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June 9, 1995     Cape Gazette
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June 9, 1995

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14 -,C, APE GAZEFI'E, Fday, June g:JOne 15,1996 Milton Mayor, orders police to escort tWO from town meeting By Kerry Kester Two men were escorted by town police from the Milton Town Council meeting on Monday, June 5, after a heated debate on whether to reinstate the basketball court in a Front Street park. Milton Mayor G. Ruth Batten admonished Manuel Davis and Charlie Thomas for being disrespectful to the council and to town residents during their appeal to council to consider their pro- posal for improving the park. The problem arose at last month's meet- ing when the council voted to have the bas- ketball court removed from the park. Mem- bers cited community complaints to police about obscene language and substance use at the court. The basketball court was taken down the day after the council's decision. At the time of the decision, council, working with community resident Bernice Edwards, agreed to hear a proposal for rein- stating the court if measures would be taken to eliminate the problems. Edwards pre- sented a proposal developed by Lenwood Eley at Monday's meeting. "I have met with some of the homeown- ers and residents of the Front Street Pro- ject," said Edwards, who was Eley's spokesperson. She said the Front Street Community Project would essentially in- volve three phases. First, it would place picnic tables in the park to assist with the summer feeding pro- ject for children. She said volunteers, par- ents and young men would be a major part of that first phase. Second, she said, would be an area clean up. With assistance from the Chamber of Commerce, parents and the community, weedy areas would be cut down, flowers would be planted and EDWARDS the sliding door and swings would be repaired. Third, she said, would be fundraising. She made a plea for parents and community to work together on a common goal. "I want the council to be sensitive to the needs of the residents in the community," said Edwards. "The community felt you could work together." Davis then said Eley's proposal was not the same as one he had devised and began to give his alternative proposal. He began by saying, "There have never been any ar- rests on the basketball court." Sergeant John Miller of the Milton police challenged his comment. "All the police- men have seen this, and witnessed this," he said of the allegations of fighting, obscene language and substance use. "I've seen loud, abusive arguing." Davis veered from presenting his propos- al to attempting to get individual council members to give their specific reasons for voting to close the court. Council member Dennis Hughes said he did not favor having two parks in such close proximity and he echoed police concerns. Davis said he was not willing to follow Edwards' and Eley's plan because he want- ed to see the court reinstated right away. "Basically, we want permission to renovate the park," he said. He said he would be financially responsi- ble, if necessary, for putting in picnic tables and for cleaning up the park. He added that he also wanted the police department to apologize to the black community. "Our police officers will not be apologiz- ing for doing their job," said couficil mem- ber Diane Lockwood. At that point several members of the audience complained to the members that neither Davis nor Thomas had a right to approach council since they are not Milton residents. "We can legally do something about this. You're talking about our heritage. Basket- ball is our heritage," said Thomas. "I would like to see that we work togeth- er," interjected Edwards. Leah Betts, council member, said council is interested in hearing community propos- als. Batten agreed, adding that residents had made their wishes known to Eley. She told Davis that Eley had told her he would not defend Davis' and Thomas' posi- tion unless they planned to work within the boundaries of his proposal. The council will continue to discuss Eley's proposal, but at this point it will not rescind its order to remove the basketball court. New Directions Continued from page 12 the additional millions of dollars required by New Directions. After Rochester, N. Y. imple- mented similar education reform, their per pupil cost increased and academic scores declined. The State of Kentucky is anoth- er example. After five years and $1.4 billion additional tax dollars, two-thirds of their schools still did not meet the new standards and their assessment tests are criti- cized as defective. The successes of two inner city public schools emphasizing the teaching of basic academic skills is well founded. The principals of these two schools abandoned the new edu- cation reforms and emphasized teaching basic skills in reading, math computation, and language skills. On national standardized tests, their students are outperforming the students attending perfor- mance-based schools. Knowledgeable parents oppose New Directions because they are convinced that it will drastically increase education costs and de- crease academic skills. The following statement is by Jane McBride, teacher: Inclusion has failed In 1993, the General Assembly mandated a review of the structure and funding of special education by the State Board of Education. The State Board formed the Spe- cial Education Study Committee, headed by Dr. Martha Brooks of the Department of Public Instruc- tion (DPI) to conduct this review. The final report of this committee was issued in January of 1995, recommending a three to five year, $37 million implementation plan. The report is described as fully aligned with Goals 2000, New Di' rections, and the Gap Analysis in its commitment to "equity