Bush should require that private schools meet public...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 29, 2001

Bush should require that private schools meet public standards

I read about President George W. Bush's education plan with interest ("Bush offers education blueprint," Jan. 24)

His reasons for this plan were eloquently stated as to assure that "no child will be left behind - not one single child." I, too, feel strongly that we have a responsibility to prepare each child for a responsible, productive life in the 21st century.

However, so that critics can't charge that Mr. Bush's plan is just a way to provide money for religious schools, I propose that Mr. Bush add these caveats for any private school that accepts public money.

They must:

Accept every child who applies for admission and keep this child for as long as his or her parents wish.

Provide every service mandated by law to every child enrolled, including all special-needs students.

Be held accountable for their performance using all state-mandated tests.

This would assure that every child is indeed given equal opportunities.

K. Gary Ambridge

Bel Air

Poor teachers aren't the reason schools fail

Baltimore County schools Superintendent Joe A. Hairston thinks "the system allows its best teachers to go to the schools where the motivated students are and the neediest schools get the teachers who couldn't go to those other schools" ("Hairston calms fears in quest for change," Jan. 14).

This is not only an insult to those teachers who work hard day after day in needy schools but a poor assessment of the reasons more experienced teachers are not working in the needy schools.

Experienced teachers in good schools know the ropes.

They are not going to abandon their positions in good schools to work at needy schools, because they know the self-disciplined students and the supportive parents at their good schools are what make the schools good.

They know the real problems in underachieving schools are students' lack of self-discipline, supportive parental involvement and respect for education.

We cannot improve our needy schools until the real cause is accepted. That cause is not the teachers; it lies with the students and their parents.

Connie Verita

Baldwin

Arrogance went before Jackson's sin

I agree with Susan Reimer that recent revelations about the Rev. Jesse Jackson are a "mortal wound to his posture as a moral leader," particularly in light of his posing as a spiritual adviser to President Clinton while enmeshed in his own extramarital affair ("Jackson needs forgiveness for pride as much as adultery," Jan. 23).

Mr. Jackson's family and the public may forgive him, which is an appropriate Christian response, but he has compromised forever any authority he held as a religious leader.

What is it about public life that makes some men behave so abominably? It seems that, in some people, the confidence necessary to lead and persuade mutates into a ruthless arrogance.

Lucy Neale Duke

Lutherville

Susan Reimer's column reflected my feelings perfectly.

For the Rev. Jesse Jackson to return to the pulpit he used to declare himself the spiritual healer of America, while involved in the same sin from which he was healing our nation, is "the arrogance of power."

Pat Deitz

Pasadena

Clinton lacked the courage to tell country of his lies

Isn't it interesting that President Clinton had no problem speaking to the nation on television to remind us of his accomplishments, but could not bring himself to admit to the nation on television that he lied under oath?

What a president. What courage and integrity.

Patsy R. Williams

New Freedom, Pa.

Preserving historic areas enriches the whole city

I was disturbed by the recent letters concerning the inclusion of Guilford on the National Register of Historic Places ("The mansions of Guilford don't need special tax breaks," letters, Jan. 22).

Despite what the authors think, many of us who are fortunate enough to live in well-maintained, historic districts are of modest means.

Maintaining a historic structure with appropriate materials and expert craftsmanship is an expensive proposition. Sometimes it takes a small tax incentive to push a homeowner into pursuing an important home improvement project.

Most of us in historic neighborhoods willingly pay extraordinarily high property taxes, yet use comparatively few city services. And many know nothing of the tax incentives but improve and maintain their properties anyway.

Fellow citizens are not paying us to live here.

Donna Beth Joy Shapiro

Baltimore

I was disappointed to see the negative reaction to the historic tax credit proposed for Guilford. Maintaining a community like Guilford should be a priority for city and county residents alike.

The city is dotted with neighborhoods that contain once-gracious homes that have been carved into multi-family dwellings or abandoned. Maintaining neighborhoods that are in excellent condition is far less expensive than reviving failing neighborhoods or dealing with the blight of a community in collapse.

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