Voices From Our Readers

Wasteful Laboring


I visited Ocean City this past week and while walking the boardwalk I witnessed severe waste of tax dollars. The crew rebuilding the Caroline Street comfort station spent most of their time wondering aimlessly around the work area.

As a business owner from out of town, I can only assume that this project is a union job funded by tax dollars. I watched them on several occasions (including Saturday) and at no time was work being done at a rate that would be near the level of productivity accepted by private industry in a competitive market.

If this is what the American workforce is all about, we are sure to be doomed by immigrant and foreign labor forces. I truly believe that we have lost sight of what it takes to be a successful democracy and we do not have the courage or strength to make the necessary corrections!

I certainly hope the Ocean City government makes some tough decisions before it is too late.

Gerald Wolfe

Lititz, Pa.

Common Core A Facade


Recently, a local paper published an article highlighting Worcester County’s Public Schools’ request to the county to request from the state a "one-time non-recurring" additional $400,000 of funding, with more than half being applied to the advance of technology. Specifically, $200,000 of the budget is meant for computer tablets as a means to ready students for the PARCC Test (Partnership for the Assessment and Readiness for College and Careers).

While I am generally pleased when funding is allotted for the purpose of education, do we really need to spend $200,000 (we don’t have) for an extraneous item that really seems more of a novelty than a necessity? That aside, the tablets will be used to assist students with passing an assessment which is supposedly designed to measure "common core" knowledge of Language Arts and Mathematics. The Common Core State Standards initiative is a paper tiger to the failed No Child Left Behind program, changing the title certainly did not change the methods or practices of the organization.

This program, working in conjunction with the PARCC, says it is meant "to provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them." Perhaps my perspective is skewed, but if a teacher doesn’t know what his or her students need academically perhaps they shouldn’t be a teacher? An educator needs a government institution to tell them how and what to teach so they can do it effectively? Sounds more like the common core is designed to teach educators how to do their job, since bad educators can’t be fired (Thank you Teacher’s Union). As a means to ensure the students are absorbing a curriculum the Common Core considers to be "robust and relevant to the real world," the PARCC is tasked with creating an assessment to measure student progress.

On the surface the PARCC doesn’t seem so bad-measuring student progress and perhaps a means to regulate the Common Core itself? Until you learn the program was formed with government stimulus money, $186 million to be precise, and the ‘assessments’ are tracking more than math scores. The tax money given to the PARCC could be spent on schools and students directly for the facilitation of learning, not on a program that allegedly creates a test to determine if they are learning. As a means to track student progress, PARCC is amassing copious amounts of data on each student, details that prove invasive and unnecessary, especially if the data really is (as they say) meant strictly for monitoring academic progress. The assessments were supposedly designed to track Language and Mathematical competence, but they are also tracking things like "appreciation for diversity" and "flexibility."

How are either of these imperative to mapping a child’s academic progress? They are not. How can subjective things of this nature be measured objectively? They cannot. Maryland is implementing the Common Core standard in September 2013, and participates with the PARCC-as evident with the aforementioned funding proposal to assist with the assessment. We should be fighting against an educational institution that is a façade for more government control, as well as invading the most basic privacy of school children, that we as adults take for granted.

Shakespeare said it best, "A rose by any other name…," and while the regulation may be under a different guise it will still be as unproductive as the first implementation, and just as costly.

Leigh Williams


Spending Appalling


I am from Salisbury and Ocean City and I am 58 years old. I have always been a Baltimore sports fan. When I was a little kid I would listen to Chuck Thompson and Vince Bagli do Colt games, I followed the ’66 Orioles, I watched Gus Johnson and Earl Monroe play for the Bullets. It was wonderful. Baltimore was my team and Maryland was my state.

However, things have changed over the years.

Whenever I hear of a player getting $100 million, I get nauseous and I want to throw up. As we all know, Joe Flacco, the quarterback for the Ravens, just signed a contract for $120 million for six years. That breaks down to $20 million a year (and I’m glad we have him for another six years). Of course, $20 million is a lot of scratch. There are 16 games a year. That comes to $1.25 million a game. The game is 60 minutes long. That is over $20,000 a minute.

If a man has a regular job where he works Monday to Friday, eight hours a day for 40 hours a week, and he works 50 weeks a year, that comes to 2,000 hours a year. If he makes $25 an hour, his annual salary would be $50,000 a year. He would have to work 25 years to make what Joe Flacco will make in one game. If he makes $25,000 a year, it would take him 50 years.

Of course, players are going to make a lot of money but it is so out of control. I am still a big fan of Baltimore teams but sadly, not like I used to be.

Dan King


Tubman Honor Lauded


President Obama recently marked the 100th anniversary of the death of Harriet Tubman by designating the establishment of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Dorchester County. I cannot think of a more fitting or compelling tribute to one of the most courageous, inspirational heroes in our nation’s history.

Harriet Ross Tubman was born into slavery on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. As a young child and adult, she toiled for a number of masters, escaping from slavery in her mid-20s to become the most famous “conductor” on the Underground Railroad. She also served as a nurse and a spy for the Union during the Civil War. In her later years, she became active in the women’s suffrage movement and created a home “for aged and indigent colored people” before her death on March 10, 1913 in Auburn, N.Y.

All Marylanders can be proud that this new National Monument will memorialize the tremendous contributions Harriet Tubman made to American history. It also preserves the unique landscape associated with her life on the Eastern Shore, which remains almost unchanged today. President Obama’s National Monument designation will serve as an intermediate step to fulfilling an even greater vision of honoring her legacy.

That vision includes legislation I have authored — The Harriet Tubman National Historical Park and The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park Act, S. 247 — to create a National Historical Park in Maryland and another in New York to honor the legacy and life’s work of Harriet Tubman. Co-sponsors of S. 247 include: U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) and Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand (both D-NY).

The new National Monument designated by President Obama will be located in Dorchester County on lands that were historically significant to Harriet Tubman’s life and her work on the Underground Railroad. Located within the National Monument are portions of Stewart’s Canal, a manmade waterway Harriet Tubman’s father, Ben Ross, helped build as a slave. The National Monument also will contain the home site of Jacob Jackson, a free black man who used coded letters to help Tubman communicate with family and others and who also offered up his house as one of the first safe houses along the Underground Railroad leading out of Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The Conservation Fund donated a 480-acre property, adjacent to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, to the National Park Service for the purposes of establishing the National Monument.

Harriet Tubman was an iconic figure in our nation’s history, and as we commemorate the 100th anniversary of her death this year, this designation is an important step in fully honoring this true American heroine.

U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin

Washington, D.C.