Single-sex schools no solution"Separate but equal...

the Forum

May 01, 1992

Single-sex schools no solution

"Separate but equal" institutions were once seen as the answer to race relations in the United States. Today, most people see this as no solution at all. The same sort of illogic applies when some educators, citing statistics that young women do better in single-sex schools, use these statistics to advocate single-sex education.

I'm not surprised that both girls and boys do better in schools with only girls, or boys; that in both cases the children feel more comfortable about speaking up, that some questions about teacher favoritism are eliminated. But are these reasons to embrace non-coed classrooms? Shouldn't educators work to eliminate the problems?

Single-sex education only postpones the day when, for better or worse, these girls and boys become the women and men who must live, work, marry, raise families -- in short, coexist in the real world together. Statistics on rape, sexual harassment and divorce suggest we don't do this very well. They suggest a world full of confused, frustrated, angry men and women who can't communicate.

Single-sex classrooms don't hold the answer, they just illustrate the problem. I would urge educators to take another, longer, more thoughtful look at the questions surrounding coed versus single-sex education.

Susan Walsh

Baltimore

Firing pins

I sincerely hope that after due consideration the Baltimore City Council rejects Councilman Tony Ambridge's farcical attempt at controlling the honest citizen's access to firearms. I refer to Mr. Ambridge's proposed firing pin removal bill.

Mr. Ambridge's solution to any sort of crime problem is immediately to blame it on someone other than the criminal element.

The obvious answer to the problem is more effective use of police resources, tougher sentences for violent criminals, curtailment of liberal bail procedures and other measures designed to get tough on criminals. Mr. Ambridge proposes measures to make it tough on honest gun dealers and their customers.

Richard Lyons

Chase

Death with dignity

Death is a painful subject to talk about, yet is a fact of life. Hospitals are now required to inform patients of their rights regarding living wills and related options upon admission. The living will is not, however, the panacea the general public thinks it is. The living will still leaves a large gap unfilled.

Health insurance companies and physicians are both ignoring an important responsibility they owe to the patient upon discharge. If a terminally ill patient is to be discharged, the patient and his family have a right to know all of their options.

I am referring to true death with dignity. Hospice care provides a way for the patient to face death with dignity; not alone, but in the comfort and support of his own home with the ones he loves.

The family need not shoulder the tremendous burden alone. A tremendous dilemma is created by carrying out the patient's wishes and at the same time watching him slip away. The family will receive fantastic, caring support from a staff of mostly volunteers.

Hospitals continue to shun this aspect of patient care. A hospice consultation should be provided prior to discharge of the terminally ill patient. Hospice staff will follow up on the patient with home visits.

Far too often, guilt-ridden families summon help for an unconscious terminal patient and then are disappointed by the level of care provided. Often, the patient was to be registered "next week." This tragedy could be headed off if the patient were registered prior to discharge. An unconscious patient provides implied consent for treatment. People do not realize that there is an alternative. Your local hospice branch would be glad to talk to you.

Steve Childers

Aberdeen

The writer is a paramedic with the Anne Arundel County Fire Department.

Dennis who?

Betcha the previous Baltimore County executive -- you know, the one with the monogrammed shirts and the used Lincoln -- now looks better to:

* Ed Veit, president, Teachers Association of Baltimore County.

* Robert Dubel, school superintendent.

* Morris Barrett, president, Baltimore County Classified Employees Association.

* John O'Neill, Maryland Taxpayers Association.

* Fire Chief Elwood Bannister.

* Homeowners connected to public sewers when they find that the average flush will cost them $48 a year.

Robert S. Knatz Jr.

Reisterstown

Great lady

Fifty years ago, in a far-off place, a great lady died heroically, fighting to the end.

This magnificent lady of steel and guns, of men and planes -- The U.S.S. Lexington (CV-2) -- was known by her crew as the "Lady Lexington," a gallant aircraft carrier whose exploits are legendary.

At Salamua and Lae, she delivered a stunning blow to her adversary by sinking many ships. At Rabaul, she knocked out of the sky 18 bombers, and at her final and decisive battle in the Coral Sea signaled a new kind of warfare, a turning point like the fight between the Monitor and Merrimac. She went down fighting, but not until she had broken her enemy's power.

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