New GroundMaryland's School Performance Assessment Program...


June 02, 1994

New Ground

Maryland's School Performance Assessment Program makes the state a leader in an emerging nationwide effort to raise educational standards and learning.

Maryland was one of five states whose initiatives were presented last month to the governing board for the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The National Assessment is developing performance standards for nationwide tests, and these standards resemble Maryland's program.

The efforts to set higher educational standards for the National Assessment and for Maryland's students demonstrate the costs and benefits of leadership. The costs are apparent in terms of the controversy generated.

Those who are first to develop higher standards and ways of measuring them must devote considerable time and resources to address real and perceived problems.

You are breaking new ground, so things can and will go wrong.

These "bumps in the road" are occurring in every state that is attempting to set higher educational standards, create ways of measuring them and provide help for more students to reach higher standards.

Maryland should not abandon this direction just because there are bumps in the road.

Mark D. Musick


The writer is president, Southern Regional Education Board, and chairman for the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Smoke Screen

Your May 27 front-page article detailed the subversion of the democratic process by Bruce Bereano, Maryland's super lobbyist.

Citizens must have been angry to learn that their elected officials had to use their votes to please Mr. Bereano, who controls hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from a dozen political action committees. These public servants, hired to represent us, need that money to get re-elected.

This is called "buying votes" in plain English, paid for by groups like the Tobacco Institute, whose special interests may have nothing to do with the public interest.

This story should be taught to high school students as "Maryland Civics 101: the way politics really works."

Your article illustrates clearly that the law is woefully inadequate as written. When Mr. Bereano "maxed out" at the allowable contribution of one PAC, he just created a few more.

As a physician insured by the state's largest malpractice company, I am embarrassed that the Medical Mutual Insurance Co. retains as its lobbyist the man most responsible for promoting the tobacco epidemic in our state.

Tobacco is by far our No. 1 public health problem. The association between this physician-owned insurance company and Mr. Bereano seems grossly inappropriate.

Joseph Adams, M.D.


Questioning Job Commitment

Concerning their May 26 comments about the City of Baltimore residency requirement for municipal employees, I feel obliged to inform Charles Green, Melvin Johnson and Robert Leonard that since 1916 there have been legal controls on land use in this country (i.e., zoning) which "tell people where they may and may not live."

There is nothing un-American about it. American courts have upheld the assertion that where a compelling public interest is at stake (certainly the economic health of the region's engine -- the city of Baltimore -- qualifies) or when public health, safety, morals or general welfare must be protected, jurisdictions have the right to regulate how land may be used, including telling people where they may or may not make their homes.

One must not confuse employer mandates with infringements on personal liberties. Upon accepting any given employment, we all accept certain restrictions and requirements.

Our employers may force us to get up earlier than we would like, to travel when and where we do not wish and ask us to use our cars or ride the bus (possibly against our preferences) to reach the employment sites. These are some of the facts of accepting any employment, even self-employment.

Finally, I offer some assistance to Baltimore Police Officer Raygina Cooper-McLamb. Officer Cooper-McLamb says she can't think of a good reason to live in the city. I offer these five for starters:

* Be part of the community she serves.

* Reduce her commute time and thereby reduce her part of the region's air pollution problem (and increase her time with her family or friends at home).

* Contribute to the long-term solution of the problems she faces every day as a police officer.

* Understand her work better.

* Make Baltimore a safer, healthier, more stable place for a police officer to work.

Officer Cooper-McLamb seems to think there is no violence in Harford County. I think she is mistaken.

She suggests people don't vandalize personal property there and kids in Harford schools don't get beaten up. I wish I could believe her.

If the very people entrusted to make this city a safer place by day are unwilling to stay here after dark, citizens must question the public servants' commitment to their jobs.

William Gimpel


Much Nothing

Mary Corey's article April 23 on Mrs. Clinton's hair trivializes the first lady and her activities.

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