Mixing rich and poor in schools isn't the issueI read...

LETTERS

April 07, 1996

Mixing rich and poor in schools isn't the issue

I read Andrea F. Siegel's article entitled, "Plans for 2 Schools Concern Parents," in The Sun for Anne Arundel on March 27. The comment Eileen Eaton made concerning mixing the wealthy students from the Chesapeake Bay Middle School area with the lower-income students of the George Fox Middle School area is ridiculous. I can't believe a Parent-Teacher-Student Organization president would even think this should have some basis on who goes to which public school. I do not believe income should be a determining factor when deciding who gets a good education and who doesn't, nor should it be a factor when determining who goes to which public school. I hate to break the news to Ms. Eaton, but $3,500 is not a lot of money in this day. She or any other parents who think their children are too wealthy to be going to "public" school with poor kids should really consider sending their wealthy children to private schools. It seems to me that all of us are paying taxes to build these public schools, not just the wealthy.

Comments such as Ms. Eaton's are the reason a rivalry has existed over the years between Chesapeake and Northeast high schools. I believe students of both schools have worked hard to get along. Maybe it's time for parents to start doing the same.

I do want to add that I do admire folks such as Ms. Eaton who give their time and energy for such wonderful work as the PTSO. But she really needs to know that personal income is not what it's all about. It's our children's futures we should be concerned with.

Colleen Johnson

Pasadena

State employees need collective voice

I have been a state employee for about 10 years and have worked for the Department of Housing and Community Development for a little more than four years. I have an associate's degree in communications and am currently continuing my education to receive an associate's degree in business and public administration.

I am currently a fiscal clerk III at the Department of Housing and Community Development and enjoy my job very much.

What I don't enjoy is sitting back and watching my fellow employees be terminated after 15 years or so of loyal service for the state. What I also do not enjoy is watching levels of management be created with salaries at the top of the scale, while other employees are passed over for promotions and denied salary increments.

I believe there is a lot of streamlining that can be done to state agencies, but I don't believe the way to do it is to get rid of your seniors, your career workers, so you can hire friends in management-level positions at the top of the scale.

The state should not have to have a flood or a blizzard to remind people of what state employees do: We supervise about 25,000 inmates; make sure about a quarter-billion dollars in annual child support gets paid; provide top-notch parks to about 10 million visitors; get consumer information to 200,000 senior citizens; provide millions in loans for low-income families to purchase housing, and make sure hundreds of Section 8 recipients get housing assistance.

So why not treat us with the same respect and dignity nearly every other working person gets? For all the value that we provide, we have been getting a lot of unfair treatment from Annapolis and from state management staff.

Collective bargaining will give us the right to a voice on the job. A voice and a little respect can go a long way to making Maryland a better place to work and to live.

Cynthia R. Foard

Glen Burnie

Community service mandate still wrong

As good as The Sun editorial staff makes it sound, mandatory community service to graduate from high school is wrong. I guess The Sun forgets that we live in America.

I'm glad that my children have left the system. I would have vigorously opposed their being made to provide such service, although I would have supported any effort they made on their own. This is another glaring example of government intervention into the freedom of its citizens. I'm surprised it has not been opposed more strongly. Let's end this program.

R. P. Salmon

Linthicum

Paramedics worth no less than football

What is wrong with our priorities? I am referring to an article in The Sun on March 21 concerning lawsuits initiated by Baltimore and Anne Arundel County paramedics in order to recover back pay for overtime.

Recently, I experienced a cardiac crisis and needed their services. I thank God I had access to their skills. I doubt that anyone who has needed emergency medical treatment would disagree with the value of this community resource.

However, it appears after reading the article that there is a politically driven effort to strip this essential resource of the support it deserves. The paramedics are being forced to claw and scrape for overtime money they justly earned.

In contrast to this, our political leaders have burdened us with a huge debt, which we must accept whether or not we like football. They assert that having a National Football League team will improve our economy and national image. These assertions may be true. But how can we give such weight to a seven-month entertainment business yet push our modern-day "nightingales" to the bottom of the barrel even though they are out there 24 hours a day saving lives?

I suggest we support both entities. But shouldn't our priority be life over football? I know mine is.

Catherine A. Abruzzo

Severna Park

Pub Date: 4/07/96

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