Good Schools In Howard? HardlyYour editorial of Dec. 13 on...


January 09, 1994

Good Schools In Howard? Hardly

Your editorial of Dec. 13 on "Vouchers: Wrong Idea, Wrong Place" (in Howard County) was worthless. You call the voucher idea flawed and say it is not the way to improve the education of our youth. You cite "impressive" statistics for Howard County from the state Department of Education: percentage to college; low dropout; dollars spent per pupil -- that sort of camouflage. You refer to Howard County's school system as one of the best.

Compared to what? Other public schools? That's the problem. You continually settle for less as your standard of judgment. . . .

To assess the efficacy of education, think what could have been done and what should have been done with the native ability (and the parental resources) of the vast thousands of our kids who have been dumbed-down, shorn of self-reliance, trashed in the back-alley of human helplessness and incompetence. Where are your statistics on the can't do and the don't know? . . . To what extent has false pride clothed in "self-esteem" replaced sureness of place and capacity? To what extent has excuse for non-performance replaced performance? . . . How many hours are devoted . . . to the mindless passivity of, the utter dependence upon, diseased TV?

And your priggish editorial says the voucher system is not the way. What is not the way is the present way. It doesn't work anymore. It can't be fixed. We must let it go. We must establish a new system, rejecting the present government monopoly. That takes courage. Courage for the new, for the next, for the better. . . .

Sam Calaby



Will Howard County have year-round schools? Or, more appropriately, will the developer-financed, puppet-like politicians and school board of Howard County have their strings pulled by the development community and their master puppeteer William Donald Schaefer and his "steering committees" to engage their vehicle (year-round school) in order to continue to overdevelop Howard County?

If they had genuine concern about our schools, why, when past Howard County Councilwoman Angela Beltram proposed a school adequate facilities bill, did the puppeteers and the developer financiers so vigorously oppose this resident-friendly bill and try to lynch her? . . .

Year-round schools is a deceptive term because it does not extend the academic year. The students continue to receive 180 days of schooling. Year-round school segregates students into vacation "tracks," with each track going on brief vacations at different times. What a scheduling nightmare for the hard, honest-working families of Howard County. . . .

Why don't the puppeteers . . . tell all the problems that caused Los Angeles (540 schools) and Jefferson County, Colo., to terminate their year-round school programs? Twelve of Albuquerque's year-round schools voted to return to the traditional calendar year. Seven remain year-round for now because of crowding. One teacher said, "You're in and out so much . . . that I just found that I was constantly reviewing and getting back on track." . . .

Howard County residents need to be aware of the year-round school problems now before our children are railroaded and "tracked" into year-round schools. . . .

William Hilton


Bus Service Is A Farce

Bus service between Columbia and Washington, D.C., and I suspect as well between Baltimore, Silver Spring, etc. is a farce -- subsidized by the state Mass Transit Administration or not.

Eyre has the contract and it and its bus drivers make their own rules. In a word, the service is not only lousy, it is unacceptable. After a few weeks or at most months, riders quickly and quietly find another solution to commuting such as driving or car pools.

First, the stops on the bus routes are poorly marked or generally not marked at all. . . . Second, bus drivers stop only at stops where they feel like stopping. . . .

Third, bus drivers' jobs are primarily to serve Eyre's tourist business and not the bus routes for people who work in Baltimore or Washington, D.C., etc.

Fourth, it doesn't do any good to complain to the company or to the MTA; the company and the drivers continue to make their own rules.

Fifth, during holidays, for weeks at a time, bus service is so limited as to make it a genuine disaster for most riders. People spend an extra hour or two on the bus . . . during the holidays.

Sixth, some buses are so crowded that large numbers of people are forced to stand rather than sit. The bus driver merely asks seated riders to give their seats to someone who is standing at the halfway mark.

Seventh, it is not unusual for the company to use substitute or new drivers whenever the experienced drivers are busy carrying tourists. The riders have to instruct the drivers who are not familiar with the bus routes.

Eighth, Eyre's tourist business is more important than the

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