Fix School Crowding

Montgomery Blair High School -- a school that has been way over capacity since the day it opened -- may be the biggest symbol of Montgomery County public schools' poor planning, but it is hardly the only one ["Relief Is Absent at Crowded Md. School," Metro, Sept. 19]. Schools all over the county are bursting at the seams.

Bruce Crispell, the schools' senior planner, compared enrollment projections to a "moving target." Of course they are; that's the nature of projections. But enrollment isn't all that's moving in Montgomery County.

Hundreds of families will be moving into the new apartments and townhouses in downtown Silver Spring. (MCPS officials have "projected" that there won't be any school-age children in those homes.) Hundreds of low-income families, priced out of Montgomery's soaring housing market, are already doubled and tripled up in houses and apartments designed for single families. And now the County Council is likely to remove restrictions on "accessory apartments" built onto existing homes. MCPS needs to factor these predictable changes into its enrollment projections.

How can we expect our children to learn higher math when their school administrators are so abysmally bad at it? MCPS needs to take off its blinders and start creating additional schools, fast, to accommodate a skyrocketing population.

Fran Rothstein


Montgomery Blair PTSA

Silver Spring

The Joys of a Simple Life

The article about scholar and author Jerome Segal ["Working at a Life of Leisure," Extra, Sept. 16] gives the impression that simplifying our busy, stressful lives is difficult. Well, it is.

But there is a large and growing simplicity community in the Washington area and across the country that lends support and encouragement to people yearning to live more lightly on Earth. We are successfully slowing down, reducing consumption and debt, eating more healthfully and lots more. Monthly forums are offered in Bethesda and Arlington; small discussion circles have been started all over the area on a regular basis; and a local e-mail list allows us to exchange tips and helps us to stay connected. We're swimming against the tide, but we're getting there.

Marney Bruce


Simplicity Matters

Earth Institute