Educators shouldn't accept low standardsThe article of...

Letters

July 25, 1999

Educators shouldn't accept low standards

The article of July 15 on the establishment of stringent goals to be met by children of the Baltimore city schools clearly shows why our schools are in such sad shape ("Test bar set high for city schools"). For a high-ranking school administrator such as Robert Booker, Baltimore schools' chief executive officer, to state that requiring only one-third of the children to pass the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program is a high standard is tragic.

To accept that two-thirds of our eighth-graders shall fail in reading and math skills shows that the education hierarchy does not truly know what the role of teaching is.

The ultimate objective of a teacher is to make a subject so interesting and real that the students want to learn and remember.

Also, I submit that if a student fails to learn, the instructor has failed to teach. It is time to revisit the standards of city education and to establish standards that require allstudents to pass the MSPAP.

Admittedly, requiring all students to be proficient in math and reading comprehension will place greater expectations on the teaching community.

Perhaps this is why the city educators are willing to accept such a low success rate. By establishing low requirements, the inept are able to maintain their positions.

Robert C. Daniel, Hampstead

Frazier, Gouge should make audit count

Dear Carroll County commissioners Robin Bartlett Frazier and Julia Walsh Gouge: Congratulations, you have won a battle for the taxpayers in your fight for a real performance audit of the school system. I'm afraid the big war lies ahead.

Your counterpart, Donald I. Dell, has proven he thinks the county Board of Education can do no wrong. He will certainly try to influence your selections for representatives in the audit process. Block him or you will wind up with a group of board friendlies who wouldn't recognize a good idea if they fell over it, and will give away the farm. (Pun intended.)

On the other side, we will probably see a plethora of political hacks vying for the job. There are many intelligent and experienced people with serious business credentials who wouldn't be afraid to go toe to toe with the board.

I would recommend one ex-politico, W. Benjamin Brown. His knowledge of the stonewalling, misleading promises and, above all, the dollar losses incurred over the past few years would be invaluable. I admire someone who is an independent thinker and not afraid to get his hands dirty.

I have fought for this audit for 10 years plus. I would hate to see all the effort by many taxpayers flushed away. Look around the county, the expertise available may boggle your mind. Ms. Gouge and Ms. Frazier are responsible for getting us this far. Don't let the opportunity slip away.

Jack Winder, Westminster

Clues overcorrected with `puzzle lite'

Several months ago, the crossword puzzles became quite difficult. Many people complained.

The past couple of weeks show that you have overcorrected the problem.

When one knows the answer after two letters of a five-letter clue without looking at the clue, and when that happens often, you have a very boring, unchallenging puzzle.

I'm thankful you have the New York Times puzzle, an alternative to "puzzle lite."

Ray Phillips, Union Bridge

Pub Date: 7/25/99

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