EMG vs. Md. IntechThe brouhaha over the 72 people...


July 30, 1995

EMG vs. Md. Intech

The brouhaha over the 72 people entertained by Educational Management Group, Inc., for weekend trips to the company's home offices draws attention once more to the terrible lack of communication between the state and county education systems in Maryland.

The primary justification for the trips appears to be that EMG is presenting a unique service that is available nowhere else.

Only a few short years ago, four to be exact, those same people could have received almost exactly the same kind of introduction to, and demonstrations of, interactive television systems right here in Maryland at Maryland Intech in Owings Mills.

The package also included a vast range of educational materials designed specifically for television, incorporating already accepted and established teaching outlines and guidelines in use in the Maryland schools.

Somehow, the message never reached those people. The reason it did not is probably that it would have cost the county governments a million or so dollars each to install the equipment, and it could not possibly accept an idea from the state that would cost the county money.

Much better that the county should wait a few years and pay four or five times as much to purchase a much less effective system on its own out-of-state.

The former Maryland Intech was a division of the state Department of Education originally established 20 years ago to produce educational television programs.

It received national recognition for the quality of its products; many of them are still in daily use nationwide.

A few years ago the outfit changed the name to Maryland Intech because of its growing involvement with computers and other electronic teaching equipment.

The emphasis then centered upon putting all the developing electronic mechanisms to the best possible use in meeting the changing needs in education.

Interactive television (where students can talk to the televised instructor as though he/she was in the same room) was one of Maryland Intech's strongest and most fully developed educational packages, but its weakest point was the cost of the equipment.

The state would not pay for it for the counties, and the counties would not pay for a state toy, so nothing happened.

Then-Gov. William Donald Schaefer evened an old score by disbanding the entire production division, and the years of work went down the tubes.

The counties can now go out and pay an out-of-state agency four times what it would have cost them to get the same technology through their own state.

How many more times will this scene be repeated before the school systems learn to share their advances?

Gene Griffin


Following Biblical Commands

I wish to respond to the July 19 commentary by John Brain on the action of the Episcopal Bishop of Easton in stripping the authority of a retired priest because he blessed the union of two gay men dying of AIDS.

In my opinion -- and I believe in the opinion of many orthodox Episcopalians -- this was the bishop's proper disciplinary

recourse in response to an act of disobedience against the church, to say nothing of an act against the revealed commands of God.

The church has always rejected homosexual unions as contrary to the laws of God and nature because that is the clear understanding of the Scriptures.

In their ordinance service all bishops state: "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, I . . . solemnly declare that I do believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, and to contain all things necessary to salvation; and I do solemnly engage to conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church."

Love of one's neighbor was certainly a central theme of Jesus, but he did not speak of erotic (eros) or brotherly (philios) love but of agape, a higher love -- like the love that Jesus has for us.

Part of agape love is desiring for one's neighbor that which God desires for them, as revealed in the Old and New Testaments. "Thy will be done" assumes that what we want for one another and ourselves is that which our holy, righteous and loving Father wants for us.

Sometimes that means saying the hard word -- "tough love" as it's called today.

Perhaps an appropriate response to the two men dying of AIDS on the part of the retired priest would have been to have declared to them God's mercy and love for them, and his willingness to forgive their sins through the most loving and selfless act of all: Jesus' death on the cross in the place of all of us sinners.

After confession, he then would have pronounced the blessing of absolution.

The Episcopal Church is in a crisis of authority right now: Who will determine our moral limits?

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