Charter schools add options for students stuck in poor...


May 06, 2001

Charter schools add options for students stuck in poor schools

The Sun's article "State offers school choice" (April 25) told readers that even though Baltimore City and Prince George's County school officials had informed parents of children in failing Title I elementary schools they could transfer their child to another school, few did so.

A state assistant superintendent then went on to claim that this is probably the case because "Parents, particularly of younger children, really prefer to have them in their neighborhood school."

That's true. Still, I find it hard to believe parents in failing schools wouldn't transfer a child if they truly understood how awful their current school was and had real neighborhood options.

Yet Maryland seems opposed to providing public school parents with real neighborhood options. Take charter schools, for example. For the third year in a row, a charter school bill failed to make it out of the Maryland General Assembly.

The absence of such a law hurts Maryland children. A progressive state charter school law would give charter schools access to resources that would help underwrite the creation of real neighborhood options for parents without options.

I'm under no illusion that charter schools alone can save Maryland's failing schools.

I do, however, believe charter schools could play a major role in providing all parents with better education options. And this seems more humane than what Maryland is doing to its Title I parents and children -- forcing them to stick with failing schools, then insisting that they like it that way. Is that cruel or what?

Joseph A. Hawkins


The writer is board president of the Jaime Escalante Charter School Inc.

We can do more to make the war on drugs succeed

Pardon the expression, but Jim Williams is right on the money about the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign ("More can be done in war on drugs," Opinion Commentary, May 1).

With so many people throwing up their hands saying "all has failed" in the fight against drugs, we should do all that we can do to support a program that provides clear evidence that something can make a positive difference.

Researchers are proving time and again that drug use is preventable and drug addiction is a treatable disease.

Now is the time to get serious about these facts as we make public policy here in Baltimore and throughout the nation.

Steve Pasierb


City's violence, budget woes prompt thoughts of flight

Another fantastic month for Baltimore. Last weekend nearly surpassed our record for multiple homicides and a two-year-old child was shot by a stray bullet from a corner turf fight ("Violent weekend leaves 6 dead," May 1).

The week before, a couple citizens were carjacked and given a tour of the city (cash machine to cash machine) from the trunk of their vehicle.

We have an overworked and understaffed police department and an overpaid City Council that appears to be paralyzed while the city goes from neglect to despair.

Baltimore has become a very small city with many overwhelming problems. And our mayor wants to raise taxes (would this be a survivors' tax?) and cut services.

I'm going to get my dog Larry a pit bull costume to wear for our evening walks through Mount Vernon. After that, my wife and I may be packing our bags.

Don Carstens


Use state lottery revenues to ease city's budget crunch

Since Baltimore residents spend thousands daily on the lottery, a portion of the proceeds should help the city's budget.

The stadiums are built now. But with places such as the Great Blacks in Wax Museum, Maryland Science Center and Fort McHenry, just to name a few, Baltimore is still the heart of the state.

George F. Fitzgerald


In Alabama bombing, Hoover stymied justice for 38 years

The time needed by a Birmingham jury to find a bigoted killer of four young girls in an African-American church guilty was 2 1/2 hours. The time required to bring the case to trial -- 38 years. Why the interminable wait?

The Sun chillingly explains: "The Justice Department concluded 20 years ago that former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had blocked prosecution of Klansmen in the bombing" ("Ala. man is guilty in 1963 bombing," May 2).

Soon there will be an opening for a new FBI director. One tiny shred of solace in this morbid matter is that it is too late for Hoover to apply.

Milton Bates


Democrats continue to show scant regard for ethics

Former President Clinton disgraced the presidency and the Oval Office. The Democrats fully supported him.

Now our Democrats refused an invitation to celebrate President Bush's first 100 days ("Changing political tone is toast of 100th day lunch," May 1).

Agree or disagree with Mr. Bush, but the Democrats continue to display their low moral, ethical and political standards. Shame.

William Shenk


Bush's first 100 days were nothing like Roosevelt's

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