School Board undermines educationThe conduct of the city's...

the Forum

January 18, 1994

School Board undermines education

The conduct of the city's board of education toward the Barclay Elementary School seems to me to border on criminal neglect.

Despite organized opposition of the city Department of Education, which used the specious argument that black children could not possibly benefit from the Calvert School curriculum, the curriculum was instituted at Barclay.

Barclay and its supporters have proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that the program works. The Calvert curriculum appears to work better than any Department of Education effort.

Kids learn, come to school and perform well in all areas of academic endeavor at levels comparable to the best in Maryland.

One would like to think that such results would win the hearts and minds of the school administrators, who claim educating children is their primary goal.

Alas, this is not the case. In the face of academic success, the response from school officials has been to penalize the Barclay School. By cutting school funding based on erroneous low counts of student enrollment, the Department of Education has virtually closed Barclay down.

The undercount cut $175,000 from the school budget. Neither the board of education nor the mayor seems to find this outrageous misfeasance worthy of investigation or comment.

One can only conclude that, despite pleas to the contrary,

Baltimore's educators have an agenda other than teaching children. It is time to revisit Delegate Pete Rawlings' legislation that would force higher accountability on Baltimore's Department of Education.

Demands for more education money are fine when you are using what you have wisely. This board of education, hand-picked by the mayor and its superintendent, is not coming to this issue with clean hands.

Its continued efforts to undermine educational efforts that work are a blemish and worse on its stewardship of our children's education.

Wally Orlinsky


Cut drug trade

When will we acknowledge that the increasing bloodshed and terror in our cities and much of the scoffing at law elsewhere is sustained not by drugs, but by the drug trade?

Until, if ever, our people find a way to be self-controlled and constructive we will have many fleeing within their bodies for drug sensations.

In the meantime, we can cut out the easy money, the expanding corruption and the shootings by selling drugs at state or county dispensaries at a self-supporting price.

If those who want to retreat within their bodies could get their "fix" for $5 a day rather than $50 to $100 a day, violent crime would be reduced by more than half.

Won't some other non-drug-users speak out for this cause?

Clark Jones

Bel Air

City's feelings

Dan Rodricks really misses the mark with his criticism of Barry Levinson's "Homicide" (Jan. 10).

No doubt stories of despair, pain and criminality can be found every day in our city, but how many of us really see them?

Often the sadness is shown in a one-minute TV blip that holds our attention just until the commercial.

Newspaper articles might give more information, but can they make us feel? Do they touch our emotions?

Levinson's show can and does. By putting a human face on the tragedy that surrounds us, Levinson engages our hearts as well as our minds. Far from trivializing brutality, he makes sure that we can't look away.

"Homicide" is unmercifully honest and very real. I hear very little public discussion about the importance of keeping downtown safe for suburban whites.

Actor Yaphet Kotto deals with the issue directly, sadly contrasting that unspoken reality to the truth that the murder of a black person blocks away would barely raise eyebrows.

A grieving victim stunned by the cavalier attitude of an investigating detective brings to mind an image of policemen joking around at a murder scene.

The blank stares and nearly incomprehensible dialect of the young thugs reminds us of our distance apart. And yet the callous cops, tormented victims, and ruthless criminals are all portrayed with a degree of humanity that helps us, in some small way, to understand.

TV and newspaper reporting tells us who and what, "Homicide" begins to show how and why.

Here's hoping that Levinson continues to hold his mirror up to our vanishing social fabric. If more of us really "see" it, there may be some reason for hope.

Michael Jankowski


Welfare reform

While I have never been an admirer of Sen. Daniel P. Moynihan, D-N.Y., the puckish chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, I wish every American could have seen his Jan. 9 appearance on NBC's "Meet The Press". . .

There is no crisis in medical care, Mr. Moynahan said. "There is a crisis in welfare. Welfare reform must come first before health care."

Calling the president's statements on welfare reform, "boob bait for the bubbas," the senator said that his committee will not act on health care until the White House sends up a welfare reform bill for his committee to review.

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