State using city as scapegoat on schoolsThe Sun just...


July 19, 1996

State using city as scapegoat on schools

The Sun just doesn't get it (July 15, ''Clock is ticking for schools partnership''). To insinuate that the people of Baltimore should be outraged at the mayor for employing a strategy to make the state of Maryland do what it should have been doing for years is ludicrous.

Get your facts straight. The state has failed and is using the city as a scapegoat. The state is obligated to equitably fund all schools. The city has a poverty-stricken school district. The state is obligated to fund the city's poverty-stricken schools, even if it takes more money to do so.

Over the years, the state has as a policy under-funded Baltimore City schools; no wonder, with Montgomery and some of the other more powerful counties vying for substantial portions of the education funds. The city is not able to manage schools because it has never been given enough money to do so.

The city filed suit. The state got angry. The state began to use tactics to punish the city and whip it into shape. Montgomery County even tried to jump on the backlash bandwagon. The main tactic employed by the state is the threat of withholding money. That is wrong, wrong, wrong. How can a poverty-stricken, under-funded, financially strapped school system function on even less? It can't, and the people should know it.

It is the state that is employing outrageous tactics, not the mayor. The mayor is simply trying to orchestrate the management of city schools with limited resources.

I urge the mayor to forge ahead with the court suit. The state should face the music and deal with the issue at hand, which is to provide Baltimore City with an equitable and fair share of education funds. The state needs to stop playing games and do the right thing.

J. Lydia Nwafor


Better parents make better schools

Your lead editorial on July 15 ("Clock is ticking for schools partnership") included a line, ''Too many schools in poor neighborhoods are still turning in dismal performances,'' that can be elaborated upon.

True, to an extent some schools and some teachers can share in the blame for the ''quality'' of the students being produced. On the other hand, parents of those students are a larger part of the equation and, unfortunately, this is not being recognized.

All one has to do is look at the parochial schools. There, parents are made to be a part of the education process. While those schools cannot and do not turn out 100 percent geniuses, there is a discipline that exists in the schools and carries back to the home.

Lacking in the public school system is discipline. When one sees on almost a daily basis during the school year students walking to school, obviously late, while others have initially gone to school, only to walk out of the building at mid-morning, you ask school people "Why?"

Their response, almost universally, is that they are powerless to stop this. In other words, the school door is a revolving door.

Aside from possibly needing a new school superintendent with a fresh focus, there has to be a massive campaign to hit the parents in some way to force them to be responsible for their children, actively and not passively as is the case now.

Richard L. Lelonek


Voters don't care about integrity

If indeed they are, the Clintons can stop worrying when they realize that if honesty, integrity and character were of any concern to the American voters, Jimmy Carter would have been re-elected by a landslide.

Richard Ballard


Sun critics applaud movie brutality

Your July 6 editorial on violent movies was very good and to the point, but it's a shame your film critics past and present don't agree with you.

Most of the bozos who make those movies call them ''action'' movies.

Your Stephen Hunter gave a list of his favorite movies over the past 20 years, and would you believe, most of them were violent?

Some years ago, he picked four movies out of many being shown on TV one week as the ''best.'' Guess what one of them was? "Texas Chain Saw Massacre." I'm sure it was a favorite of the guy who cut a girl's arms off and raped her years ago.

Some time ago, a movie came out where the story was killing and 38 men and one pig were shot systematically and killed. There was a stabbing, two arsons and a kidnapping.

That movie was called "Silverado" and former Evening Sun critic Lou Cedrone called it ''super duper'' in his review.

Do your critics deplore violence? I don't think so. They love it.

Albert Izner


Pay teens to defer parenthood

This is in regard to Sara Engram's comments (July 14, "Seriously, how DO you stop teen pregnancy?"). As an incentive to teen-age girls for postponing parenthood, it might appeal to them to graduate from high school first, hold a job for a year and not have a baby.

At the completion of these requirements, they would be rewarded a lump sum. I believe this would be better than bribing them with $50 a month without their having earned it.

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