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Lawmakers unaware of Role Models' actions

December 07, 2000

Lawmakers unaware of Role Models' actions



By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer

see also: Non-dropouts accepted by Role Models

Two members of the region's congressional delegation apparently were unaware that Role Models Academy has accepted students who are not high school dropouts.

An Oct. 20 letter co-signed by U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., and U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., said the Role Models program is "designed to give a 'second chance' opportunity to our nation's 6 million high school dropouts."

The letter also was signed by two other members of Congress who do not represent the region.

At the time she signed that letter, Mikulski did not know that some students at the school had not dropped out before transferring to the new school on the former Fort Ritchie Army base, said Johanna Ramos-Boyer, Mikulski's spokeswoman.

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The letter was drafted by Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., and signed by the others, a spokesman for Bartlett said.

Ramos-Boyer said it sounds like the academy is having "growing pains," but because its goals and concepts are strong, initial problems will be resolved.

The U.S. Department of Labor, which funded the academy with a $10 million grant, is monitoring the school and will notify the academy if there is a problem, Ramos-Boyer said.

Mikulski will let the Labor Department deal with any problems and questions, she said.

Bartlett released a written response to a reporter's questions about his view of the program.

"In our high-tech economy, a lack of education cripples opportunities for success," Bartlett said in the statement. "It is distressing that so many of our young people drop out during their critical high school years. The Role Models program promises to address this growing problem.

"Because the Role Models program is brand new, it is probably wise to wish the staff and students success and to await further developments before definitive conclusions can be drawn," he said in the letter.

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