Let the rules of equality apply to allThe legacy of...

the Forum

August 27, 1991

Let the rules of equality apply to all

The legacy of Stephen Sachs lingers in Maryland. The feminist former attorney general attacked the all-male Burning Tree Club under the state's Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which was enacted in 1972.

While the office of the attorney general attacked all-male institutions, it defended what Rush Limbaugh of the WCBM talk station calls "feminazi" fronts, such as the Maryland Commission for Women.

Now the National Organization for Women and its fellow-traveler American Civil Liberties Union have sued the Detroit school system for creating schools exclusively for black males. U.S. District Court Judge George Woods has declared the program illegal.

The Evening Sun Aug. 20 editorial, "Single-sex education," contrasts Detroit's single-sex schools with Baltimore's Western High School, which as been an all-girl school for 150 years. (The Virginia Military Institute, under legal attack by the U.S. attorney general, has been all-male about the same length of time.)

The United States attorney for Maryland, Dick Bennett, and Sachs' successor as attorney general, Joe Curran, have been asked to take action to bring Western and the city of Baltimore into compliance with state and federal laws, including Title IX, which bans federal funds for institutions that practice sex discrimination.

It's about time the "feminazis" play by the rules they make for others.

Kauko H. Kokkonen


I applaud your Aug. 20 editorial "Single-sex education." The federal ruling in Detroit recently does a disservice to the educational needs of both boys and girls.

As head of an independent all-girls' school, I know that girls thrive in a single-sex educational environment which provides high academic expectation, strong gender role models and leadership training - all of which powerfully counteract the negative stereotyping still prevalent in our society.

Teachers have always known that boys and girls develop very differently, particularly in elementary school. If girls excel in an environment specifically tailored to their needs, why shouldn't the same be true for boys?

Many young males, who are being raised by mothers in one-parent families, lack positive role models. In kindergartens like the Baltimore model, there is hope that they will develop a strong sense of self-esteem and greater academic focus, thus acquiring the skills necessary for a successful life.

Baltimore is fortunate to have one of the few school systems in the nation which offers single-sex options. As your newspaper so clearly recognizes, our city can provide educational leadership and innovation at a time when it is sorely needed.

Educational research and experience - not politics - should be the basis of what kinds of schools are available to our children. Let the public schools offer both co-ed and single-sex schools and let parents decide which is best for their children.

Elsa M. Bowman

The writer is head of Garrison Forest School. .


Like most politically aware Marylanders, I harbor a healthy suspicion of state government, especially since the present administration took over in 1987. The more I watch, the more confused I become.

For example, I read where our totally unqualified secretary of transportation told a legislative committee he would recommend deleting the Timonium-to-Hunt Valley leg of the light rail project for lack of funds.

I distinctly remember when our glorious governor first insisted we needed a light rail system to ensure that inner-city workers would have transportation to jobs in the ever-growing Hunt Valley-Sparks area. And he insisted there was not time to plan the project properly; we needed it immediately, if not sooner. In other words, "Do it now," regardless of cost to the taxpayers.

Now that the administration is talking about eliminating the last leg ` which would leave the workers it was intended to benefit five miles or more short of Hunt Valley - I am confused. Without that leg, what the hell good is light rail in the first place and is it worth pursuing? I don't think so.

Hey, guv, let's get it together so the people who foot the bills for your monstrous five-year spending spree can understand.

Charles A. Frainie


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