Don't repeat the mistakes of the MSPAP It's true that...


May 16, 2002

Don't repeat the mistakes of the MSPAP

It's true that the demise of the MSPAP is cause for rejoicing among those who have been critical of the test ("New law shifts test focus onto all pupils," May 5). And although time is short to develop a new test to meet federal criteria, let us hope that the Maryland State Department of Education will not repeat the mistakes it has made in the past.

Although the new test will also be used to judge the performance of schools, it should be designed so that records of each student's scores on particular curriculum test items can be compared in subsequent tests, wherever the student may go within the state.

The test's scoring should produce a profile of areas of need for each student and a compilation of students' profiles that show similar needs. This would help each school arrange for instructional groups for remedial or additional instruction.

It is also vital that there be a statewide curriculum upon which the test is based. And each year's testing should include items selected from the curriculum and not be a test of the entire curriculum.

It would also be helpful if the blame game could disappear when the new test arrives, although this is unlikely.

Students, parents, teachers, and administrators all play vital roles in learning. The finding that a student did poorly on particular sections of the test should not signal a rush to assign blame. What it should cause is a rush to plan how educators, students and parents, working together, can improve the learning process so students can be successful.

Such a new (old) approach to testing should be a great day for education.

Connie Verita


Mayor could do more for city as governor

The Sun's editorial "O'Malley's choice" (May 9) is incorrect, politically speaking.

Mayor Martin O'Malley could not have been elected mayor without the help of City Council President Sheila Dixon, who envisioned Baltimore prospering with Mr. O'Malley as mayor. She has been a loyal supporter, and will continue Mr. O'Malley's programs should he be elected governor.

As governor, Mr. O'Malley could do far more for Baltimore than he can as mayor.

His failure to run would be a disservice to his party and himself.

Edward L. Blanton Jr.


Consult residents about school sites

The Sun's editorial "A happy ending?" (May 10) concluded by suggesting the school board should learn to consult with affected neighborhoods before choosing a site for a school.

But I don't think the lesson has been learned. The board's plan to reduce overcrowding at Northern High School by starting a new school just six blocks away is an example of it continuing to choose then consult ("City residents balk at proposal for high school near Northern," May 1).

In five to six years, when the new high school is up to its full complement, will the rivalry between the new school and its very, very close neighbor, Northern, be friendly?

If not, some fine, well-established neighborhoods are in for hard times.

John "Jack" Ray


Manhunt for mother sends wrong signal

The mother of Baby Rosie, the abandoned infant found in the bathroom at Northwest Hospital Center, did all the right things for her daughter, yet found herself the victim of a manhunt by the Baltimore County police ("Mother who left baby at hospital is located," May 9).

The new mother, who was obviously desperate, left her baby in a safe place, with a note stating she was homeless and unable to care for the child. She did not kill the child or leave it to die in a dumpster or other obscure site.

When every TV station and newspaper reported that police were searching for the mother, it sent a message that doing the right thing -- leaving the infant in a church or hospital -- will only result in being pursued by the authorities.

They did get their man -- or, in this case, woman. But what message did they give to other women in similar situations?

Sandie Nagel


Put a moratorium on liberal leaders?

This death penalty moratorium is a slap in the face of crime victims and those of us who believe in real justice ("Governor halts executions," May 10).

The only thing unfair about the death penalty in this state, or the rest of the nation, is that it is not applied more broadly.

If there is to be a moratorium on anything, it should be on voting for Democratic politicians.

Michael N. Ryan

Bel Air

Breast-feeding is a health issue

Is it really that babies who are breast-fed longer score higher on IQ testing or that babies receiving more formula score lower ("Danish study bolsters breast feeding-IQ link," May 8)? Human milk is designed specifically for human infants, so breast-feeding must be used as the standard.

We need to admit that introducing formula into a newborn's system results in lower IQ scores as it increases the risk of other health problems.

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