence" is viewed with contempt. It is obvious that the policy in elementary and middle schools is to move all students along, regardless of what they have done or learned.

Providing an infinitely diversified program of studies and social events may round out students' lives, but has spread both students and teachers far too thin. What used to be occasional monthly interruptions for field trips, guest speakers, concerts, sales programs or school photos have become weekly and even daily diversions from our actual purpose.

Understand that most of us believe that the policies which deal with serious behavior problems (i.e. drugs, weapons, violence, etc.) are satisfactory, or, at least, are usually being monitored. We are, however, just as concerned about those students who chronically display anti-social, anti-authority and uncooperative behavior in spite of our efforts to motivate, inform parents, work with the guidance counselors and confer with other teachers. It seems that discipline standards in middle schools are based upon the idea that it's expected that teachers spend more time dealing with disruptive students than on class preparation. Efforts to remove such students or provide alternative programs are usually painstakingly slow.

The board policies for voluntary transfers are unreasonable and frustrating. Twenty-year veterans who simply would like to change schools for new challenges and opportunities are regularly denied the privilege. . . .

At the outset of a new school year, I sincerely hope that your tenure as acting superintendent is characterized by making serious efforts to address the above concerns and to improve the morale of all employees.

David J. Chester

Glen Burnie

The writer teaches at Chesapeake Bay Middle School.

Northeast High School and the Anne Arundel school board have a strong commitment to our students to create an environment conducive to learning. As a community we need to join together to support our faculty, administrators and young people as they return to school. Let us declare a moratorium on all of the negativism being promoted by a small group regarding the removal of all of the administration at Northeast. These are our children and they need to return to school feeling good about themselves and their school. . . .

The executive board of the Northeast High SchooParent-Teacher-Student Association supports the current administration and faculty and we look to the coming school year with a positive attitude. Collectively, we are a mighty force and by joining together in support of our school we can make a difference in the lives of our young people.

Linda Tetrault

Pasadena

The writer is president of the Northeast High School Parent-Teacher-Student Association.

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