Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

January 18, 2004

More police welcome at city public housing

This letter is to publicly thank the city administration and the Annapolis Housing Authority for reaching an agreement to jointly fund more police in public housing ("Public housing policing to grow," Jan 13).

Though people can disagree about whether the city or the Housing Authority is responsible for policing public housing, we can all agree on the critical need for more police presence. The city and the Housing Authority did the right thing by working together to overcome their differences and achieve this agreement.

The agreement will double the number of off-duty police assigned to public housing, hire a full-time safety director to coordinate the program, and create a public safety committee to involve residents in the fight against crime. Officers will conduct true community-based policing and work with residents to not only solve crimes but prevent crime. While there is no single solution to the crime problem, this agreement is a clear step forward to make our communities safer.

This issue has been the top priority for many of my constituents in Eastport and numerous other residents across the city. Let me thank several people who made this happen: Mayor Ellen Moyer, Police Chief Joe Johnson, Housing Authority Chair Trudy McFall, acting Executive Director Clyde Caldwell, and each member of the Housing Authority Board of Commissioners. In addition, community activist Dennis Conti volunteered his expertise to develop the plan. Each of these people deserves credit for making this agreement a reality.

Josh Cohen

Annapolis

The writer is a city alderman.

Curriculum makers lost way in math

Lost among all the concern regarding Anne Arundel County high school students failing algebra is one overlooked fact. Many students in our county are not succeeding in higher-level math courses because they have not been given the fundamentals. There's plenty of blame to go around, too!

The biggest culprit used to be at the Board of Education in the Math Coordinator's office. For the past decade or so Anne Arundel County's middle school math curriculum has been an embarrassment.

For years we'd been teaching glyphs instead of developing the concept of variables. Determining the mean, median and mode of a set of data had taken the place of solving equations. Learning basic number facts was supplanted by the teaching of histograms. Is it any wonder that today's high school students are struggling with basic algebraic concepts and computations?

The Board of Education and its Math Coordinator are not alone in shouldering this guilt. Other offenders include the recently discredited MSPAP with its emphasis on trivial statistical analysis questions. In addition, shouldn't middle school principals have stepped up to the plate and said "This is half-witted"? After all, aren't they supposed to be the educational leaders of the school, not merely paycheck-receiving lemmings blindly following others?

Yes, Anne Arundel County, there's a lot of catching up to do. And we're going to have to take our lumps in the process. Jumping with abandon into the "Algebra for all" concept might need to be rethought. Pre-Algebra courses should be made available to high school students in need. But please don't abandon this worthy cause and again "dummy-down" our county's math curriculum. Besides, who really cares what a glyph is?

Richard Hannon

Glen Burnie

The writer is a former Anne Arundel middle school math teacher.

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