Voices From The Readers

Seasonal Parking Passes?

As a condo owner, I understand and appreciate the concern of owners being able to have overflow guests park on the street. Perhaps one solution would be to allow condo owners to purchase season parking passes, which can be used on the spots outside the initial prime oceanfront spots.

Lee Mikles
Ocean City

Amenities Applauded

I would like to compliment the vision of those Ocean City Council members, Ocean City Recreation & Parks staff, Ocean City business owners and resident volunteers who participated in the recent ribbon cutting for the Northside Park Outdoor Exercise & Fitness Area.

Their joint efforts, programs, products, facilities and services enhance individual health and well-being, community economic and social fabric and the financial health of the Ocean City business sector.

Their shared vision is for individuals and communities to be introduced to, develop and maintain active and healthy lifestyles. As we do so, we will desire and support (financially and politically) the appropriate products, facilities and services of business owners willing and able to complement and enhance our leisure interests.

Much is accomplished when individuals, communities, government and business share a vision.
Rusty Ruszin
Ocean City

Common Core
Needs Our Attention

“Put simply, there are really only two options when it comes to who will determine the substance of a child’s education: it will be either a bureaucrat who doesn’t know the child’s name, or a parent who would pour out their last drop of blood for the child,” that’s according to Arizona Congressman Trent Franks.

On June 22, 2010, by a vote of 11-0, the Md. State Dept.of Education (MSDE) adopted the Common Core Standards (CC). Without input from parents or the state legislature, 11 unelected officials made a decision that will change the course of education in Maryland forever. School officials say that the adoption of CC was state led. I propose that one governor and 11 appointed bureaucrats making an education decision of this magnitude without taxpayers, parents or legislative input is not state led.

CC was not developed by the states but rather by a DC-based nonprofit called Achieve, Inc., under the auspices of DC private trade associations, National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) funded by a Federal grant of $362 million from US Dept. of Education. Neither NGA nor CCSSO, had a grant of legislative authority from the states to develop “national standards.” To the extent states had any input in CC, it was limited to offering suggestions that may or may not have been accepted by the people in control.

MSDE adopted these standards untested, unpiloted with no cost analysis. Can you imagine a drug company putting a new drug on the market without testing it for years? MSDE has decided to use our children as guinea pigs.

Worcester County Superintendent Dr. Wilson & School Board President Robert Rothermel in a recent article stated that “CC impacts decision making rather than adding additional

expenditures.” I sure hope they’re right. A white paper from the Pioneer Institute states, “Over a typical standards time horizon of seven years, we project Common Core implementation costs will total approximately $15.8 billion across participating states. This constitutes a “midrange” estimate that only addresses the basic expenditures required for implementation of the new standards.”

Testing is not teaching. Students, parents, teachers and I suspect administrators are tired of having to “teach to the test.” CC will require additional testing. Instead of MSA once a year in grades 3-8, PARCC national tests will be conducted twice a year in grades 3-11 for both math and ELA. This high stakes testing will directly link teachers & principals evaluations to student achievement. In my opinion, this additional testing will not foster an environment for learning, but rather a “teach to the test” classroom, removing all creativity for teachers to engage with their students and possibly discourage the love of learning. CC is “No Child Left Behind” on steroids.

Dr Wilson & Mr Rothermel stated that “Forty-five states are implementing the CCSS that are high quality, internationally benchmarked standards.” A) There are currently 16 states in discussion or taking action from withdrawing from the Common Core Standards. B) Where is the evidence of high quality? C) No information was ever presented to the CC Validation Committee to show how CC stacked up against standards of other high-achieving countries.

In fact, the CC web site no longer claims that the standards are “internationally benchmarked” – the website now states that they “are informed by other top performing countries.” There is no definition of what “informed by” means. A May 8, MD State Education Association survey stated, “82% of teachers believe that significant challenges remain to understanding and implementing Common Core in their school.”

