Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

February 01, 2004

Howard parents deserve full story

With the football coach gone and the superintendent being asked to leave, the Board of Education seems to feel as if they have adequately dealt with the questions concerning academic improprieties in Howard County.

The truth of the matter is that the students, staff and parents of Oakland Mills High School have yet to be dealt with fairly. The Board has not disclosed all of the who, what, when, where, why and how's of this matter.

FOR THE RECORD - A "Letter to the Editor" in the Feb. 1 Howard County section of The Sun misspelled the name of letter-writer Lanny J. Morrison, of Columbia.
The Sun regrets the error.

The plan to investigate one school for fall sports academic compliance and all the other schools in the winter season is laughable. Audit every school for the past fall season. Let parents in all schools have to produce a copy of the deed to their home three hours before game time to prove their children are in district and eligible to play basketball games that day as I had to do.

What about the Centennial grade changing? What about a school day that is 15 minutes short? Who is responsible? Who is accountable? The Board would have us believe it is just one football coach and it is just Oakland Mills. The taxpayers have paid to have these matters investigated and are entitled to a full report on the findings.

Skip Shepherd

Oakland Mills

Article on Rouse Co. unfair, reader says

I am disappointed in the article ("Zoning denial spurs doubts about Rouse," Jan. 25), on the Rouse Company. It was not balanced, as it gave the impression that there were no supporters of Rouse's proposals (which, of course, there were).

The Sun needs to include the voices of people other than Alliance for a Better Columbia and its allies, because they are not the only people in Columbia, or Howard County for that matter, who care what is going on.

After the absurd "Kremlin" diatribe, it is imperative that The Sun seek balance in its reporting on CA and Columbia. For example, why has there been no media coverage of those people who spoke out at the CA budget hearings opposing reducing the annual assessments?

Larry J. Morrison Columbia

Support for limits on CA assessments

Delegate Shane Pendergrass's bill to cap the Columbia Association's assessment raises to 10 percent makes sound financial sense for CA and Howard County.

Not too long ago, Howard County capped its assessment increases at 5 percent. When that legislation was introduced, forecasts of gloom and doom, massive layoffs and service cutbacks, were rampant throughout the county. However, after the 5 percent assessment cap was passed, the county adjusted. It learned to live within its means. The county has made, generally, sound fiscal and management decisions regarding its operations, given the fact that there is a limit to the amount of revenue it can raise from year to year. Most importantly, people have not lost their jobs and county services continue to function well.

So, would capping CA's assessment rate at 10 percent change the way CA delivers services? Possibly this would happen; however, this is the same burden every organization that serves the public has had to face for the last 15 years. In times when federal, local, and state governments have run deficits, CA has been flush with cash. CA has yet to fully demonstrate that it can limit its urges to raise assessment rates to fund itself. Clearly some belt-tightening is in order, and CA ought to be happy with a cap which is twice that for the county.

Given that CA is not a government in itself, I see no other option than for another level of government to legislate this change for them. I find it interesting that many of those who oppose Delegate Pendergrass's bill on the grounds that the state shouldn't be meddling in local affairs also don't even want to discuss the types of fundamental governance changes for Columbia that would give such power directly to the citizens of Columbia -- where admittedly it should be.

Bill Woodcock

Columbia

Writer suggests O'Rourke go quietly

"Everything begins with integrity." This appears to be one issue surrounding Howard County Superintendent John O'Rourke.

Mr. O'Rourke has been called a good listener, but his background as a school psychologist leaves one wondering if he was listening or psychoanalyzing. As we listen to his daily rants in the paper, it's time to psychoanalyze him.

From the articles regarding his bullying and badgering, it appears he believes, "when it comes to motivation, there is nothing like fear to get people moving."

As he continues to relish the past, remember, "Denial is the world's most prevalent defense mechanism." While the optimist sees the glass half full, and the pessimist sees it half empty, the person in denial asks: "What glass?" Mr. O'Rourke now asks: What problem? Maybe the Board of Education sees a superintendent lacking leadership, or realizes he is about grandiose goals, not results.

Now he tries to salvage his reputation issuing preemptive press releases, not worrying about the students. Instead, he should heed some familiar advice and recognize it's important to "not get caught up in a contest of wills" and that "humility is by far the noblest virtue of all."

As you may have guessed, the quotes above come from a talk Mr. O'Rourke gave at the 2003 American Association of School Administrators National Conference on Education.

Mr. O'Rourke discussed that just as individuals go through an evolution of growth development, so do groups of people. Mr. O'Rourke might be right, as it appears the Board is evolving, acquiring the vision to see his faults and the courage to do something about it.

Mr. O'Rourke says to "end with integrity." Well Mr. O'Rourke, please heed the wishes of the Board and your own words, have some "humility," end your "denial," have some "integrity" and leave.

K. Gregory Fox

Fulton

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