Guidance Isn't All about Choosing a CollegeAs coordinator...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

July 29, 1995

Guidance Isn't All about Choosing a College

As coordinator of guidance services for Baltimore public schools, I need to respond to the article of July 6 on the CollegeBound Foundation.

I was quite disappointed to read Jean Thompson's article and find repeated and inexplicable negative references to the Baltimore City public schools and the work of the school guidance counselors.

I am particularly concerned because I have felt that the working relationship between CollegeBound and the Office of Guidance Services has been a highly positive one over the past two years.

To my knowledge, counselors and CollegeBound staff have been working together at all school sites, effectively and without friction. Consequently, I would like to make several points regarding the article.

First of all, the emphasis of CollegeBound being outside the system is misplaced. The relationship is and has been a strong partnership working together to serve the children of Baltimore City.

The vision of Superintendent Walter Amprey has been to reach out to the community and draw in agencies and resources to work in partnership to improve the work of the schools.

Characterizing such efforts as coming from outside an overwhelmed and inefficient system is neither helpful nor accurate.

Secondly, the CollegeBound workers are not guidance counselors in either background or training. They assist the students by disseminating information and helping with the completion of forms etc., but are not qualified to provide guidance to students concerning the college search and selection process.

As the article rightly points out and the research cited supports, last-dollar financing is extremely valuable and can even be decisive in whether a student ultimately chooses college.

The CollegeBound Foundation serves a vitally important role in providing the financial support for students that can mean the difference in college attendance.

No one's interests are served, however, by suggesting that any organization can deliver more than what is actually possible.

Finally, the article refers to two students from the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute in the early 1990s who appear to have received less than adequate guidance services.

Interestingly enough, it was during this period that this school had reduced its guidance staff drastically to try a different model. The results speak for themselves. Last year the school hired additional guidance staff, recognizing the importance of this service.

It is unfortunate that a negative slant characterized what should have been a positive article.

I believe that organizations committed to achieving the same goals for the benefit of children should celebrate each other's successes and join hands in getting the work done. I have tried very hard to make that the goal of all that we do in guidance services.

It is my hope that this approach to partnerships will be adopted by all of those groups that choose to work with the Baltimore city schools on behalf of children.

Patrick J. Perriello

Baltimore

The writer is an assistant superintendent in the Division of Curriculum and Instruction of Baltimore City public schools.

Samuel L. Banks, Lover of Words and Ideas

I was saddened to learn of the death of Samuel Banks.

His ardent responses to the many questions of the day in the letters section of The Sun spoke to his sincere feelings and deep commitment.

While I disagreed at times with his solutions, I always enjoyed and benefited from his writings.

It will be some time before anyone attains his skill and dedication as a dynamic spokesman for the people of Baltimore as well as the rest of Maryland. The letters portion of the paper will suffer as a result of his passing.

R. D. Bush

Columbia

It took only a reading of the first sentence of a letter to the editor to recognize the author as Samuel L. Banks. The gentleman loved words and celebrated their meaning.

One of my contemporaries said a dictionary was needed to understand his commentary, but a conversation with Dr. Banks belied that observation.

His educational and humanitarian accomplishments will surely be emphasized, but this teacher will miss his frequently published outraged reactions to social injustices and his belief in the worth of our youth.

McNair Taylor

Baltimore

I have read and re-read your July 21 editorial on the late Samuel L. Banks and believe, as so often happens with The Sun, that you really missed totally the essence of the man.

You extol mainly his never-ending quest for "justice and equal opportunity. You, in fact, mention at another place in the piece that he was a "tireless champion of equal opportunity."

Where I believe you miss the real man is that he was, of course, so much more. He was so very much more.

Dr. Banks believed in human dignity. He strove for acceptance of all mankind on a simple level of plain "human dignity."

The fact that you saw him only as demanding "improvement in the lives of his fellow African-Americans" is very sad. That makes him out as so very one-dimensional.

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