I have been told by school officials that they will retain control over their curriculum, but how can that be? How do you control something that you don’t own? NGA & CCSSO owns the standards. They copyrighted them and issued a limitation of liability excusing them of any harm as a result of using the standards. Dr Wilson states that we will not lose “the autonomy to decide how to teach the standards.” I contend that you lose your autonomy when you let private trade groups create the standards.

The real issue is not the testing or whether it was state led. The issue is whether Maryland citizens and the state gave up their sovereignty and autonomy to unelected bureaucrats and special interest groups. I believe that control of our school system should begin at the local level not the national level. This topdown control is not what most teachers, students, or taxpayers want or deserve.

Fran Gebhart

Paid Parking Income
Needed In Resort

I’ve read with great interest the ongoing debates over paid parking on 146th Street by the condo owners. It is my understanding from the letters that the condo owners have assigned parking by virtue of their ownership but believe the city owes them additional street parking for their guest and visitors. This is an interesting argument but I do not believe after looking at the city charter and ordinances this to be factual.

The street parking is for one and all, and as a person who believes there should be paid parking on every street from 130th to 146th streets, I find this would be a great source of income, I really can’t understand the argument. They have assigned parking and their guests are relegated to the parking availability on the street whether it be paid or not.

No property owner is righted available street parking for their visitors and guest.

As a homeowner in Cane Woods, I am guaranteed three parking spaces, one in my garage and two on my parking pad. Other than that, it’s a first-come first-served. The street spaces will become tougher to get as soon as the paid parking ocean side starts because people will start parking bayside instead of paying. This occurs on the busier weekends now when the day trippers from Deleware come for the free beach.

The paid parking is something I believe is the future and we will all have to learn to deal with it.
Len Bender
Ocean City

A Culture Of Bullying

I wanted to share a valuable lesson I learned recently. First, let me explain who I am: my mother is on the local city council, and yes, I know what you’re thinking- "oh my gosh Frankie, give it a rest". Well, this isn’t an article about how wonderful my mom is, nor is this an article about someone being mean to her, because let’s face it; that happens every day. This is an article about bullying. We all know politics can be rough, and finger pointing and name calling are at an all-time high, but I have never experienced firsthand just how cruel some people can be … until now.

If you follow local politics, and local news blogs, you will have heard by now of the city manager’s current familial issues, (in my mind which don’t need to be widely publicized) but that’s also not the point of this article. By now, you will have seen the slew of comments by citizens, and may have even read mine, so let me get to the point.

My educational path has taken me far longer than most 24-year-old students, I mean at this point I should be a doctor. But I took a little longer for the better, and am constantly amazed at life lessons I come across that no classroom can teach.

Enter the lesson plan: I gave my name in my comments, yes, I was not afraid to do so, and only ashamed I didn’t give my name in my original comment. But in doing so- I opened up the floodgates for people with differing opinions to personally attack me, a 24 year old college female, Family Science major, who loves her family and her hometown. Rather than having a civilized discussion backed up by factual information and research, I was accused of being "drunk", "out of control", "stupid- like my mother", that I think "I have all the answers to the world", accused of using my father’s name to establish credibility, badgered about my political party affiliation, and told I was "up past my bed time".

Maybe I’m idealistic; maybe college has made me that way. I was under the impression in a blog forum you are allowed to have differing opinions. Apparently, I was wrong.

At first, I let this all get to me. There were at the time 15 posts about me, not the original subject of the blog post. And then I realized letting my emotions take a hold of me was exactly what they wanted, and what’s even more saddening is that this is the same practice school bullies use on young vulnerable girls, girls who end up hurting themselves for less.

So yes, anonymous blog posters, at 24, I may stay up too late, I may go out with friends, sometimes I even think I’m invincible, and I’m sure at times my parents may agree that I do think I have all the answers, but there is one thing that your ruthless badgering of another human being, bullying, finger pointing and name-calling cannot take away from me; and that’s my unconditional love for my family, and my respect for our great town of Ocean City

Frankie Knight
Ocean City