School funds not best sign of excellence
After reading Frank Langfitt's Dec. 19 article, "School aid: reform hasn't changed much," I was again reminded when it comes to school spending, the matter with money is not how much but simply how.
In the 1993 Maryland School Performance Report, I found that on the nine measures of the Maryland Functional Tests, 13 counties outperformed Montgomery County.
These included Calvert County, whose students achieved eight excellent scores and one satisfactory. Calvert's per pupil expenditure is $5,423, compared to the $7,377 per student spent in Montgomery, which scored five excellents, three satisfactories and one not met.
Comparisons like this lead me to question the leadership of Nancy Grasmick. As quoted by Mr. Langfitt, "Money matters, says Maryland school superintendent Nancy Grasmick, because it is a prime indicator of academic performance."
If money is a prime indicator of academic performance, how come Montgomery County came in 14th on the functional tests?
City Comptroller Jacqueline McLean believes she is being "railroaded." I only wish she was, as that explanation would be less of an insult to the collective intelligence of the people of Baltimore City.
Mrs. McLean would have us believe she was unaware that she still owned the building being leased (apparently unaware that she, as an owner, would have had to sign the property over to fTC the buyer at settlement), was unaware that the address she used was for the rear of the building (not even the post office recognized that address) and that she didn't think any of these actions were wrong (even after the lease was negated, she apparently attempted to "sneak" the lease though on a month-to-month basis, to no avail).
If she is unaware that these sort of things are not within the bounds of acceptable behavior for an official of a government or a business, then I suggest she should be banished before she runs the city as she ran her now-defunct travel agency.
Hanky-panky in high places
One more thought concerning the media's coverage of the alleged marital infidelity committed by Bill Clinton:
Are trustworthiness and honor characteristics in which we no longer believe in this country?
Has it become "politically incorrect" to question an individual's character, especially an individual whom Americans have trusted with our national, economic and domestic security?
The issue is not sex, as many have suggested, but of integrity.
Does this person in the White House have the integrity necessary to serve the best interests of this country and its citizens? The way to answer that is to look at the individual, both in his actions and reactions, past and present.
The media were correct to cover the Arkansas state troopers' allegations concerning the president, and citizens are correct in taking interest.
Americans will not stand for hypocrisy from their leaders and will demand honesty. We deserve media that are committed to reporting this objectively.
What a shame if Sarajevo falls
Last April I sat in the audience on a miserable rainy day for the opening ceremonies of the U.S. Memorial Holocaust Museum in Washington.
I listened as learned men and the leaders of nations spoke about the importance of the museum, of the lessons of history, as they pledged, one by one, "Never again."
At the time, I wanted to shout, "What about Bosnia -- what will you do to stop the murder of civilians happening at this very moment?" But of course I did not. I remained silent.
Elie Wiesel said he could not sleep at night thinking about the former Yugoslavia, and yet the world slumbers -- or pretends to sleep, waking now and then to weakly protest.
After six months as a Red Cross worker working in Croatia with Bosnian refugees of all ethnic backgrounds, after listening to countless stories of torture, imprisonment in concentration camps of civilians (many of them children), forced labor, rape and massacres committed within hearing distance of U.N. forces, I am filled with rage and anguish. And shame.
As I write this, an Associated Press article states that the forces besieging Sarajevo claim the end is near. It didn't even make the front page.
What a stain upon the conscience of the world will remain, never to be disappear, if Sarajevo falls. Thousands will suffer who knows what horrible fate, while the world is a bystander, as scholars debate whether comparisons should be made to the Holocaust. What an ignominy, what shame upon us all.
The writer is director, American Red Cross Holocaust and War Victims Tracing and Information Center.