The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio on September 23, 1991 · Page 10
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September 23, 1991

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The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio · Page 10

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Cincinnati, Ohio
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Monday, September 23, 1991
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A-10Comment Till- CINCINNATI 1 NQl IR1 R Monday, September, 23, I99I THE CINCINNATI ENQUIRER WILLIAM J. KEATING Chairman and Publisher GEORGE R. BLAKE Editor, Vice President THOMAS E. DUNNING Managing Editor THOMAS S. GEPHARDT Associate Editor DARRYL W. EVERETT Vice President, Advertising WILLIAM R. JOHNSTON Vice President, Circulation MARK S. MIKOLAJCZYK Vice President. Production JAMES A. SCHWARTZ Vice President, Finance GERALD T. SILVERS Vice President, Marketing Services A Gannett Newspaper Elections Crucial races and issues suggest this is anything but an off year the school system Labor Day had hardly passed, marking the start of this year's political campaigns, when the talk began. It was the same old story an off-year election, no big deal, low voter interest. In the Tristate, nothing could be further from the truth. Cincinnati voters will elect a city council. The race this year has attracted 26 candidates, including six independents. That's hardly an indication that there are no issues worth talking about. Indeed, three key city issues will be on the ballot. Voters will cast a straightforward yes-or-no vote on proportional representation. Two other ballot proposals deal with the same issue, whether or not to limit council incumbents to four consecutive terms. Voters will have to be familiar with the issue just to understand the difference in the proposals. Three seats on the Cincinnati school board are up for election. The makeup of the board during the next few years could determine what will be done about grades, discipline and school should be required for students a v?- v'V A '' ' Government There is ample proof to show that welfare state won't work the many improvements recommended in the Buenger Commission. Oh yes, and there is the matter of a 9.73-mill operating levy that is being presented as the difference between solvency and receivership for the Cincinnati schools. Kentucky has a governor's race that pits Republican Congressman Larry Hopkins against Democratic Lt. Gov. Brereton Jones. It is the commonwealth's first gubernatorial election in years that is not considered a Democratic runaway. The list goes on and on. Every jurisdiction and subdivision has to decide races and issues of ongoing importance. Schools, roads, environment, recreation, infrastructure, taxes: There is not a matter of any public significance that will not be decided by the electorate somewhere in the Tristate in November. And this is being shrugged off as a hum-drum election year? Sorry, but anyone who takes that attitude is either a shirker or simply not paying attention. few years ago. The costs have proven astronomical, driving taxes on wages and consumer goods sky-high. One result is an increase in illegal cross-border purchases, which means high revenue losses for government and for Canadian manufacturers and merchants as well. These examples are pertinent because there are indications that a major theme of the coming presidential campaign will be "Aid for America." The pitch is that the nation is spending too little on domestic programs. There will be a call to return to the bankrupt transfer and redistribution programs of the 1960s. That's not the answer. If our own past failures do not prove it, then what we know now about Sweden, Canada and the Eastern Bloc should Without doubt, the United States must solve some difficult problems We have to address poverty, illiteracy, health care, crime, pollution, overspending and debt. This time, however, we must insist on real answers that will not create more problems over the long term than they hope to solve. woman to become a part of the royal family. But today's girls . . . would rather be free and have fun." Prince Naruhito's parents, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, are reportedly quite worried. The prince, who will become the 126th Son of Heaven, has the royal duty to provide a male heir, and time is marching on. The media, of course, have expressed concern. One upstart magazine suggested the prince try a more attractive hair style, and offered to introduce him to a hair dresser. The imperial palace was not amused. There is a bright side to the flap about the prince's love life, or lack thereof. It does take the Japanese public's mind off such nasty matters as the Tokyo stock-market scandals, snippy remarks from France and trade pressure from the United States. For the prince, it's tough, no doubt about it. But nobody promised him an imperial rose garden, although all he wants is a little moonlight and roses. David D. Black . . . extensive changes needed etc. Full-day care centers would allow single parents the opportunity to work and get off welfare. Such centers, with appropriately trained and paid staff, would admittedly need to be publicly subsidized, but I would rather spend a dollar in dropout prevention than a dollar in unproductive welfare. It is widely accepted that Head Start programs are cost-effective. It is not widely known that they need to be expanded beyond the 20 of "at risk" kids who are funded to participate now. The uncovered 80 need