May 06, 2007

LAST WEEK'S ISSUE -- The Anne Arundel County school board ceded to pleas to allow most students from the Seven Oaks community to remain at Arundel High, a vote that some said merely delayed the tougher decision on how to solve school crowding in West County.

Superintendent Kevin M. Maxwell had recommended moving 344 students from Arundel High in Gambrills to Meade High at Fort Meade to alleviate crowding at Arundel, which has nine portable classrooms to handle the overflow. He had said he was amenable to allowing next school year's juniors and seniors from Seven Oaks to stay at Arundel.

School board members sought to keep more Seven Oaks children at Arundel after hearing parents testify Tuesday night that their children would be academically and emotionally damaged by a move to a new school and that their siblings in middle school who had hopes of attending Arundel would be equally distressed. Parents also accused the school system of trying to resegregate schools by drawing attendance boundaries that funnel minorities into lower-performing schools in the Meade High School feeder system.

School board member Ned Carey developed an amendment that allowed all Seven Oaks children attending Arundel to stay put and their siblings in MacArthur Middle to attend Arundel High. The only students who would move to Meade High would be MacArthur Middle School students from Seven Oaks without siblings at Arundel.

What do you think of the school board's decision?

Crowded schools hurt education

The School Board's plan to alleviate overcrowding at Arundel High School in Gambrills is going to be tough to implement and keep implemented. In my humble opinion, other options need to be explored.

Overcrowding is a very serious issue in our school system and when there is overcrowding, it affects our school children. That is something we can't have.

The education they receive now in our school system is one of the most important things in their lives. Overcrowding hurts that education. The plan needs to be phased in and needs a chance to grow into acceptance.

If the overcrowding is affecting the classes and the students, then the plan should be that students from a certain community or communities that would start school next year at Arundel High School be moved to Meade High School, if they can handle the increase.

The students that are already at Arundel High should stay. They are used to the school, its people, and its surroundings, and that helps their education as well.

In any case, we can not let the overcrowding hurt our children's education.

Victor Henderson Glen Burnie

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