State colleges support public school reform
A June 26 article, ''Nearly 99% of seniors meet service standard,'' reported accurately on a presentation to the State Board of Education indicating the high success we have experienced with the class of 1997 across the state with service learning.
The article also reported on a brief but important talk by Chancellor Donald Langenberg of the University System of Maryland, who gave the state board an unprecedented endorsement of proposed improvements to the high school program.
Chancellor Langenberg presented a letter signed by the presidents of 15 Maryland colleges and universities, supporting the State Board of Education's proposal to strengthen the value of the Maryland high school diploma with new, rigorous tests and instructional improvements.
This act of unity on the part of Maryland's college and university presidents is another step in a long series of cooperative efforts placing this state at the top of the nation in school reform.
When I talk with my counterparts across the nation, they are in awe when I describe the deep commitment Maryland's higher education community continues to demonstrate for bold reforms in our elementary and secondary schools.
The K-16 partnership in Maryland, led by Chancellor Langenberg, Higher Education Secretary Patricia Florestano and myself, is working for improvements in all schools.
Nancy S. Grasmick
The writer is state superintendent of schools.
Jacobs should know bigotry never funny
In "The Fire Next Time," author James Baldwin remarked that white people were ''in effect, still trapped in a history which they do not understand; and until they understand it, they cannot be released from it.''
In the 34 years that have passed since Baldwin's observation, the civil rights movement and other struggles for social justice that movement helped inspire have given us many opportunities to at least begin to understand.
Harford County Del. Nancy Jacobs' dissemination of a parody laced with racism, and her friend's insistence that ''she really could miss'' that racism because of her ''naivete'' (The Sun, June 27), is a troubling indication that we are still trapped.
I hope it might also be a goad to widespread reflection on why bigotry is never funny.
Jo Ann O. Robinson
Delegate Jacobs did nothing wrong
For at least the past month, the new liberal version of ''The Ant and the Grasshopper'' has been circulating via the Internet, fax machines, and photocopiers.
I doubt seriously that Del. Nancy Jacobs was the first public official to transmit this story to others.
The prominent press coverage this incident has received leads me to suspect that the source who contacted The Sun was less interested in righting some alleged wrong than in trying to influence the outcome of the 1998 election for State Senate in the 34th District.
As a citizen activist (principally on motoring and motorcycling issues) for more than 20 years, I have gotten to know quite a few elected officials.
Nancy Jacobs is extraordinarily conscientious, truly cares about people and works hard to represent all the constituents in her ethnically and socially diverse district.
Politically, she has learned how to disagree. To those of us who know Ms. Jacobs, it is simply inconceivable that she intended to offend or demean anybody.
The tale itself, while biting, is in the best tradition of American political satire, and the cries of outrage from Ms. Jacob's critics (some of whom probably chuckled when they read it) reveal that ''The Ant and the Grasshopper'' contains a ring of truth.
The real lesson of this episode is not the alleged insensitivity of Nancy Jacobs, but the hypocrisy and thin-skinned political correctness of the American left.
Giffen B. Nickol
Lighthouse built in bay where island had been
The article, ''Time, tide don't wait,'' July 1, led the reader to believe that the Sharp's Island lighthouse was built on Sharp's Island which disappeared from underneath it.
It is the third lighthouse to be built at Sharp's Island. Only the first was actually built on the eroding island.
The second was built in the water on the shoal where the island had been, and was destroyed by ice in 1881.
The third and present structure was also built in the water. It was never ''surrounded'' by Sharp's Island.
Instead, it stood next to what very little remained of the island in 1882. That little bit disappeared shortly thereafter.
The reason the lighthouse leans has nothing to do with global warming or eroding islands. It was knocked over by ice in the winter of 1977.
Wasting time needed to get hotel built
Why, oh why, do Mayor Kurt Schmoke and his ''yes" men constantly insist on shooting themselves in the foot? The decision to attempt the construction of a major convention hotel at Inner Harbor East is ludicrous by any practical measure.