Blocking program to train teachers blunts education...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 11, 2000

Blocking program to train teachers blunts education goals

My compliments to The Sun's Michael Hill for smashing the wall of silence and exposing Maryland's futile and self-defeating education policies. ("Morgan State pushes course exclusivity," May 4).

On the one hand, the state's Department of Education presses for higher standards and better teacher training.

On the other, the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) vetoes proposals to provide that training by area universities, at the behest of a resentful neighboring university. One word from Morgan State and the program is dead - in the name of "civil rights."

The ideal solution would be to have all universities cooperate in developing suitable teacher-training programs which utilize the best resources of each school.

Study commissions have been making such recommendations for a half-century. But it will never happen, because this is Baltimore and not Utopia.

Therefore, let us adopt the next-best solution: Let our universities, singly or collectively, develop the best programs that their facilities, faculties, and ambitions can sustain - and let MHEC judge them on their own merits.

Edwin Hirschmann

Baltimore

UB business program wouldn't duplicate Morgan's

I would like to clarify a few points about the dispute among Morgan State University, the University of Baltimore and Towson University ("Morgan State pushes course exclusivity," May 4).

First, the proposed Doctor of Business Administration at the University of Baltimore is not our first applied doctorate. It would be the fourth applied doctorate approved for UB.

Second, UB supports the idea that programs at public universities, especially those close to one another, should not be unreasonably duplicative.

We do not believe the existence of on-line programs and relatively unregulated for-profit programs that cross state boundaries justifies a no-holds-barred competition among public institutions.

Our case is that our applied, part-time business doctorate is substantially different from the recently approved Ph.D. in business at Morgan State.

The first is aimed at working practitioners and the second at preparation for academic careers. These programs have different content, format, audience and employment goals.

Therefore, we do not regard them as duplicative. We believe both will serve real education needs in Maryland.

Ronald Legon

Baltimore

The writer is the provost of the University of Baltimore.

Report on girls, computers raised genuine concerns

Susan Reimer's column on the American Association of University Women's (AAUW) report "Tech-Savvy: Educating Girls in the New Computer Age" leaves a false impression. ("Girls show their smarts: Computers are `stupid,'" April 18).

Computer literacy consists of more than the use of simple tools such as e-mail, Internet searches and databases. True literacy also requires a good understanding of computer concepts and the capacity to apply skills and concepts to new problems.

The AAUW's study found that girls are doing well on the simple skills, but lack an understanding of the concepts and capability to apply their skills.

It indicates that the current computer culture, with its emphasis on violent games and nerdy behavior, drives girls to avoid in-depth computer courses.

AAUW's report is not a false alarm. It is a series of recommendations on how to modify the existing computer culture so it is "more accessible, appealing and inviting to a variety of users and learners."

Dorothy A Fraquelli

Baltimore

The writer is president of the AAUW's Baltimore branch.

`Bad air' complaints usually lack merit

During my working career I responded to more than 500 complaints of "bad air" in a variety of work settings from offices to factories ("The most unpopular diagnosis," May 5).

Like the New England Journal of Medicine, I found that the majority of the "bad air" complaints were caused by anxiety.

Most complaints came from the office setting; individuals would begin to compare health problems and a strange odor would be all it took to get the ball rolling.

These episodes cause much disruption in the workplace and are very expensive to resolve. Individuals need to understand they spend far more time away from work and, in most cases, are exposed to more toxic materials in their on homes.

If people are concerned about "bad air," one of the best ways to clean the air is to stop smoking.

Keith F. Kelley

Lutherville

Officer Gavin's family was touched by support

As the aunt of the fallen Baltimore police Officer Kevon Gavin, I would like to thank all of the concerned citizens of Baltimore who took time out of their busy schedules to pay tribute to my nephew.

I personally want to thank the little fellow who held a sign in the rain reading "God bless Officer Gavin."

Whoever he is and wherever he may be, that sign touched all of our hearts. So I, along with the Gavin family, now send our blessing to you.

Elaine Watson

Baltimore

Record of misconduct should disqualify officer

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