The End of Summer, Forever?Since I am writing this on the...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 18, 1994

The End of Summer, Forever?

Since I am writing this on the first day of school, I feel the urge to write the obligatory first-day assignment: "How I Spent My Summer Vacation."

As the mother of two boys (eight and six years old) and a 3-year-old girl, I'd like to report that we enjoyed the best that the summer has to offer.

We spent countless days at the pool, rode bikes, waded in the stream where we caught crawfish, started a bug collection, attended the Howard County Fair, spent a week at the beach and visited family and friends we're too busy to spend much time with during the school year. . . .

But through all the magic of this summer and memories of summers past, one dark cloud hung over our heads: the realization that the Board of Education and Governor Schaefer may soon take all of this away by forcing us to change to a year-round school calendar.

I realize that these are intangible reasons to keep the traditional school calendar but I feel that they are at least as important as the studies that show no evidence indicating increases in academic achievement in year-round schools, or the dispute over increased operational costs of year-round schools. . . .

This two-month stretch of time that our family spends together every summer is invaluable to us as parents . . . and to our children. . . .

Anyone who wants more information about the more tangible reasons for us to reject the idea of year-round schools in Howard County can contact the Coalition Against Year-Round Schools (CAYRS) at: P.O. Box 151, Highland, MD, 20777 or call 410-740-4239.

. Heather Tepe

Columbia

Schools: Parents are the Problem

I can't imagine anyone reading the propaganda printed by The Sun in its voters' guide (Aug. 28). Apparently, the League of Women Voters (probably the most partisan of all nonpartisan organizations) helped create this monstrosity. It just shows the limits of most Americans in the government process.

The question about schools posed to candidates showed the tainted objectivity of the league. Instead of asking something like "What is wrong with the Maryland system of education, primary, secondary and higher, and what can be done?," the League/Sun asks about equity funding (the latest buzzwords) and privatization. As anyone with a little common sense knows, neither of these "concepts" has anything to do with the root of non-learning.

The real problem is parents. It is not funding, curricula, teachers, self-esteem, technological equity, etc. It is the lack of discipline and support. With today's distractions -- movies, TV, sports, shopping, etc., many parents provide little discipline.

If we want to really improve education, then we should be looking at the Asian-American family for guidance. According to tests this group is producing the ideal student. Why do we continue to blame everything else but ourselves?

After discipline -- doing homework, attending school, proper conduct -- comes support. Unfortunately, many parents either are unable or refuse to help their child learn. They expect the schools to do everything and provide no support at home. A good example of this is Head Start. We give all this assistance to preschoolers and then the ball is dropped after the children enter school.

Reading through the pap that candidates provided in response to the question, it seemed they were like a group of lemmings, merely jumping on the current fad. Of the dozens of politicians, black and white, male and female, young and old, no one mentioned parents as the main problem. But I guess it is understandable, since most of our ills, and there are many, can be found in our irresponsibility, low morals and self-interest.

At least in 1996, the league will only have to fill in the current buzzwords to form a question on schools for The Sun's voters guide.

R. D. Bush

Columbia

An attack and assault on a Long Reach path in early August touches on the topic of accountability and discipline in our schools and in our community which we must address. The nine offenders involved in the attack of three Howard High School freshman need some serious help. Who is at fault? How did this happen? Is it the parents, the school or the community who have failed, or all three combined?

Because seven of these youth were juveniles and their records are kept confidential, we may not even be told if they have a previous record. When they turn 18, their juvenile record is basically wiped clear to give them a "fresh" start.

Kudos to the Howard County school system for barring these students for 30 days from the privilege of attending their neighborhood public school. However, this is just a slap on the wrist -- one youth has already been seen on the grounds of Howard High as school was letting out. This group will return to their peers with another "badge of honor," another chuckle at the system that protects their rights more than the rights of the victim.

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