Stop crowding in Howard schools now, not later I was...


February 06, 2000

Stop crowding in Howard schools now, not later

I was pleased to see Larry Carson's article ("Panel delays vote on schools," Jan. 26) concerning the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO).

Having attended and testified at the County Council meeting to address and support the amendment to the APFO, I am pleased to note Councilman Guy J. Guzzone's desire to explore the issue and consider other alternatives. However, the amendment is fine as is and would go a long way towards addressing the issue.

Why not address the issue now since the same children that are currently in overcrowded elementary schools will be the children who can be expected to suffer through overcrowded middle schools?

While there is arguably enough middle school capacity now, it's essential to have a plan in force that provides predictability for developers and satisfies parents that their children will have adequate school facilities.

In addition, as a resident of the Northeast region of Howard County, I want to comment on the statement attributed to Joseph W. Rutter Jr., county planning director, that "The northeast has plenty of [housing] allocations, but schools are over capacity because of redistricting."

I agree with the first part, however the second part of his statement is troublesome, particularly to those of us who are working to find solutions to school overcrowding at all levels.

In addition, and as the School Board now acknowledges based on its request for a new Northeast Elementary School, there are no other elementary schools in the Northeast or anywhere with enough excess capacity to make redistricting students from the overcrowded schools an appropriate long-term solution.

Even if a new school were to open in the Northeast by September, all the elementary schools in the region including Columbia East schools would still be at or over capacity. When all elementary schools are at or over capacity such public facilities are barely "Adequate Public Facilities."

The reasonable solution is to stem the tide of development in the Northeast region and elsewhere if school overcrowding (at any level) is an issue.

The current APFO has failed the children in the Northeast and threatens children in the rest of this developing county. The bulge of elementary school enrollment will continue into middle schools and then to high schools. What is wrong with addressing the issue now rather than waiting and scrambling for what will likely be inadequate short-sighted solutions?

Contrary to Mr. Rutter'scontention, redistricting does not cause overcrowding and redistricting alone cannot be the long term solution to school overcrowding anywhere in Howard County.

Our children deserve the best education we can provide under conditions that foster a positive and productive educational experience.

Frank J. Aquino

Ellicott City

Gender has nothing to do with heart disease

The Sun article "Subtle signs of heart disease in women are often missed," (Jan. 26) makes a valid point that medical personnel need to be properly informed about heart disease in women.

They need to know how heart disease in women differs from men.

However, the article leaves an erroneous impression that heart disease in women is a greater issue than heart disease in men. Studies by women's advocacy groups misuse statistics to create an impression that women fare worse than men in the area of health care. This is simply not the case.

In fact, men die, on average, seven years before women. Men have greater rates of death in all of the ten leading causes of death.

Women consume more health care resources than men. Men make up 94 percent of all deaths in the workplace. In heart disease, the ratio is 1.8 male deaths to 1.0 female deaths. The incidence of death in a first heart attack is greater for men than women.

More women die within the first year of a heart attack because more women survive heart attacks, and have heart attacks at an older age.

The onset of heart disease in men is, on average, 10 years earlier than for women.

For women, heart disease begins at an older age, when a variety of other health problem are more likely.

There are a variety of factors more relevant to the incidence of heart disease other than gender, i.e. life style, economic status, obesity, body habitus, age, stress, and diet. Why is gender raised as the issue?

When women's advocacy groups misuse statistical studies to create a false impression, as in this article, they are doing a dis-service to men and women. Health care should not be used as a gender equity issue.

The Sun should deal with gender equity issues in a more balanced manner that provides both a male and female perspective.

Douglas Roth

Ellicott City

Fun in the snow was funnier on TV

This is my response to the people who complained about the television coverage of the recent snow storms.

I found the "Snow Shows" very entertaining. Like it or not, a snowstorm is an unusual event in Baltimore.

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