ReprehensibleLet me get this straight. The Democrats in...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 20, 1994

Reprehensible

Let me get this straight. The Democrats in our legislature, at the urging of the Democratic Party, raised the amount state parties can spend on their candidates from $10,000 to $2 million, but the Maryland Republican Party, in its first competitive election in years, will not be allowed to spend one thin dime on its top candidate -- Ellen Sauerbrey?

The attorney general decided that under the public financing law any state GOP expenditure on behalf of the Sauerbrey campaign will count against the public financing she is receiving.

That legal opinion came from a Democratic attorney general.

The result, after a judge upheld most of the opinion, is that Democratic nominee Parris Glendening can outspend Ellen Sauerbrey by four or five to one, and the state Republican Party must stand by silently.

Am I the only one who finds this reprehensible?

Am I the only one who thinks this is an affront to democracy?

How can we possibly have a fair debating of the issues with this kind of inequity?

Maryland Democrats are under the gun for the first time in recent political memory. That they would resort to using the powers of their offices in silencing political opposition proves they have been in power far too long.

Attorney General Joe Curran should be ashamed of this blatantly political opinion. It is unfair to Ellen Sauerbrey and to all Maryland citizens who want to hear an honest, fair debate between the candidates for governor.

Perhaps this arrogance of power is the best reason to clean house this November and elect Republicans for a change.

Tucker Clagett

Upper Marlboro

Means to an End

I found Neal Peirce's piece on contractual education (Opinion * Commentary, Sept. 26) amusing in a sort of "where have you been?" way.

It has been apparent to me that since the evolvement of the governor's Excellence 2000 meeting that the states have

decided to ditch the public school system onto private enterprise.

What is the most disappointing thing about this "goal" is that instead of just doing it outright through the democratic process, they have set up these performance farces to establish a so-called need for contractual education.

Once their goal is met and all public education is privatized, then we will see a return to a fundamental education and the end of "outcomes" and performances.

In the meantime, we have the lost generation in an educational, political chess game to avoid dealing with unions and voters, and like idiots we all sit by while it happens.

Whether or not contractual services are good, better or best is not the issue.

The issue is to what means are we willing to go to change the system? I, for one, am very resentful of the assumption that my children can be used as a means toward this eventual end.

Kathryn L. Schultz

Baltimore

Superintendent Amprey on EAI Test Scores

Because of its negative tone, I feel I must respond to Gary

Gately's Oct. 18 report on the release of our most recent standardized test results.

In Baltimore, we have been involved in a tremendous amount of discussion about the issue of privatization in education. Most of this discussion has focused on one company that is engaged in partnerships with educators -- Education Alternatives Inc.

It is essential for us to step back and look at this issue in the global terms it deserves. We must understand that we are the victims of our own narrow-minded thinking, and our children are fast becoming the victims of that thinking. This is reflected in the failure of our schools.

The concept of public-private partnership, particularly as it pertains to school management, breaks with tradition -- and does so in a positive way.

It is normal to question an unorthodox technique. We understand the public's need to investigate, to scrutinize, to hesitate. The public should be questioning us -- and participating in the decision we make for their children.

As a result, we have responded completely and honestly to relevant queries about our contracts with EAI and other private sector organizations.

If we can collectively focus on the end result -- that is, on our children and what we want for them -- and if we can stop squabbling over the vehicle that will take them to that end, then we will be happier and feel better about our future and the future of our posterity.

Elevating a discrepancy in standardized test scores to the level of scandal does the citizens of Baltimore, and especially our children, a great disservice. Moreover, it is irresponsible to manufacture a "controversy" based on such early test results.

At this point, no one can use standardized tests to determine whether EAI students are achieving better or worse than their counterparts.

Standardized tests are longitudinal instruments. Results rely heavily on patterns of test administration and conditions. We cannot have test reliability or validity so early in this undertaking.

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