State should have bigger role in schoolsI am in support of...

SATURDAY MAIL BOX

January 27, 1996

State should have bigger role in schools

I am in support of the proposal to have the state share the administration of local schools. I have taught in the Baltimore City schools for the past 22 1/2 years and I have seen them turn from good to bad to worse.

The school system gets $420 million from the state and very little of that money gets to the classrooms and/or the students. For many years I have spent my own money supplementing the curriculum. Many of my colleagues have done the same.

Every time the state asks for improvement in the schools, the city school administration attacks the teaching force. The city school administration needs to reduce the size of the administrative, supervisory and support positions at the North Avenue headquarters.

The administration and the board measure their success by ''pet'' projects implemented at a small number of schools. Millions of eduction dollars were lost with Education Alternatives Inc.

Baltimore schools have not justified what they do with the dollars they already get from the state. I don't blame the state, the city schools should not get one cent more until it justifies the increase with substantial improvements or more state involvement.

Collis D. Patterson

Baltimore

Close-knit Essex needs revitalization

Congratulations to Baltimore County for developing plans to invigorate the Essex area.

Hard times have come to rest on all parts of the county, and very particularly on Essex, and that's unfortunate.

I grew up in Essex and have since retreated to Harford County, as have many of my childhood friends. But I, for one, left my heart in Essex.

What I have been and am now rests on what I learned in my family home in Essex. My brother still lives in our family home in what has always been a close-knit neighborhood.

Wonderful neighbors helped us through the death of our mother in 1970 and the death of our dad a few years ago. Tears come to my eyes as I think back on fond memories in Essex.

So to learn that the hard times and unfortunate economics are not being ignored is a source of joy.

Jim Antal

Fallston

Confederate heroes get snow cleared

I read Mayor Kurt Schmoke's defense of Baltimore City's snow removal efforts in the Jan. 19 Sun with interest. His comments contrast with what I observed from my home three days earlier.

On Jan. 16, while it was still being reported that many city streets were impassable and that parents were concerned that many school bus stops were blocked with snow, forcing children to stand in the street, I observed a city work crew spend most of the day clearing snow from around the statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson at the corner of Art Museum Drive and Wyman Park Drive.

The crew delivered by a Baltimore City work truck included a front-end loader, several men with snow blowers and several more with shovels. They worked diligently for most of the day. The front-end loader was especially effective. By late afternoon, the area around the statues was completely clear of snow.

One has to question the sense of priority that would place snow removal from around a monument above snow removal from streets and school bus stops.

If Mayor Schmoke thinks snow removal from a Confederate war memorial is more important than clear streets and school bus stops, then perhaps he should take a course in city management and forget about being a career politician for a while.

Jon K. Ayscue

Baltimore

Mental illness, police response

I was appalled when I read about the shooting of Betty Keat, a 64-year-old woman, by two city police officers.

The woman was obviously mentally ill. Is mental illness now part of the criteria for justifiable homicide? Could not four policemen restrain this woman's knife-wielding arm or, if deadly force had to be used, disable her in the legs?

This woman was shot because she was mentally ill and the police were not aware of an alternative action for handling this explosive situation. This case demonstrates the need we have for further training within the police department.

Our police officers are supposed to protect the public -- yes, even from themselves at times. Police officers should not go around shooting those who have committed no crime just because they have failed to restrain them.

C'mon fellas. The knife-wielding arm of a 64-year-old woman against four adult males in the police department? That's a little too much to swallow.

inda J. Haller

Havre de Grace

Conservative hits abusive behavior

The current conservative movement in this country, heavily influenced by Rush Limbaugh, has some distasteful side effects, including dogmatism, arrogance and hate-mongering.

Why do many people choose a demagogue who is so divisive?

Instead of tastefully disagreeing with the views of a liberal, those of us who are conservative are taught by example to be verbally abusive. Is this truly an intelligent display? Such ignorant discourse is trickling down to the local sphere.

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