Competition pushes colleges into offering top-notch...


May 25, 2000

Competition pushes colleges into offering top-notch programs

Morgan State University President Earl S. Richardson argues that competition among higher education programs is not in the state's interest, since it would lead to duplication of programs, waste and less ethnically diverse campuses ("College competition: Is more really more?" OpinionCommentary, May 15).

But Mr. Richardson doesn't mention that restricting competition, even among programs that are similar but not identical, leads to mediocrity.

If an institution is the only one in the area to offer a program, then students who live in the area must attend that campus to study that field. Does the program have to be top notch, or aspire to be, to attract these students? Not necessarily.

Competition causes institutions to offer students the best programs they can. At Towson University, for example, we have built a fine business administration program to lure top students.

Without competition, why would we have bothered to do all that hard work?

Restricting programs to one institution restricts a student's choice. Choice benefits all citizens of Maryland.

Morgan State's hobbling of other Maryland institutions' efforts to develop programs to benefit the citizens of Maryland is unprofessional. I hope it will be unsuccessful in the long run.

Louise Laurence


The writer is a professor of economics at Towson University.

More phonics could bring schools more improvement

It is always good to read about gains in reading scores ("City pupils test scores surge," May 17).

The Sun's "Reading by Nine" program deserves some of the credit. And the article "First phonics, then literature" by Marego Athans and Mike Bowler (May 10, 1998) and follow-up Sun articles as the school board was making text book choices, indisputably had an impact.

Unfortunately, there was one glaring error in the May 17 article: Open Court is not a heavily phonetic reading series.

The series expects children to be reading general literature in just six months. Some children need much more time.

Fifty percent of Baltimore City students are still reading below the national average. This should not be acceptable.

It would be a contradiction in terms to have everyone above average. But if the city truly wants to get scores even higher, it will find money for a more phonetic program for students who need more time to master skills.

Sara M. Porter


After Saturday's big race: Anger persists over party ...

Gov. Parris N. Glendening's taxpayer-funded Preakness party - to which he invited all 188 Maryland legislators plus one guest each at $180 a head - was defended by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller who said, "I think it's important that the legislators be there, that they know the importance of racing in the state" ("Legislators get free day at track," May 16).

If Mr. Miller is serious, then the appropriate invitation would have been to host the legislators, without any guests, at an ordinary daytime Pimlico race.

Our legislators could have sampled the modest racetrack food (not an open bar and a crab-cake buffet) and toured the facilities to see what repairs need to be made to bring the track to national standards.

They could also have observed the meager attendance at the track because Maryland horse players have driven to Delaware and West Virginia where racetracks also feature slot machines for the public's entertainment.

Spence Coleman


The Sun's editorial "Feeding the wrong people" (May 20) was right on target. However, it failed to mention the citizens of Maryland, who were overtaxed last year to the tune of $1 billion.

Surely Gov. Parris N. Glendening could have found more money for the needy and given the taxpayers the full 10 percent income tax reduction.

Somewhere in history there was a person of royalty who said "let them eat cake," and she lost her head.

Now we have a governor who says, "let them eat crabcakes." Maybe he will suffer the same political fate.

R.A. Bacigalupa


... and over the trash left in areas near the track

I live less than a mile from the Pimlico racetrack. On Preakness day, hundreds of race-goers park in my neighborhood. While it's annoying to see our local streets clog up with traffic, it is only once a year, and I must put up with it.

But by the next morning, I am usually livid - and this week was no exception.

Our normally clean streets are lined with beer bottles, cans and trash. Drunken fans return to their cars, drop their stuff anywhere they please, and drive off. It is disgusting, disgraceful and rude.

How would they like it if I came into their neighborhood to strew trash all over?

The city also deserves blame for not sending in trash trucks after the race to clean up. Instead, we're left to don gloves and haul trash bags around ourselves.

I'm sick and tired of it, and I wish to see this change.

Amy L. Bernstein


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