Epicenter of State's Area Code Shake-upI read Michael...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 17, 1995

Epicenter of State's Area Code Shake-up

I read Michael Dresser's article about the proposed area codes for Maryland with much interest since our family has already endured what the Shock family hopes will not happen to them.

In case anyone forgot, we went through area code changes in Maryland several years ago.

I live in Howard County, which was one of the most affected areas then since we have both 301 and 410 exchanges within this county.

As a matter of fact, our family has two phone lines, and guess what! We already have two area codes within our home. To call myself, I would have to use 10 digits. Within the Dayton community (only 450 homes), there are at least five phone exchanges which cross both area codes. To call the neighborhood to one side I use 301, and to the other I use 410.

To make matters worse, has anyone checked the map you published? Howard County is showing that all four of the codes would exist within our county lines.

The situation is such that in 1997 to call just within my little community I would need to know four different area codes.

Mr. Dresser does little to elicit a sympathetic response from me for either Montgomery County or the Shock family when faced with the changes Howard County residents will face.

People of the state should face the fact that the need for increased numbers of phone numbers will not go away and teach the children (and themselves) to think of phone numbers as having 10 digits. You might be surprised how many people will call and leave phone numbers without giving an area code.

I have gotten quite good at being a detective and figuring out which one it is of the two area codes, but I do not look forward to having to search through four.

To further confuse the issue is the fact that, even now, some of the phone numbers in one area code are long distance to other numbers in the same area code, but are a local call to some numbers in the other area code.

There are times I will dial a number from both my lines only to find out it is long distance from both which means I have to dial it a third time and add the "1" in front. Does this mean with four area codes that Howard countians' dialing woes will be doubled -- or squared?

Kay F. Sauers

Dayton

School Accountability

There's a lot of discussion lately about what needs to be done to improve our schools. Some suggest year-round schools. Others suggest smaller classrooms. Still others suggest higher salaries for teachers.

I'd like to present my own observations. . . . Quality education shouldn't only teach what students want to learn, but also what the student must know to function in our complex society. This includes a stronger emphasis in the basics of education. Our students must have an ability to read well and a working knowledge of math. True science and accurate history are important also.

Far too much time and effort is spent highlighting self-esteem and other social concepts. Our children are being taught evolution as an historical fact instead of a scientific theory. Many students are not spending quality time on homework assignments related to the learning process. Our schools should be not only a place to socialize, but a place to mature, learn moral values, personal responsibility, discipline and prepare the mind for functioning in a complex and complicated world. We must see to it that students graduating from our public schools have a proper command of written and spoken English.

So what is the solution to the problems facing our public schools? There are many things I could say about the importance of school choice, class size, discipline and many other school related topics. But I'd like to focus on accountability.

We need to drastically reduce the size of the upper bureaucracy and put more funds directly into the classrooms. Teachers and ** parents should be given greater input into the learning process. Pay raises should be based primarily on the teacher's ability and performance in the classroom.

Parents are also accountable for their children's education. Quality education means work. Sometimes, it might require burning the midnight oil. Every parent should take a great interest in what the school is doing. Parents need to motivate their children to take learning seriously. Finally, students must be held accountable for their own learning. We must not be afraid to "flunk" a child who doesn't measure up to the basic required learning. We must be fair, understanding and yet demanding of our students.

Ken Miller

Columbia

GOP Then and Now

A recent letter said that we needed to look back in history to 1896 and 1920 to see the Republican Party's commitment to women's rights, and that the Republicans got the vote for women.

Well, from where I stand, they haven't done very much in that area since. Any one who doesn't give higher marks to the Democratic Party, in women's advancement, has limited vision.

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