to be funded so that they are prepared to learn in grades 1-3 or they are apt to turn into dropout problems later. The extent of "customer" dissatisfaction with the "output" of the present system virtually demands that "product specifications" be formalized. Public school district educators must sit down with representatives of business, and of colleges, to establish standards of accomplishment in the basics of reading English, writing English, civics (history, geography, politics), and mathematics. Until all three agree on specific objectives for each grade level, there is bound to be continued misunderstanding and dissatisfaction. Simultaneously, they should come to a consensus on what the schools cannot provide (parent training, disciplining pathologically disruptive kids, etc.). These services must be delegated elsewhere in the community. Educators must then expect all children who don't need special remedial education to meet or exceed those achievement standards. It is a truism in education that teacher expectations have an enormous impact on student performance. Further, schools must test their students regularly to insure that desired outcomes will be reached. Summer The question has to do with government as the great equalizer and provider of services. Without doubt, it will come up often during the '92 presidential campaign. What's dangerous is that it could tempt U.S. voters to look back rather than forward. In fact, big government is in big trouble all over the world in 1991. And that's not just the centralized totalitarian regimes that have been ousted in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Freely elected social-welfare governments also are tottering. In Sweden, to take the most obvious example, the government of Social Democratic Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson resigned in the face of waning public support. Sweden's welfare state is taking about 60 of a worker's salary in taxes. Every third worker is on the government's payroll. Inflation is the highest in Western Europe. And people complain about bureaucratic inefficiency, delays and lack of choice in such essential services as medical and child care. Canada also is experiencing trouble, much of it attributed to the total health-care program instituted there a Japan Reforming BY DAVID D. BLACK Guest Columnist Over the past two years a group of senior members of the Cincinnatus Association has discussed the problems of public education. We have talked with a variety of educators and knowledgeable community leaders. And we are even trying to start a demonstration project of encouraging mothers to read to their infants as preparation for school. From my participation in all of this activity, I have come to the conclusions that (a) there is an obvious need for major reform in primary and secondary public education, locally and nationally, and (b) many different aspects of public schooling need reform. So I would like to applaud the Buenger report, and to endorse in particular . . . all of the recommendations for school-based management; shifting responsibility, authority, and accountability to principals and teachers; severe reduction of the central staff; the reorganization into 9 mini-districts; the call for better management of the infrastructure, and the complaint that there is too much bureaucratic demand from Columbus and Washington, not accompanied by funding. However, our study group was not restricted to a study of management practices, and I see additional needs that require attention, and some matters that need more emphasis as Cincinnati implements the Buenger report. Some 60 of inner-city children are from poverty-level homes, as high as 95 from single-parent homes. Too often the parent, is a teen-age mother, who has had neither prenatal medical care nor any instruction in how to be a parent (simple hygiene, nutrition of both mother and child, talking and reading to kids, etc.). We need to find those ill-prepared mothers, and provide elementary medical and parent-education services. We should insist that they be acquiring, or have, a high school diploma to qualify for welfare and day-care support. Otherwise, our community will continue to pay the postnatal costs of newborn intensive care (which can be $150,000 per case vs. $400 for prenatal care), plus all the societal costs which dropouts incur when they can't hack it in the modern world (foster care, welfare, crime, etc.). Too many kids come to the first day of school unprepared; so even an uniformed system starts with a handicap. The 60 of inner-city children from "poverty" homes frequently have a disorganized family life, illiterate parent(s), inability to access the welfare and social service systems, inadequate food and clothing, Safety at BY GARY WASHBURN Chicago Tribune Do you feel a little twinge of guilt when you do 61 or 62 miles an hour on an expressway where the limit is 55? Or when you can't bring yourself to obey the posted 45 on the wide-open arterial you use to get to work? Or when you can't help going faster than 30 on city streets where that's the legal maximum? Well, consider this: Maybe you should feel a little less guilt about violating speed limits and a little more irritation at the people who set them. Experts establish limits on some streets and highways based on their special knowledge of safety, but new studies by Federal Highway Administration (FHA) traffic-research engineers suggest that the limits on many other thoroughfares aie set arbitrarily. Preliminary findings by researchers Samuel Signor and Davey Warren