Academic failure begins in students homeArticles and...


December 14, 1997

Academic failure begins in students home

Articles and columns in The Sun concerning the inadequacy of the Baltimore City school system place the overwhelming responsibility for the academic failure of the students on the teachers and principals.

To be sure, the teachers and principals do bear a degree of

culpability for these shortcomings. However, not one article places the bulk of the responsibility where it irrefutably belongs -- on parents.

Baltimore City school attendance is far below that of the counties. Whose fault is that? Children move and change schools two and three times a year. Whose fault is that? Students do not do homework. Whose fault is that? A majority of students come from single parent homes where the parent has dropped out of school with a minimal education. Whose fault is that?

Peer pressure that places far more emphasis on warm-up suits )) and sneakers instead of academic achievement is the norm not the exception. Whose fault is that? In many cases, students are actually ostracized by peers for academic achievement. Do the teachers and principals impose this ostracism? I think not.

Until we as a society have the guts to address the root causes of these problems, no new gimmicks and programs are going to make any significant impact on the educational achievement of these students.

Jerry Kurman

Owings Mills

MTA reduced service on light rail

Once again, the Mass Transit Administration has not offered reasonable expectations of service with the extension of light rail to Baltimore-Washington International Airport and and Penn Station.

Weeks ago, the MTA said that core service would be provided on an eight-minute headway. I have heard that the city has refused to allow the automatic signals to be used, so they now operate the new line on a 34-minute headway.

This means my wife must board an overcrowded train to Glen Burnie, because it's 17 minutes since the last train passed her office. And it's now a two-car train instead of three.

The MTA has not been willing to stop this nonsense until corrective measures could be taken. That is, wait for the additional equipment and add the second track on the viaduct between Westport and Camden Yards. The money thrown away on this extension could have been first used for that improvement.

Who is going to use a service running every 34 minutes? What times does it come?

Until they can operate on a more reasonable schedule, the MTA should restore the old service from Hunt Valley to Glen Burnie and operate shuttles from Linthicum to BWI and Mount Royal to Penn Station.

They could run them more frequently so that wait times are minimal between connections.

Steve Erlitz


Stone mason explains bulkhead construction

The Sun's editorial writers, who already are self-appointed experts in the convention and hotel industry, now have appointed themselves experts in construction and engineering.

Your Dec. 8 editorial flatly stated that the proposed Wyndham Hotel would nearly quadruple the pressure on a Jones Falls bulkhead paid for by taxpayers just a few years ago. It was designed to withstand structures with a maximum height of 120 feet.

I worked on the Inner Harbor East bulkhead. It is no different from the bulkheads at the Inner Harbor or the World Trade Center.

Bulkheads are created to keep water separate from fast land and to prevent erosion. They have nothing to do with any building, 120 feet or 500 feet high. The bulkhead at Inner Harbor East is sitting on concrete piling that was driven into the Patapsco River's bedrock.

Any building at the Inner Harbor East site would have to be placed on pillings driven into the bedrock on the land directly under the building. The foundation for any building at Inner Harbor East would have to exist independently of the bulkhead, just as the bulkhead must exist independently of its surrounding buildings.

oberto Marsili


City Council faulted on hotel vote process

The City Council's preliminary approval of the Wyndham Hotel came as no surprise.

The council wants us to believe that their votes were not bought. They point to nine amendments to Council Bill 535 as proof of their independence. Council President Lawrence A. Bell III argued that the amendments are the result of "the council asserting itself."

The amendments cover issues from a slight reduction in height to a 25-year moratorium on gambling. Most of the amendments are meaningless. For instance, Mr. Bell openly admitted that the restriction against gambling would be useless if Gov. Parris Glendening or his predecessor decides to legalize casino gambling.

Another troubling aspect of the amendments is that they were agreed upon by John Paterakis, the hotel developer, before they were even introduced.

Councilman Nick D'Adamo, during the council debate, said that Councilwoman Lois Garey, the chairperson of the land use committee, should be praised for working out the amendments with Mr. Paterakis.

How can the council pretend that it is "asserting itself" when the developer helped Councilwoman Garey write the amendments?

ene Curran Jr.


Pro athletes have big appetite

After the first couple of million, how much does it take to feed an athlete's ego?

Fred Borlees Sr.

White Marsh

Pub Date: 12/14/97

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