'Savage inequality'A free and adequate education is...

the Forum

May 22, 1992

'Savage inequality'

A free and adequate education is guaranteed the children who live in the state of Maryland. It seems that in every other subdivision students are also guaranteed free bus service to and from school. While the amount spent on students in Baltimore City is no nowhere near that spent in most other areas, bus service, at least, should be adequate.

What are Baltimore City and the state saying to students and parents when they make simply getting to school safely no longer a priority?

It is unconscionable that this city and state can so easily turn their backs on the youngest citizens, perpetuating yet another instance of what author Jonathan Kozol has called "savage inequality."

Joanne Giza

Baltimore

Presidential platforms ignore families

In the presidential campaign, there seems to be a missing ingredient. Very little national attention has been focused on the often overwhelming challenges faced by children and families in this country. The candidates are simply not addressing the deplorable social, education and health conditions that many children are experiencing.

Our PTA would like to see the presidential candidates put the need of children and families first in all policy decisions and initiatives.

We would like candidates to support passage of the Family Medical Leave Act, oppose school voucher programs or any proposals that would send public money to private or religious schools, add parent involvement as the seventh National Education Goal and adopt a national health policy that ensures universal access for all children, families and pregnant women.

Every parent, grandparent, uncle and aunt, cousin, community leader and everyone concerned about children should take a closer look at the records, the words and actions of the candidates as they relate to family issues. We should not be deceived by candidates kissing babies and visiting schools. We should examine the candidates' platforms, not their rhetoric.

The PTA wants whoever wins the race to the White House to put the needs of children and families first on the national agenda. That means before bailing out another insolvent corporation, before sending American troops to any foreign land, and before developing another offensive weapon.

The largest volunteer parent organization in the world, PTA, is putting candidates on notice: Place the needs of children and families first.

Ruth R. Rich

White Hall

The writer is president of the Norrisville Elementary School PTA.

Time for a shift

With the demise of the Soviet Union and with our uncontrollable budget deficit, support for government technology initiatives has evaporated.

It is time, however, that we realize there is no substitute for well financed and thoughtfully prepared government programs to develop new technology.

Over the years Republican administrations have concentrated on defense technology while neglecting commercial research. The private sector thus concentrated exclusively on defense, to the neglect of other areas of the economy.

Today, we have the best high-tech defense while our markets are flooded with foreign goods. The Japanese should not be blamed for selling us fuel-efficient and more maintainable cars when Detroit would not provide such improvements over the prior three decades.

The private sector is more cost-conscious and efficient, but it needs the lure of large funding. We can take advantage of this efficiency and weakness by opening up more civilian areas to new research and development grants.

One immediate step would be to increase funding for the Small Business Innovation Research program, to fund new products not mentioned in the solicitation but still judged innovative. This will make it possible to push forward on products not already conceived by the bureaucracy, because new inventions tend to be items considered not feasible by bureaucratic wisdom.

One major area that needs special attention is alternative energy. Under the Reagan-Bush administration, this particular area has been badly neglected. It is time we put American ingenuity to work on finding sources other than oil for the nation's energy supply. Oil can be used to produce many useful chemicals and plastics. It is too precious to be burned up going from place to place.

Soviet failure taught us the mistake of complete dependence on government planning. At the same time, we should also learn from successes like the Soviet space program, or their nuclear weapons program, which show how even a third-rate economy can produce impressive results.

When the government clearly establishes the goals and gives free hand to the scientists and engineers, results are achieved expeditiously. There is no capitalist monopoly on new ideas.

Kirt Bhatt

Columbia

School action plan

Your editorial "Equal Educational Opportunity" (May 17) points to the No. 1 priority in the state of Maryland. Maryland ranks sixth fTC in per-capita income but 21st in per-pupil spending on education and 23rd in teacher salaries.

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