suggest that speed limits often are artificially low, that the result is disregard for the law by motorists and that, if speed limits were set realistically, police could stop wasting their time on safe drivers and concentrate on those who are dangerous. who start to fall behind; and all children, regardless of academic interest or aptitude, should be made ready for either a job or higher education. Clear and consistent discipline must be exercised in both educational and behavioral matters. Homework should be required: about 1-2 hours a night. Good behavior should be required. In-school detentionsuspension, and Saturday work details need to be used to enforce discipline standards. Ultimately, recalcitrant children should be turned over to Juvenile Court. Community social services need to be coordinated at some inner-city schools for the mothers who cannot afford the time or effort to make multiple contacts around the city to avail themselves of the existing services. Providing an office to be staffed by United Way coordinators would not cost the schools money, and it would bring social services nearer their customers. Where necessary or desired, each child should have a volunteer mentor. If there is one lesson that the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative has learned, it is that too many inner-city children need the guidance and encouragement of a role model. Tangled finances School finance is Byzantine. Districts which have a power plant fall in their laps have more money than they need, while rural districts suffer impoverished tax bases. The rollback requirement of HB 920 assures that school income will be frozen ai constant dollar levels, and inflation will be guaranteed to erode the real income of schools. School income must be indexed to inflation. Then school levies will be less frequent, and can be truly used to improve quality, if voters want it improved. Teacher certification requirements need to be modified to allow college graduates, who do not have education degrees, but who are competent in a subject and have good communication skills, to teach their subject. Thousands of potentially good teachers are blocked from the "supply pool" by archaic certification rules. That is a lot of reform. It undoubtedly means some additional cost for public schools. But not all of the necessary reforms cost money, and not all of the cost burden should fall on schools. We must address the question of whether we can afford not to a reform a system which is obviously in need of adjustment if it is to perform its desired function. David D. Black is an executive with a Cincinnati brokerage firm. meant 8-12 miles an hour below that 85th percentile mark. Only about one in 10 speed zones had a compliance rate of better than 50, Signor and Warren found, and "the posted speeds make technical violators out of motorists driving at reasonable and safe speeds." Unfortunately, those "technical violators" sometimes wind up with real tickets. Accident involvement rates in urban areas was highest for the slowest 5 of the traffic, high for the fastest 5 and lowest for cars and trucks in the 35 to 95 percentile range, according to the research. So maybe it's time for local officials to get real about speed limits. If the federal government's goal in limiting speeds on interstates is fuel conservation, that's one thing. But if the intent is maximum safety on local streets, let the limits reflect what's really safe. Gary Washburn is a reporter for the Chicago Tribune. The prince looks for love; the country looks for an heir law-breaking speeds It's not easy being a prince, especially if you're a bachelor reaching the ripe age (for princes) of 32 and the whole country's fretting about the absence of a bouncing baby boy within palace walls. Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito, who will be emperor someday, wants to marry for love, a decided break with the tradition of arranged marriages for the imperial family. But the opportunities for a Japanese prince to meet appropriate young women are limited. Unlike Western royalty, he is not permitted to gad about, meeting young women in social settings beyond the palace. The ones he does meet are usually those acceptable enough to attend functions at the palace. That's not the only hitch. Japanese women, palace functionaries complain, are no longer interested in spending their lives restricted to official duties. Said one retired palace chamberlain: "Once it was the grandest honor for a Most states have basic speed standards, typically 30 miles an hour in urban areas and 50 miles an hour in rural areas, "unless otherwise posted," said Howard Bissell, a FHA traffic-research engineer familiar with the work of Signor and Warren. If there's nothing particularly scientific about 30 and 50, there's often even less scholarship involved in the "otherwise" postings. County highway departments, village boards and other units of local government enter the picture here, and their decisions often are political ones, Bissell said. A sort of law of nature is at work among drivers, according to Bissell. Most motorists tend to drive at speeds at which they feel safe, no matter what limit is posted. The ideal limit is at something called the "85th percentile speed" the speed at or below which 85 of traffic moves on a given stretch of road, Bissell said. Signor and Warren found that current speed limits on average "are set too low to be accepted by the vast majority of drivers." On many streets studied, that T T

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