It's time to change election styleThat was not a great...


November 26, 1996

It's time to change election style

That was not a great sucking sound you heard on Nov. 6. It was a deep sigh of relief that the campaign marathon was finally over. It proved beyond a doubt that political campaigns are too long and too expensive.

Ten months of negative advertising, political posturing and repetitious speeches were mind-numbing and stultifying. This is what caused the general apathy referred to by the press. No wonder the turn-out was so low.

This is democracy run amok; we must find a way to bring it under controls in future elections. One possible solution is to shorten the entire process by scheduling all state primaries on one date, followed by the conventions and two more months to the general election. This would also substantially lower the cost of the campaign, which approached $2 billion this year.

The nature of a dynamic democracy is its proven ability -- and willingness -- to accept change. There is an urgent need now to improve our electoral system. Let's get on with it.

Robert E. Schueler

Bel Air

New city school assessment tests flunk

Parents with children in the Baltimore City public schools should be aware of a new obstacle to student learning developed by the school administration on North Avenue.

Children in grades 2 through 8 are now required to take a Baltimore quarterly assessment test, the BQA, four times a year.

Teachers are in the midst of scoring the first-quarter test. This is not a ''fill in the bubble'' assessment that can be read and scored by a computer. Teachers must read and evaluate, on the average, 34 pages of written answers for each child in their class.

No training on scoring was given to any teachers, which makes the task of a fair and honest evaluation of all students extremely difficult.

I teach fifth grade and, frankly, the scoring of the BQA is taking away from my ability to plan and prepare quality lessons for my students.

I have spent hours scoring and I'm not done yet. I resent that fact. My students are the ones being short-changed. Very soon I'll have to give the second-quarter test and it will all begin again.

The bottom line is that BQA takes away from quality classroom instruction. It would be very useful as a tool for teachers to prepare students for Maryland School Performance Assessment Program, but it defeats that purpose when it's defined as an assessment scored by teachers.

Smaller classrooms and better materials will improve our children's education, not more tests.

Peter French


Sidney Lieberman was a dental artist

I was saddened to learn of the death of Dr. Sidney Lieberman.

In your obituary, you stated his talent for making jewelry, his love of art and his sharing that with Towson State University. He was also a superb photographer and a wonderful dentist. When one left his chair, one had the feeling that you had been worked on by an artist.

Alan H. Peck


Don't worry, be happy

I love reading Ben Wattenberg. He is our official Pollyanna. Everything is coming up roses.

Even the growth of the global population -- never much of a problem to begin with, according to his earlier pieces -- is under control. He now tells us ("The population boom is busting," The Sun, Nov. 20) that the doomsayers were wrong when they cried that the birth rate of five children per women would ultimately be "yielding a global population of 10 billion, no, 12 billion, no 15 billion people -- even 20 billion people." What do these people know?

Elementary math would have told Wattenberg, however, that at five children per women the population would continue growing endlessly and would not stop at a mere 20 billion -- unless something interfered, such as the plague, famine, a nuclear war or a strategically placed meteorite.

Fortunately, it was the intervention of another sort on the part of the "scare groups" Wattenberg ridicules that defused the population bomb.

Harry Piotrowski


Planned destruction of community colleges

What is wrong with the political leaders of Baltimore County that they are countenancing and abetting the systematic emasculation of the country's three community colleges?

Last spring's reduction of $2.6 million in the college's budget and the reallocation of $3 million in bond/capital budget authorization was unprecedented. These funds were urgently needed to just maintain what is currently being offered annually to the thousands of Baltimore County residents who are also community college students.

From the major initiatives of the president of the United States to the governor of Maryland, it is obvious that we need more, not less, investment in education at all levels if we are to meet the demands of our citizens in this age of information and technology.

Community colleges provide unique and affordable opportunities for students with rapidly developed courses in new technology as well as a foundation of basic knowledge.

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