The Right To Watch Nude DanceI am surprised and appalled...

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

February 27, 1994

The Right To Watch Nude Dance

I am surprised and appalled at the narrow-minded prudishness displayed in your editorial of Feb. 14 on nude dancing at an establishment called Good Guys in Howard County. That some of the local politicos exhibit such a puritanical attitude is no longer a surprise, but that it comes from a newspaper that supposedly cares about the First Amendment and freedom of expression is something else.

. . . I am in no way associated with Good Guys and have not even been a customer. I simply care about the constitutional rights of us all.

What really is so terrible about nude dancing that you would wish the establishment where it occurs would be made to go away via "public strangulation"? Is anyone really harmed by nude dancing or looking at nude dancers? No. . . . I had assumed that making such choices were rights of free citizens of the United States.

You accuse the operator of the establishment of "the kind of bungling charade that makes the Nancy Kerrigan attack look sophisticated." But it is not the entrepreneur who is the attacker here. . . . The thugs here are the makers of Big Brother-style restrictions on free expression and the enforcers of those restrictions. . . .

Kenneth A. Stevens

Savage

SAT Results

Staff Writer Lan Nguyen summarized the latest (1993) Scholastic Assessment Test scores for Howard County in The Sun Jan. 30. While she stated that "universities use the multiple-choice SAT as an entrance exam and as a predictor of success in college," I would tend to consider it more of a universal comparison tool to be used by colleges as a common denominator for estimating student achievement. Then, The Sun offered an editorial on Feb. 2 on the same subject.

What is intriguing is that The Sun is so interested in breaking down the scores by race. Even gender is ignored. The Sun concludes that "the school system must address this problem [of African-American low ranking]; not only must students be made to understand the importance of the test, but also $H African-American parents." You don't walk into the test and automatically get a 1,300 score. The SAT is a cumulative result of what kind of effort students have put forward over a period of years.

Just as Head Start is of no value if parents don't provide support and discipline during the rest of the learning years, SAT scores will not rise for everyone until all parents provide the proper environment over time. Also, unless public higher education institutions in Maryland raise their academic requirements, there no need to do well on the SATs.

The editorial states that "the best pattern that could develop among Howard's SAT scores is one that builds on the school system's successes and propels all students to uniformly high achievement." . . . It would seem to me that an explanation of why Asian-Americans did, and continue to do, so well would help to solve the mystery of differing scores, at least on a racial basis.

R. D. Bush

Columbia

Snow On Your TV

Is there anything more nauseating than the local TV news coverage of the recent bad weather? Thank God for newspapers, videos and the off button on my TV.

This was a few inches of ice and snow, not the plague, not an earthquake or the overthrow of our elected leaders. Unfortunately . . . in the next few days we will be bombarded

by endless self-promotion on which station had the best and most exclusive snow coverage. Pass the comics, please.

Lynn Gregg

Columbia

Centennial's Hard Work

I'm writing in response to Ben Wyskida's letter headlined "School Resources and Journalistic Excellence" in the Feb. 13 issue of The Sun for Howard County.

It's amazing to me how many times hard work and accomplishments at Centennial High School are attributed to the mistaken notion that CHS is "spoiled" by the Department of Education. It is absolutely untrue that the journalism program at Centennial has been treated any differently than any other journalism program in this county.

Mr. Wyskida claims that we were the first school "to be able to afford the technology" of desktop publishing. Nobody dropped anything into our laps. Half of the six Macintosh computers Mr. Wyskida refers to were earned with Giant register receipts by CHS parents. The others were acquired over a four-year period through hard work and good management.

The only reason CHS has a telephone line in the journalism room is because we were willing to attempt a pilot project offered to us by Gannett/Apple Inc. which required a modem. The scanner referred to belongs to the whole school and the "large, workable journalism room" is the old driver's ed room made obsolete when that program was cut. Journalism was assigned to the room so that there would be room to compose a paper. If Howard's paper is composed in "a veritable closet," that is a school-based decision, not a Department of Education decision.

Yes, we have a 47-member staff. That is so because the staff and adviser have built a solid reputation as a good paper, and students want to be a part of it. Students voluntarily sign up for classes. Howard's 13-member staff is unfortunate but has absolutely nothing to do with inequity in the school system.

I resent the implication that our newspaper, Wingspan, has gotten where it has because we've been given so much. I've spent the last 7 1/2 years of my career working long hours after school with a dedicated staff to build the paper into what it is. The $10,000 budget Mr. Wyskida refers to is the revenue we earn through advertising and fund-raising.

His suggestion that we are given more than others is misleading. . . . The stipend given to each journalism department and to each journalism adviser by the Department of Education is exactly the same.

Kathy Baer

Columbia

N The writer is journalism adviser at Centennial High School.

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