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Letters to the Editor

November 25, 1997

Letters to the Editor

United Way not involved

To the editor:

I read with interest the letter to the editor of Nov. 9, asking if any sponsors of the 135th Battle of Antietam re-enactment were funded by the United Way or tax dollars. I would like to respond to the question on behalf of the United Way and its member agencies.

To prevent and misunderstanding, let me state categorically that neither United Way or its member agencies participated as sponsors of the re-enactment.

United Way is organized for the purpose of fund-raising to support 25 health and human service agencies in Washington County. Our primary activities revolve around providing financial support of our member agencies through the annual fall fund-raising campaign. The agencies are committed to providing services for people who are disadvantaged or disabled, for children and families in need of help, and for people who are hungry or homeless. Although the re-enactment was a very worthy enterprise, it did not qualify as a potential recipient of our investors' contributions. Those funds are used solely to provide human service needs to our community.

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I hope this clarifies any misconception about the use of United Way or member agency financial resources.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind your readers that the fund-raising campaign is in progress. Contributions are welcome. They may be sent to: United Way of Washington County, 998 Potomac Ave., Hagerstown, Md., 21742-3990.

Richard Gagliardi

Chairman, 1997 campaign

MSO board should keep Barry Tuckwell

To the editor:

We would appreciate the Board of Directors of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra allowing Barry Tuckwell to remain as music director of the symphony.

We feel that Barry Tuckwell has been a wonderful asset to our community. He has enthusiastically presented a wide variety of music to our area. The concerts at the Maryland Theatre are well attended and include programs that appeal to all ages.

The holiday concerts with a visit from Santa Claus spread Christmas cheer. The July Fourth celebration concerts at Antietam extend patriotism and pride among the thousands who attend. Concerts and individual instrumental presentations are presented to students in the schools.

People of all ages have been introduced to classical music. We enjoyed the concert of light classics at Doubs Woods. Informal discussions on Fridays before the concerts help concert-goers better understand the music being performed. It would be nice if the Maryland Symphony Orchestra would make a CD of some of their favorite musical selections.

We feel strongly that Barry Tuckwell should remain as music director of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra.

Gerald Hicks

Funkstown

PTA opposes new tests

To the editor:

The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has proposed a series of high school tests as a graduation requirement. All students, in order to graduate from high school, will be required to pass 10 of 12 tests in order to receive a diploma. These tests as proposed will affect all public school students currently in fifth grade.

MSDE has contracted with Educational Testing Service to develop a series of 12 tests centered on the core learning goals at a cost of $23 million. The MSDE claims no local jurisdictional money will be used for the test development. However, the money will come from the general fund which in effect reduces the amount of money available to all local jurisdictions.

The cost to administer the test is estimated at $29 each. Assuming each student will pass all the tests on the first try, it will cost $348 per student. MSDE has not identified who will pay these costs.

ETS has warned MSDE that over 50 percent of all students taking the tests will fail them on the first try. In addition, it warned that a student carrying an "A" average will only have a 35 percent chance of passing all the tests. This means that 65 percent of all high-achieving students will not be able to graduate from high school.

The PTA opposes the proposed series of high school tests as a graduation requirement. We encourage all interested persons to discover what MSDE has planned for our students beginning in the year 2005.

W. Raymond Ketrow

Vice President for Leadership

Maryland PTA

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