Middle school initiative signals lack of reasoning...

LETTERS

May 06, 2001

Middle school initiative signals lack of reasoning

Janet Owens made a courageous gesture in her budget talk by expressing "grave" reservations about the potentially disastrous middle school initiative in Anne Arundel County. The Board of Education's decision to forge ahead with this initiative in spite of lack of funding for reading resource teachers ("Board OKs plan again," May 3) was a sad commentary about this unelected board's lack of accountability. With the exception of President Paul Rudolph, not a single board member showed the slightest susceptibility to reason or evidence.

Apparently the board is convinced that "the kids need to read" is sufficient to generate the conclusion that this particular program - despite its flaws, and despite many reasonable alternatives and modifications - must be adopted. Board members heard that at least 41 teaching positions have already been lost and that this number would at least double in the following year. They saw statistics showing enrollment in PE, music, art, tech ed, foreign language and family/consumer science courses would plummet at many middle schools, and that many of next year's seventh- and eighth-graders would have limited opportunities to take these subjects as well (without the benefit of this glorious reading program) - despite the clear statements in February that only sixth-graders would be affected in the first year. Whether the 41-plus positions cut from the elective program will be repositioned to teach reading, or just who would be filling the 40-45 reading slots, remained unanswered questions. How this program would comply with COMAR regulations for the fine arts, PE and health education (particularly in light of the mandatory PE request) was shrugged aside as well. So were questions about how the program could be implemented responsibly without funding for the 19 reading resource teachers.

Clearly the board and the administration have every intention of going through with this program in spite of Janet Owens' admonitions and lack of budgetary support. Each and every one of us needs to speak up now - including teachers, who were reported at this meeting to be totally in favor of this marvelous program, which was being implemented "only for the benefit" of our children. Silence guarantees that the arts, physical education, foreign language and all the other electives will be decimated and keeps our children from getting the full, well-rounded education they deserve and are entitled to under state regulations.

Terra Ziporyn Snider

Severna Park

School dress code should be abolished

The Anne Arundel Board of Education has established a dress code for all students from grades K-12. This policy has been in existence for several years. ... I feel that this policy should be abolished. It goes against the freedom to wear what you want to wear. It's going against freedom of speech, our First Amendment! ... Lastly, the policy that should be abolished is the CD player policy. We high school students need music to listen to. And that's were I stand. ...

Christopher P. Fomer

Glen Burnie

Violence against women a serious domestic issue

Domestic violence is when two people (male and female) are involved in physical disputes. Women are more often victims than men in domestic violence situations. When a woman is involved in a domestic violence dispute, police officers do not take it very seriously. I think that is one of the reasons why women are so scared to leave their abusive mate. I feel laws on domestic violence should be more strict.

For women, domestic violence may result in physical injury, permanent physical damage and mental illness. The severity of domestic violence may also cause homelessness, loss of employment, loss of family, friends and even children. Women are more often victims of domestic violence than victims of burglary, mugging or other physical crimes combined. In the U.S.A., every nine seconds a woman is physically abused by her husband. Between one-third and one-half of all adult women are beaten by their husbands or lovers at some point in their lives. Today's society does not consider domestic violence as big an issue as murders or drug-related problems.

I feel domestic violence against women should be taken more seriously because 42 percent of murdered women are killed by their male partners. Another known fact is that 4,000 women are killed each year from domestic violence.

Rhonda Means

Glen Burnie

Right to bear arms is right to self-defense

I am writing to prove why gun control should not happen. If we take guns away from innocent citizens, then they will not be able to protect themselves against criminals. When criminals know that someone can handle a gun, they are far less willing to make him or her their victim.

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