Another reason today's teachers are frustratedI am a...

LETTERS

September 19, 1999

Another reason today's teachers are frustrated

I am a teacher in Anne Arundel County and read the article, "Schools try to hang on to teachers," in The Sun on Aug. 22.

Your article was accurate and allowed readers to see some of the reasons teachers are unhappy.

I would like to mention another reason for the decline in teacher recruiting in recent years -- the increase in unnecessary and redundant paper work.

It seems that every couple of years some bureaucrats at the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) dream up a way to improve the quality of education.

For the past year, the emphasis has been on the "Unit Lesson Plan."

This is the new buzzword that bureaucrats at MSDE are shoving down teachers' throats. Ask any teacher if this has helped him or her, and the overwhelming majority will say "no."

So how must we change the way teachers teach and students learn to make a difference?

Kathleen Devaney of the Holmes Group and Michigan State University professor Gary Sykes, in the book, "Value-Added Leadership," by Thomas Sergiovanni, are quoted as saying that schools must provide students with both old and new basics, building upon mastery of the fundamentals to emphasize reasoning, self-discipline, inquiry and problem-solving.

According to Mr. Sergiovanni, "The kind of teaching needed in an information society is high-level work.

"High-level work teaching is complex and situationally specific. Decisions about what to do and how need to be made on the spot as the teacher interacts with students in context."

According to Syracuse University professor Gerald Grant, two changes are essential: Teachers and principals must be put in charge of their practice and schools must be allowed to shape their own destiny.

Most teachers and principals believe they are on the receiving end of policies made elsewhere. Principals have become middle-managers who process directives issued from a multi-layered bureaucracy.

I hope bureaucrats become more responsive to the way education can really be changed for the better.

Harry Singh, Gaithersburg

Glad to see Fligsten resign

The Sun of Sept. 3 reported the resignation of Ann Fligsten as president of Historic Annapolis. Thank God.

She and her cohort, Brad Davidson, really created a fine mess with the burned-out 1899 building of questionable design.

The "Hysteric Foundation" is now looking "for someone committed to historic preservation capable of continuing the excellent work" of Historic Annapolis.

The founder of Historic Annapolis, J.M.P. Wright, always stated, "I do not want Annapolis to be another Williamsburg."

Mr. Davidson and his ilk are headed in that direction.

Edward S. Gallagher, Annapolis

Two sides of The Sun's coverage of Annapolis' anti-loitering bill

Your Sept. 14 article, "Some blacks upset over proposal," missed some very important facts.

As many of your readers know, there has been a concerted effort by African Americans, whites and numerous organizations to have the Annapolis City Council defeat a bill that has been introduced by Republican Alderman Herbert H. McMillan.

Your staff writer failed to mention that at the City Council meeting that she reported on more than 50 citizens showed up to oppose Mr. McMillan's bill.

Published reports also have failed to mention that Mr. McMillan only won his City Council seat by 28 votes.

The opposition to his bill has included citizens from public housing and the Hunt Meadow community in which he lives. More than 1,000 citizens have signed petitions protesting Mr. McMillan's bill.

I was disappointed to read that The Sun reported that Mr. McMillan was "threatened" by opponents of his bill.

What was the threat?

Protesters have pledged to defeat Mr. McMillan at the polls because, in our opinion, he is not representing his constituents.

In a democracy, politicians are "threatened" with the loss of their seats all the time.

Your writer left the impression that bodily harm was being threatened. This is not true.

We had a non-violent demonstration to express our opposition.

Organizations such as the Anne Arundel County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; United Black Clergy and Operation Respect do not condone violence.

The Sun did a disservice to our cause to imply that we do.

On Sept. 29, the Annapolis City Council will again take up to this divisive bill.

I want to make sure that the record is clear.

Those of us who oppose the alderman's bill believe, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did, that we must protest unfair laws by using our rights to protest for right.

We ask that The Sun not use inflammatory rhetoric that does not represent our views.

Robert H. Eades, Annapolis

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