fTCEducation begins with caring teachersThe old cliche of...

Letters

March 19, 1997

fTC

Education begins with caring teachers

The old cliche of not knowing whether to laugh or to cry took on new poignancy when I read Eric Siegel's news story, March 11, which alludes to a ''recent report'' by the National Commission on Teaching & America's Future.

This report concludes that ''most efforts at school reform have overlooked the importance of teaching,'' an epiphany which I suppose enlightens only those who over the past three decades have consumed millions of public and private dollars and untold hours in their dramatically unsuccessful efforts to reform American education.

Each of us easily recognizes that the quality of education operative in our life has its antecedent in good and caring teachers, and any report that seeks to establish that verity is as redundant as it is wasteful.

The problem with implementing educational reform is not with finding a way but with finding the will to care about our children with the same intensity as we care about our source for oil.

George B. McCeney

Glencoe

Parents must practice what they teach

Kudos to Susan Reimer (March 9) on how she would spend $254 million to improve the schools in Baltimore. As a parent and educator, I totally agree. But I must address her coup de grace, i.e. parents are the reason children learn.

Yes, there is a truth to that. However, parents sometimes need to learn, too.

Parents often need to hone their skills. Parenting groups are one answer which I heartily recommend as a volunteer docent at the Chesapeake Children's Museum in Annapolis. My mentor and group facilitator is the founder, Deborah Wood, child development specialist.

Try it, parents. It's a good thing.

#Elsie Greenberg-Stebbins

Severna Park

Prayer is answer to many ailments

Physicians do not force prayer on people they treat. But happy the patient who believes in prayer and finds a compassionate physician who respects that belief.

Juta Vaska Zacharski

Baltimore

Not all is gloom in the art world

I am responding to Glenn McNatt's March 2 column, "Science, not politics, is at war with the arts." I'm afraid his analytic rapier sinks perilously close to the heart of the situation and I am writing to buoy his spirit with several personal observations that point to a brighter future for the arts in America than he envisioned.

The arts survive. There simply is no way to extinguish creativity.

The presidential commission Mr. McNatt cited did not merely report a deplorable situation and shrug its shoulders. It made some very aggressive recommendations to remedy the condition American arts. President and Mrs. Clinton were quick to embrace their proposals. Such voices were nowhere to be heard even one year ago.

The program that the National Arts Stabilization is developing to help arts organizations cope with the challenges of our times debuted here recently. As someone fortunate enough to be a member of the first NAS "Strategic Leadership in a Changing Environment" class, I witnessed what might be the formation of a powerful alliance for the arts.

The NAS seminar taught the participants to think more analytically, assess more empirically, plan more thoroughly and effect necessary change more efficiently. That constituted a big leap forward for most of us.

But an even better prize was there for the winning. While the very bright behavioral scientists who led the seminar were introducing us to their organizational philosophies and methods, reciprocal communication occurred and alliances developed. Science and art found common ground in mutual understanding. A purported adversary became a real friend, placing his weapons at our service in our sometimes hostile environment.

My hat is off to the National Arts Stabilization. It didn't just sponsor a pilot program. It invested in the infrastructure of Baltimore's arts community and made it stronger in the process.

Paul S. Papich

Baltimore

RD

The writer is a deputy director at the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Pratt seeks public input in plans

Although James Welbourne's March 8 letter about the Pratt Library addressed inaccuracies and misconceptions of a March 2 article, Herman Heyn's March 10 letter reflects further confusion about the issues being discussed. Reiteration of key facts might be helpful.

The process of developing the Pratt Library's plan for the future has been and continues to be an open one in which public opinion and comment have been actively sought and incorporated.

No one speaking on behalf of the Pratt has suggested that 28 branches should be replaced with four.

The planning process is continuing and the library expects to announce, in the next few months, a plan that takes into consideration the significant number of valuable comments and suggestions received during the last two years.

The Pratt Library continues to welcome thoughtful and constructive comment and opinion from all Baltimoreans.

Virginia K. Adams

Baltimore

PB

The writer is chair of the Enoch Pratt Free Library trustees.

Pub Date: 3/19/97

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