Keep the Parents in the Discipline LoopJames Swab...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 01, 1994

Keep the Parents in the Discipline Loop

James Swab, president of the Howard County Education Association, wrote on school discipline in his letter to the editor (April 3). I am a parent of two children in the Howard County public school system, with another due to enter in 1995. I have been involved in the classrooms and with the Parent-Teacher Association since our first child entered kindergarten in 1985.

As an educator and parent, I agree wholeheartedly with the statement that "classroom teachers cannot maintain such an atmosphere of discipline without the help of parents," referring to discipline which should be substantive, caring, responsible and nurturing.

Unfortunately, each time I have requested that I, as a supportive parent, be brought into the "loop" early when a discipline problem arose with one of my children, I have been told that the teachers like to try to handle it themselves first. Unfortunately, the message that comes across to the students is that they can get away with certain behaviors and parents will not be called in until the situation reaches near-crisis proportions. We parents are then notified of recurring problems, of which we were not aware. . . . Mr. Swab, let's get the message out to our county teachers that they hold the key to this one. I cannot help if I do not know what is going on. As stated in the article, "I have taught my child better than that. What can I do to help?" Allow me the chance to say this before my child thinks he can get away with it for a while.

afa Sturdivant

Columbia

Ecker's Election

A recent article on County Executive Charles I. Ecker's re-election announcement incorrectly characterized the Howard County Republican Party's motive for recruiting Chuck as a candidate in 1990, and I appreciate this opportunity to set the record straight.

The April 6 story stated that the county Republican leaders viewed Ecker as a "stalking horse" who had no chance of winning, and who upset the political apple cart when he did. As the Republican Party chairwoman at the time, and the person primarily responsible for recruiting Ecker, I can state unequivocally that such a characterization is patently untrue. Ecker was drafted for a serious, no-holds-barred run at victory. What is true is that none of the purveyors of the so-called "conventional wisdom," including The Sun, believed he could win (despite the party's efforts to persuade you otherwise).

A "stalking horse," according to Webster's, is "a candidate put forward to divide the opposition or to conceal someone's real candidacy," a compliant place-holder in a political bait-and-switch scheme. Even if we were that cunning, Ecker would have been a highly unlikely choice for the party to place in such a role. . . .

Ecker was neither a "stalking horse" nor a "sacrificial lamb" nor any other animal in the political menagerie. He was recruited as the best possible man for a tough job by a resurgent and confident political organization. We believed that success was possible with hard work and good breaks, and so did he. Trust me, I'm a lot tougher now than I was four years ago, but in 1990 . . . I never could have dreamed of anything so cynical.

Carol A. Arscott

Ellicott City

Columbia's Budget

I have read the continuing letters in this and other publications concerning the Columbia Association. My family and I have lived and raised our children in Columbia for more than 15 years. . . .

When I first moved here, I was excited about the prospect of a management organization that would have the interests of the citizens at heart. Time proved me wrong. Instead, I found an arrogant, insensitive organization which refused to change with the needs of the community. . . .

My CA assessment has doubled over the period, but my ability to enjoy the facilities for which I have paid continues to decline. The citizens in this community are concerned and some are angry. CA has treated itself to financial rewards at a time when many of the people who are paying the bills have lost their jobs or have received no salary increments. Services which this community badly needs are ignored in favor of endless recreational programs which are beyond the financial reach of most of the community: pools that are too expensive for many people and physical fitness facilities that are available only to those with money. These facilities are necessary, but one would think that in an enlightened community ways would be found to make them affordable. One has only to look at the YMCA in Ellicott City for an example of that principle.

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