Letters To The Editor


September 22, 2002

After-school program not applied equally

Many of us chose to live in Columbia because we believed in the "Vision." We believed that the "Vision" meant not only diversity of color, creed and country of origin but included equal opportunity as well. We believed that Columbia and its People Tree meant commitment to all residents, not to a sanctified corporation.

Although life in Columbia has been pleasant for those of us who are financially comfortable, we have been disappointed to find that the "amenities" are not equally available to all residents, and especially not to all the children of Columbia, because of the charges CA demands for all "amenities."

One of these "amenities" is the Before-And-After-School program which Columbia funds both in Columbia and some other nearby schools, although the county funds similar programs in all other Howard County schools.

The latest development proposed for the CA After-School Program suggests that they have adopted President Bush's motto with a little editing: "Leave no child behind ... if the parents can afford it!"

It is not clear whether this plan comes only from President Maggie Brown or has ever been presented to the Council for approval.

The plan calls for five six-week sessions. During each session those children whose parents can pay the extra $100 fee will have one hour a week for each of six weeks of tennis, swimming, martial arts, ballet, ice skating or golf classes.

The plan includes transportation from school to the activities (and back to the school?) Since all participating children in each school will not elect the same activities, one can visualize multiple buses or vans going in all directions to pick up children from different schools going to various locations.

Apparently this program is supposed to demonstrate the superiority of CA's program over the County's and silence critics who feel the County should provide the same services in Columbia that it does elsewhere.

The fees can come nowhere near meeting the costs of this complex "show" program. It will present another money-losing burden, catering to some few families who can afford the fees and leaving other children and their families who can't afford the fees feeling, once more, that they are second-class citizens.

Henry D. Shapiro

Wilde Lake

Let Wheatfield kids stay at Worthington

As a member of the Wheatfield community, I am disappointed with the three [school] maps that were presented Sept. 10.

The first had Wheatfield going to Thunder Hill as an island community. The second had Wheatfield going to Phelps Luck as an island community. The third has us going to Waterloo as an island community.

Wheatfield was the only Route 103 community going to three different and new elementary schools. There was no discussion of Wheatfield staying at Worthington. I assure you, I want to stay at Worthington.

An SBLC member was quoted in the paper as saying (and I will paraphrase), "kids don't mind moving. It's the parents who mind."

That SBLC member is correct. The parents do mind.

But it is not only because we worry about the adjustments for our children. It is because our blood, sweat, and tears go into creating and improving the elementary school in every way. We financially support the PTA, volunteer in our kids' classrooms and work on Worthington-based projects together.

We don't just send our kids to school. We invest in it so we receive the payoff later.

This cannot be said for Polygon 99, which is a new community and has little to no investment in Worthington Elementary. Polygon 99 should go to Bellow Springs and plant new roots with other new Bellow Springers.

In Polygon 99, these won't be new roots; they will be the original roots. They can invest in the school and its PTA and support all the Bellow Springs events like Polygon 100 has at Worthington.

Polygon 100 has been at Worthington for many, many years and our years of support and efforts to keep Worthington happy and healthy should be noticed and rewarded.

Please leave Polygon 100 at Worthington.

Wendy Moomaw

Ellicott City

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