and ex- cellence for all." Under the guise of "equity for all", the report makes two startling recommenda- tions which could have a poten- tially devastating impact on both regular and special education. The report recommends that the labels of "learning disabled" and "educable mentally handicapped" be removed from approximately 75 percent of Delaware's special edu- cation stu- dents and that these children be placed into the regular classroom en- vironment. Research from numer- McBRIDE ous other states indicates that such plans have failed to meet the needs of either special education students or regular students, as discipline problems abound in classrooms where ability levels range from the learning disabled to the gifted. Another major goal of this "forced inclusion" model is to serve children in the school they would normally attend if they did not have a disability. Sen. Richard Hauge, R-Windy- bush: Assessment fails test Delaware's New Directions In- terim Assessment program - those tests given to every third, fifth, eighth, and tenth grade student in the state last month - is perfor- mance-based testing. Performance testing is simply too subjective and too costly to perform the function for which a statewide testing pro- gram propos- es to do. Statewide testing should provide ob- jective mea- sures of school and HAUGE teacher performance so parents, school officials, and elected offi- cials can hold the system account- able. Statewide performance testing provides no information compar- ing students' performance today with their performance two years past or two years hence. It provides no information com- paring Delaware students' perfor- mance with students in other states. Parents and teachers from the Howard T. Ennis School and Sus- sex Elementary Consortium ex- pressed grave concerns at a public hearing last December regarding funding and services for special needs students under such a plan. Many parents and educators re- member the inequities which ex- isted 20 years ago when special needs students were in the regular classroom and they fear that a re- turn to such practices will place a higher priority on social reform rather than on educational achievement. ' The following statement is lay It delivers test results in terms of whether children "meet or ex- ceed the standards", even though there are no standards in place for standards to meet or exceed. And it costs over $1 million per year. The reality is that states such as California and Arizona, that have been down this road before, have learned the hard way that, while .. performance testing  might sound good in theory, it is impractical and imprecise in large-scale, real- /world application. So, why in the world are we doing is? Shields Playground inscriptions available The Shields Community Play- ground is still accepting orders for inscribed pickets for the new play- ground. Places are available on the Memory Fence, for inscrip- tions naming deceased loved ones, or on the other pickets. To order an inscription and support the playground project, send a $25 check with instructions for in- scription to Shields Community Playground, Shields Elementary School, Sussex Drive, Lewes, 19958. Milton resident wants to preserve race relations Nora Martin has requested the Milton Town Council investigate a Sussex County Arts Council summer project. During the Mil- ton Town Council meeting on Monday, June 6, she voiced con- cern that a summer mural painting project may undermine the posi- tive race relations the community has developed in the past four years. The project, granted to the Sus- sex County Arts Council by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, will involve creating a series of murals with African American themes. Underserved children and their families from Burton Village of Rehoboth Beach, Slaughter Neck, Milton and Bell- town of Lewes will collaborate with Barbara Bullock, a Philadel- phia artist. "I feel we would be defeated if we just sat back and allowed just one culture to be displayed," Mar- tin said. "I think it would be won- derful if they coulddoa multi-cul- tural !mural]." Martin held up a large poster depicting children of many cultures that has been dis- played at H. O. Brittingham Ele- mentary School all year. "We've worked very hard over the last four years on race rela- tions, and I don't want to see that work go down the drain," Martin said. Martin said she has called Delaware Community Clusters Against Substance Abuse (DEC- CASSA) repeatedly for more in- formation on the project but none of her calls were returned. The Milton Town Council decided unanimously to investigate the project and try to learn more about the plans. Governor's Walk park expansion okayed Milton Town Council member Charlie Fleetwood announced during the Council meeting on Monday, June 5 that money has become available to expand the Governor's Walk into the Milton Town Park. Fleetwood said Gov- ernor's Walk grant money will pay for a four foot wide, 330 foot long sidewalk along the river bank. Fleetwood said the contrac- tors have not yet determined when construction will begin. Fleetwood also said he has been in coniact with Sen. Thurman Adams, D-Bridgeville, and Rep. V. George Carey, R-Milford, who have sent letters to Delaware De- partment of Transportation to re- lease funds for Milton street im- provement. The legislators are donating $25,000 to expand the Milton Main Street project of re- placing some downtown street lights with Victorian lamp repli- cas. The lights will extend from Union street at the library to just past King's Ice Cream, and from the downtown business area near the Chamber office on Federal Street to Tony's TV. They will al- so be placed along the Governor's Walk on Magnolia Street to bal- ance the lamps that have already been installed.