Editor: Why do we need a school superintendent?
I heard on the news recently that Mayor Schmoke wants community groups and others interested to send in suggestions to help make the school system better. Well, I am appalled; Richard Hunter is getting paid more than $100,000 as head of the school system, and the lower ones on the totem pole are needed for ideas?
Is this a way of saying that a mistake was made somewhere along the line? Why weren't our suggestions asked for in the first place, and if they were asked for, why weren't they used?
I am a mother of two in the school system. Communication and common sense have been lost and need to be reinstated.
E. W. Ferguson.
Editor: In response to Arnold M. Bernstein's letter of Oct. 17, I offer the following. Although most politicians may not be aware of the intricacies of scientific research methodologies, Daniel Greenberg most certainly is. I contend that it is not possible to conduct research without some bias. Good researchers are aware of the biases and take them into account.
Historically, scientific research has been conducted by men who have used the arguments that Mr. Bernstein uses to perpetuate bias in favor of males. In the name of efficiency and easy access, they have ignored important implications that variability in test populations may have.
Whether it is true that the reactions of female subjects to a drug or other treatment is significantly affected by monthly hormonal swings is still open to question. Whereas this argument is used routinely to exclude women from research, little solid research has been done to assess the effects of hormones on treatments in both women and men, who also experience some changes in hormonal levels at times.
If it is determined that such changes are significant, is it not important to know how those changes will affect women who may be offered the treatment?
On the one hand, Mr. Bernstein is operating on an assumption, which has not been well founded, that hormones have such an effect. Then having made this assumption, he is willing to ignore its possible implications for half of the population. Does this not indicate bias?
Another population that tends to be ignored by "objective and non-biased" researchers is the elderly population, which will have experienced physiological changes associated with the aging process that may impact treatments. It is interesting to note that this population is composed primarily of women.
Stephanie M. Lyon.
Editor: On hearing that a movie partly filmed and now showing at the Senator Theatre was to be called "Avalon," I first recalled that Avalon, like the name Camelot, was associated with King Arthur and his knights.
I also remembered that the reason for Sir George Calvert's title as the first Lord Baltimore (Baron of Baltimore in Ireland, absolute Lord and Proprietary of the Provinces of Maryland and Avalon in America) was his early and unsuccessful attempt at colonization in Newfoundland, where he called the colony Avalon.
How could this name relate to an immigrant Jewish family which settled in the early part of the 20th century in Baltimore? Was it the movie theater in northwest Baltimore called Avalon?
After seeing the movie I checked my dictionary and found that ''Avalon in Celtic legend was the isle of the dead, an island paradise in the west where King Arthur and other heroes supposedly went after death.''
I decided that this touching movie of a family's lives and deaths, free from today's omnipresent violence and obscenity, was properly named and deserving of a wide audience.
Mary P. W. Kendall.
Editor: The Sun's advocacy of an appointment system instead of the current electoral process for judges in Maryland would only contribute to the current moral bankruptcy of the judiciary. Recent articles in The Sun told of gross sentence reductions by Harford Circuit Judge Cypert O. Whitfill and Baltimore County Circuit Judge John Turnbull, which demonstrate the audacity of judges in placing their opinions above the clear guidelines provided for them in sentencing.
Colorado has started a review program by average citizens who will regularly interview litigants and observe judges to help improve their system. This would be a far better example for accountability in Maryland than exacerbating an already elitist system.
Robert L. Schwartz.
Editor: The United Nations represents the biggest collection of hypocrites in the world. Just recently that great center of justice voted to send a delegation to investigate the deaths of 21 Palestinians. But Iraq used poison gas to murder more than 5,000 Kurds. Where was the U.N. delegation then?