Hold teachers accountable for learningWhen the Baltimore...


April 26, 1994

Hold teachers accountable for learning

When the Baltimore City "Taj Mahal" of North Avenue, namely the "headquarters" of the Kurt Schmoke-instigated center of power for Baltimore centralized political school leadership, fails miserably as it has, then the next power base up the ladder, the State Board of Education, must act.

Don't say, as alleged by Roger Kuhn (Perspective, April 17) that the individual school and its individual teachers and administrators are free from the responsibility, vested in the teaching profession, to improve the educational skills of the students.

Don't say, in 1994, that Ronald Reagan caused indifference to exist in high school-aged students not even in the first grade in 1983.

Don't say that private and magnet schools take away the best and the brightest of the children, leaving only the most difficult to teach, thus straining the dedication, knowledge and worthiness of the teaching staff.

Don't say the politics of reality in a bureaucracy the size of Baltimore City board of education compromises the degree of interest exhibited by teachers.

Should the citizens of Baltimore concern themselves with the efforts of the notoriously fickle and thin-skinned Maryland State Teachers Association to protect its own image? Of course they should.

Do the citizens of Baltimore pay dearly for the services of these overpaid and over-perked teachers who most often handle their 8 a.m.-3 p.m. job with just enough effort to get by the day and start again tomorrow? Of course they do.

To claim the Maryland School Performance Program is a bsurd because it assigns a low-scoring student body to a "zoned" high school and then absolves itself from past omissions is an often played excuse from the Maryland State Teachers Association.

Where were all these ninth graders who "haven't a prayer of success" the previous eight years? Who taught them? Who gave them tests? Who motivated them to learn?

Who passed from eighth to ninth grades students who can't read at a fifth grade level or add or subtract or divide at a fourth grade level?

Do we blame Gov. William Donald Schaefer or former President Reagan? Roger Kuhn does.

Why? Because if these schools are privatized, teachers will be hired by the company awarded the contract, not by another union member of the powerful and vocal teachers association.

This dilutes the perceived importance of the teachers association.

And what happens if, as expected, the private contractor improves the test scores, enhances the will and attitude of more students to succeed and improves the quality of life at these schools?

No, the teachers and the students don't soldier on, the teachers just mark time.

Eugene J. Daly Jr.


Not a good year

It's an election year, so let's remember the clowns in Annapolis who were in such a hurry to go home that they did not do a good job. They watered down bills, did not pass some that should have passed, omitted some altogether.

L It was not a good session by any stretch of the imagination.

Bob Crooks


City markets

It was depressing to read April 20 that the merchants in the city's six municipal markets face rent increases. Baltimore City "wants to scale back the city's annual $700,000 subsidy for the markets."

Everyone knows that the city is under pressure to meet its expenses and balance its budget. But making it tougher for the small businessmen who sell in the world famous city markets is not a good idea.

They affect their neighborhoods, whose surrounding businesses owe a great deal to the positive ambience created by the markets.

Has anybody calculated the money coming into the treasury from the filled-up parking meters surrounding the markets? I suspect that it is a lot more than the $700,000 subsidy gap.

Has anybody considered the higher assessments in the adjacent areas which also increase the city's gain from having the markets with their merchants?

How about the positive help the markets give the neighboring businesses in making taxable earnings?

Has any thought been given to putting in turnstiles for adults who enter the market areas? A small fee, like a nickel, fed into turnstiles by all who visit the markets as potential customers would quickly mount up.

If people knew that the small fee was to keep these Baltimore institutions alive and well, few would object. It seems to me such an idea or similar ones should be tried out.

Before increasing the overhead on the merchants brave enough to keep on trying for all our sakes, shouldn't every idea be tried out?

I think that the risk of losing the markets and the real "Bawlamer" fun they generate would galvanize a lot of ideas for keeping them going.

Antonio Diaz


Medical questions

Hillary Rodham Clinton asked at the Johns Hopkins Medical School April 18, if you have insurance today, are you sure you will have it for the same price, for the same benefits, this time next year?

My question to her would be, under her plan, what benefits would we have today, what will be the cost today, and where would our doctors be today, and then how much more debt would we have next year?

And are we sure we would have the same plan, at the same cost and benefits next year?

vTC I have also heard that under her plan, the president, other officials in government and Congress would be exempt from her health insurance plan.

If this is true, why should they be exempt if her plan is so good for us? If her plan is good enough for us, it should be good enough for persons who make the laws.

I hope that what is best for the American people will prevail when this health issue is resolved.

Raymond E. Smith


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