Helping high schoolers prepare for college The Sun's...

SATURDAY MAILBOX

April 06, 2002

Helping high schoolers prepare for college

The Sun's article that noted that large numbers of high school graduates entering the region's community colleges are unprepared is accurate and disturbing ("BCCC's health linked to the city's," March 27).

However, the article's statement that the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) "is flooded with unprepared students, many of whom are products of Baltimore County high schools" is somewhat misleading.

Last year, 58 percent of the Baltimore County public high school graduates attended a post-secondary institution. Forty-two percent of them attended a four-year institution, and the vast majority did not require remedial work.

Sixteen percent of the graduates attended a community college. Of these students who entered CCBC, a little more than half needed developmental work.

CCBC views under-preparedness as an important challenge for the institution, the county and the state. And currently, CCBC is working with approximately 1,000 students in nine high schools in an early assessment and intervention project in which 10th-grade students are brought to CCBC for a college information program and for administration of the college's placement test.

Placement test results are used to identify students as "college-ready," on track for readiness or in need of a plan to reach readiness.

The high schools have used the test results to encourage "college ready" students to participate in advanced placement courses, reinforce rigorous college preparatory courses for students in the "on-track" category and develop enrichment plans for students needing remediation.

In some cases, guidance counselors suggest that students also enroll in college courses at the CCBC campuses, which gives them the opportunity to become familiar with a college campus, engage in enriched learning experiences and accrue college credits while still in high school.

The CCBC College Readiness Project is experiencing successful outcomes in every participating high school. But to continue these efforts, resources are necessary. The public schools as well as the community college must be adequately funded.

Additionally, community support is critical to support a partnership that not only improves the quality of life in Baltimore County but also saves lives by providing hope for a chance at a future.

Cynthia Peterka, Baltimore

The writer is dean of learning and student development at CCBC Essex.

Efficiency aids us all

All of us who want to strengthen Baltimore's economy feel fortunate to have Ioanna T. Morfessis at the helm of the Greater Baltimore Alliance. But her claim that manufacturing jobs would be lost at Baltimore's General Motors plant if Congress were to mandate an improvement in average fuel efficiency performance for automobiles is wrong ("Mikulski was right to vote to preserve manufacturing jobs," letters, March 23).

I drive a five-passenger Toyota Prius that utilizes hybrid technology to achieve about 50 miles per gallon. Its safety rating is among the highest in its class, and it goes as fast with as much acceleration as any driver needs.

But while the rest of the world's automakers are harnessing technology to improve fuel efficiency, America is turning its back on available technology and maintaining the status quo of polluting gas-guzzlers. American cars are less fuel-efficient today than they were 20 years ago.

Increasing fuel efficiency would tighten national security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil, clean our air, improve our health and reduce water pollution.

And, indeed, Ms. Morfessis gives no evidence to support her central claim that improving fuel efficiency would eliminate manufacturing jobs. In fact, history proves exactly the opposite. When American manufacturing utilizes technology to reduce pollution and provide the consumer with the best products in the world, commerce flourishes.

We need not chose between a healthy economy and a clean environment. They are simply two sides of the same coin.

William C. Baker, Annapolis

The writer is president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

Pay tribute to workers

Many thanks to Edward Gunts for his informative article on the situation of Camden Station ("Beauty and history have been locked up to rot," March 31).

He reports that Richard Slosson of the Maryland Stadium Authority is open to suggestions for the building's development and that proposals so far considered combine a sports museum and center with a restaurant.

Mr. Gunts also notes that Camden Station was completed in 1865 as "the principal terminal of America's first commercial railroad, the Baltimore and Ohio."

Camden Station was also a site of one of the most important strikes in U.S. history, the 1877 railroad strike. In July of that year, 15,000 demonstrators came to Camden Station to support the strikers, federal troops were called in to replace the National Guard, and 13 people were killed.

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