Union-issued voting records can mislead, senator...

LETTERS

July 05, 1998

Union-issued voting records can mislead, senator says

Recently, I was criticized for having a poor voting record on a limited number of issues evaluated by the Maryland State Teachers Association ("It's time to send state official home," June 21, letters). The conclusion reached by one individual was that the evaluation indicated a lack of support for education.

I want to make it clear that the score in question indicates support, or lack thereof, of a political agenda for a specific group, not of education overall.

During my eight years in the Maryland Senate, I have been on the Economic and Environmental Affairs Committee and currently sit on the committee's Education Subcommittee.

In this position, I have contributed to many education-related bills of interest to the MSTA. Notably was a measure to prohibit disruptive students from returning to class without a conference with the teacher.

It provided for student restitution for any damages and broadened immunity to teachers and support personnel.

However, other issues supported by the teachers union were not in the best interest of the state or education.

For example, I supported a bill to recognize English as the official state language. The union opposed the measure.

I opposed an initiative to allow teachers to establish their own professional standards independent of the State Board of Education, which the MSTA supported.

Certainly, the MSTA, like any other group, has the right to rate legislators according to its own criteria and choose to endorse candidates accordingly.

But this method by MSTA does not address higher education issues, which are an important responsibility of state government, nor does it reflect thousands of education related constituent actions my office has responded to during my terms of office.

However, these ratings, in the hands of individuals who choose to exaggerate or distort their meaning can be a disservice to voters. Unfortunately, my opponent in this year's Senate race has decided to do just this.

I continue to support education initiatives and vote on each bill based on its merits to all Marylanders, not particular interest groups.

Sen. Christopher J. McCabe

Clarksville

The writer represents the 14th Legislative District in the Maryland Senate.

Parents at Forest Ridge will miss Joan Crawford

Forest Ridge Elementary had an outstanding administrator in Joan Crawford, who served as assistant principal during the 1997-1998 school year.

We were very disappointed to find out that she will no long be there.

We became involved with Mrs. Crawford when she coordinated the school's Black Saga Program, which was sponsored by the University of Maryland, College Park.

With only five weeks to prepare, Mrs. Crawford worked tirelessly after school to prepare the students so that they would be ready for the competition. Forest Ridge was the only school in Howard County to participate in this program. All of the parents were delighted when our children won second place in the statewide competition and scored one point short of tying for first place.

We wish Mrs. Crawford well in her future endeavors.

Larry Chambers

Robin Chambers

Laurel

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It is with regret that my family and I bid farewell to Joan Crawford, assistant principal, who will not be returning to Forest Ridge Elementary in September. Ms. Crawford was an asset to the school for many reasons.

She encouraged the students to work toward developing positive attitudes and behavior, so that they could be complimented instead of reprimanded. This is a rare quality. I felt comfortable with the way that Ms. Crawford handled my son and communicated with my wife and me.

She will definitely leave a void.

Lennie Braxton

Laurel

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We're writing this letter in appreciation of Joan Crawford. Even though we have relocated, we have many memories of Forest Ridge Elementary and especially of Mrs. Crawford. My daughter, Erika, served in the safety patrol under her leadership. This role promoted a sense of responsibility for Erika.

Mrs. Crawford also motivated the students to learn about people and events that shaped the history of African-Americans via the Black Saga Program.

We miss her very much, so much so that Erika has called her since we moved to Virginia. We wish Mrs. Crawford the best.

Cheryl Fenner

Gregory Fenner

Ashburn, Va.

Pub Date: 7/05/98

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