Prison for Peace
Editor: Although there are many who will disagree, I admire Dr. Yolanda Huet-Vaughn for her courage in speaking out against war by refusing to report for duty in the gulf.
Her views are shared by many Americans -- doctors, peace activists and many other citizens (although those who supported the war, including President Bush, may see them as ''only a few voices'').
I am saddened for Dr. Huet-Vaughn and her family. Two and a half years in prison is more than many people get who commit less courageous and more destructive crimes.
`Laszlo Trazkovich, M.D.
Writing To Read
Editor: We're appreciative of The Sun's attention to the results of the Writing To Read program for Baltimore City's first graders, but we do wish to clarify two points of information in William Salganik's Aug. 18 Perspective article.
First, the University of Maryland Baltimore County study cited in the article was not the evaluation of Writing To Read results that showed a greater gain in reading scores on the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills among city first graders using Writing To Read compared with similar first graders who did not use the program. That research was done by the Baltimore City Public Schools Office of Research and Evaluation, and that measure was the evaluation on which the ''pay for performance'' contract was based. The UMBC study done under my direction examined the implementation of the Writing To Read program.
Second, the $38 million cited is the installation and operating costs over four years for both Writing To Read centers and other computer labs in all 125 Baltimore City elementary schools. Using the article's figures of $30,000 to equip a WTR center and $30,000 per year to run it, and extrapolating from 42 WTR centers serving about 3,600 first graders in 38 schools to an additional 80 to 85 WTR centers, we estimate an upper total of 127 WTR centers for 9,900 first graders. With installation costs of each for 85 WTR centers ($2,550,000) and operating costs of $30,000 per year for 127 centers for four years ($15,240,000), the four-year cost of near $18 million is less than half of the $38 million cost cited in the article. The remaining $20 million is the cost of other computer labs.
Gilbert R. Austin.
The writer is director of the Center for Educational Research and Development, University of Maryland Baltimore County.
Editor: As a longtime subscriber to your paper, I feel that I must add to Barry Rascovar's comment that ''politicians aren't lighting the skies with fireworks.'' Well, that is about the only thing they haven't done in the First District.
City Council incumbents have super-saturated the First District with bumper stickers, hats, T-shirts, lawn signs, window signs and jury-rigged standards with their names. Billboards are in evidence from upper Belair Road to Key Highway. Cable television spots are continually interrupting our viewing pleasure.
The lack of voter registration drives on the part of the incumbents is part of a historical fact and a ploy that the "ins" thrive on -- ''why change the status quo?''
The anti-incumbent atmosphere that is still with us will surely backfire on those who think we are in a stupor. Lots of luck to the challenger who took time out to register voters.
William J. Pappas.
Editor: That things have to get worse before getting better is amply demonstrated by the privatization of the Charles Hickey School. The services as outlined by the new management, with its emphasis on treatment and rehabilitation, sounds promising. Particularly gratifying is it after-care program for those discharged.
This program is what should have been adopted by the state years ago. In its earlier days the Hickey School and its female counterpart, Montrose, were populated with youngsters judged incorrigible, runaways or habitually truant. As behavior problems became more serious -- assaults, burglaries, vandalism -- little change in programs occurred.
Despite pleas from juvenile authorities for increased funds to meet these new challenges with an upgrading of facilities and better trained and adequate staff, budgetary authorities turned a blind side to such requests.
Instead we permitted Montrose to slide into oblivion. Many problem youngsters were consigned to out-of-state institutions at astronomical purchase-of-care rates. Others were confined to Hickey School with its inadequate program and an underpaid staff unable to cope successfully with the increased pressures by the more aggressive and hostile youngsters under care.
Now that things have gotten worse, hopefully we can look forward to their getting better.
Editor: I could not allow a letter by Louis Denrich (July 28) go unanswered. Mr. Denrich foolishly suggested that the reason General Dynamics did not locate its headquarters in Maryland is because of unions.