Not all pupils need more reading time I am writing to...


April 22, 2001

Not all pupils need more reading time

I am writing to you as a concerned grandmother of two children about to enter sixth grade [regarding] a drastic change in next year's curriculum for all middle schools in Anne Arundel County that cuts in half the class time for a number of very important courses. These valuable courses include Technology Education, Family and Consumer Science, Art, Music, Physical Education and World Languages.[The school system is] mandating that each child in Anne Arundel County take an extra period of reading every day for sixth, seventh, and eighth grades in order to improve their reading skills. ... There are some children who need extra help in reading and they should be offered the necessary instruction. However, the children who are at grade level and above should not be required to sit through an extra hour of reading every day. To bore a child in school is a terrible thing.

Our children should be challenged with a variety of course offerings so that they can explore their interests and abilities and look forward to attending school. ... Our children should not be deprived of the "well-balanced" education that children in every other county in Maryland receive.

How is it that other counties in Maryland can offer additional reading instruction without demolishing the wonderful band programs that have been developed over many years? How can Anne Arundel County defy state requirements to provide students with physical education, art and health education? Wasn't Baltimore City schools' dismantling of art and music programs 10 years ago a dismal failure resulting in even lower reading scores? Once these teachers leave and programs are dismantled, it will be costly and difficult to bring them back.

For the sake of our children and grandchildren, please provide help in reading to those in need and continue to provide the well-rounded education our children deserve.

Marjorie P. Behringer


Gay-rights bill earns Green Party praise

On behalf of the Anne Arundel Green Party, I would like to commend Maryland's legislators for passing the 2001 Anti-Discrimination Act. This legislation makes it illegal to discriminate against gay and lesbian people in employment, housing and public accommodations. The governor deserves praise for his vigorous support of this important act. Most of all, I would like to congratulate Free State Justice for their years of hard work in organizing a campaign to get this legislation passed.

David Gross

Member of the Anne Arundel Green Party from Arnold

Taking issue with anti-gun stance

I am unable to resist addressing Mary Davis' "Keep `gun safety' out of our classrooms" that appeared in the Anne Arundel County Viewpoint on April 15, 2001.

It seems to me the Pasadena Davises are no longer content to only express their misguided anti-gun opinions through your news outlet, but have now decided to take on the wisdom guaranteed by our Constitution. Fat chance! Ms. Davis should be reminded that our founding fathers, in their infinite wisdom, apparently anticipated over 200 years ago that owning firearms would be a necessity in this day and age for law-abiding citizens to protect their lives, limbs and property. Crime escalates, and someone suggests we relinquish our defense ability. Is Ms. Davis [implying] police officers should be required to leave their service revolvers at the precinct while off duty?

Also, a fact seldom if ever noted, it is next to impossible to purchase business (commercial) insurance unless a sophisticated security system is in place, and regrettably, alarm systems are now required as an integral part of home safety, all of which is generated by lawbreakers.

To suggest the Constitution is "outdated" may be somewhat correct. Perhaps an amendment should be added that would enable any person to own and carry weaponry unless there exists just cause to prohibit it.

While Ms. Davis states, "I am in no way alone on this issue," fortunately both she and they are in the gross minority, and in my opinion will remain so. Maybe she should simply sit back, relax and buy a gun since the life she saves could be her own, or that of a loved one.

Ted Hickman


Selfishness causing school parking woes

The Old Mill High School early morning ritual of jockeying for parking spaces ("Before school, idle time," April 4) is not unique to that school but is a symptom of a big social problem. These students do not "suffer" from scarce parking but from an embarrassment of riches, and a pathological overdependence on and attachment to their cars. I wonder how big is the parking lot at Columbine High School?

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