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Letters to the Editor

February 04, 1998

Letters to the Editor

Something to drop out about

To the editor:

Anyone who still believes that the Maryland state government knows how to educate a child needs to look no further than the front page of The (Jan. 15) Herald-Mail to be proved incorrect.

According to the article, the state school board gave $250,000 to the Washington County Board of Education "to hire and train four teachers who will work with elementary students who are at risk for dropping out." Elementary students don't consider dropping out when they reach 10th grade; their primary concern is recess. The money would be much more effective in middle school, where students are first labeled failures by their teachers and peers.

Regardless of how it is used, the state has yet to address the problem of why one South High student in 14, will drop out.

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Our legislators are apparently unaware that programs passed to encourage learning are destroying our students' chances of success after high school. The Maryland High School Improvement Program, which was adopted by the state board last week, will require students to pass 10 tests, covering subjects like algebra and physics, in order to graduate.

The state says that teachers will not be forced to teach the tests, but they obviously expect that it will happen in all state high schools.

According to the WCBOE minutes for the Dec. 16 meeting, the functional test for citizenship may be eliminated as early as next school year so that "those school systems may alter their teaching strategies to focus on the core learning goals in government." Geometry has not yet changed since Euclid invented it, so why should the method of teaching change every year?

As part of the High School Improvement Program, the Maryland Functional Tests will be eliminated, starting with the class of 2004. I don't remember any of the debate about their usefulness that undoubtedly accompanied their inception in the 1993-94 school year, but I do remember being in the first class of seventh graders that was forced to take them. The state has now decided that they never were necessary, or even helpful, but instead of recanting they have adopted a new set of standardized atrocities that will give this year's sixth graders something to drop out about.

Chad Tucker

Smithsburg

Hats off

To the editor:

My hat is off to Susan Bruchey's response to Julie Greene's article in the Jan. 10 edition of The Herald-Mail. Being in the car business, I know that it will not be extremely difficult for our mayor to run this city and be effective in his new job.

I put in between 60 to 70 hours per week and still find time to assist my wife in our family business. I know the Brucheys and would have to say that Bob is a man who knows what his limitations are, and would never sacrifice his responsibilities as mayor for personal reasons.

I also commend Susan for her efforts in being a wonderful mother. This is not about "man does this and women does that." This is about two people sharing responsibilities in an effort to establish and protect a family with strong moral fiber, so that in the future, perhaps their children, will carry on the worthy ambition of creating an all-American family.

Richard K. Sudhoff

Hagerstown

Slow going at Ft. Ritchie

To the editor:

I would like to make reference to a column in your newspaper on Jan. 18, by Donald Currier called "Time to update the Fort Ritchie story."

I agree 100 percent with Currier's comments, especially the answers the LRA is giving: "We're negotiating with a lot of potential clients, but we can't tell you about them because it might jeopardize negotiations with the Army."

This has been their answer since the inception of the LRA. How come the Letterkenny Army Depot has taken a lot of action and they are dealing with the Army? Yes, we need a lot of answers from a few people who are receiving high salaries from government and state funds.

Oh, yes, the LRA did do one thing. They created the Pen-Mar Redevelopment Corporation. I still say the name Ritchie should be retained in any reference to Ft. Ritchie. The LRA has made some comments about historical buildings at Ft. Ritchie; to me the name Ft. Ritchie has some history.

Stanley E. McIntire

Blue Ridge Summit, Pa.

Council women

To the editor:

On Jan. 4, the Opinion Page had an article by Bob Maginnis about Pat Cushwa in which he stated that she was the first woman to serve on the Williamsport Town Council.

The first woman council member in Williamsport was Naomi Harsh Taylor, who served in that capacity under Mayor Richard Hawkin.

Frances R. South

Williamsport

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