Don't drop practical arts requirement
The Maryland Board of Education is proposing changes in the graduation requirements for students which will eliminate the practical arts requirement. Home economics courses dealing with family issues such as parenthood responsibilities, resource management and budgeting, establishing and maintaining healthy family relationships, and establishing nutritious eating habits have been among the choices students have had to fulfill the practical arts requirement.
It is important to increase the rigor of the graduation requirements to ensure that our state has competent workers and citizens. However, all facets of life are affected by the quality of family life -- work performance, school performance, quality of relationships, parenting skills and the development of values. Risk factors for many of the serious health problems in this country are related in part to the choices of foods or ingredients in foods and the methods of food preparation used.
Families today face many pressures and problems. This is not the time to take away opportunities for students to take courses that will help prepare them to deal with pressures of modern family life.
If your readers feel that a family-focused course is an important part of a child's total education, they should write to the Maryland Board of Education before this issue is voted on in July, and urge other people to make their views known also.
Prognosis for 2010
If things continue on their present course, the U.S. economy and its citizens' incomes will fall 33 percent within 18 years. By 2010, the federal deficit may be more than $1.5 trillion.
The only logical way to balance the budget is to reduce expenditures for defense, space exploration and government programs and to donate a lot less to other countries as foreign aid. Raising taxes won't solve the deficit problem as long as our leaders remain obsessed with insatiable avarice.
A bankrupt U.S. is the worst legacy to leave to our children. If we used the money political candidates spend on their campaigns to cure the problems they complain about we could solve a lot of them.
In November, it is imperative to elect a president who can rely on reason instead of rhetoric. It is not enough to safeguard posterity if there is no posterity to safeguard.
It is partly amusing, but mostly pathetic that The Evening Sun continues to print letters as ill-informed and erroneous as Cornelius Morgan's diatribe against environmentalism (Forum, June 12).
Mr. Morgan states that the Earth's thinning ozone layer isn't really thinning, and that even if it were, the thinning would be the result of natural causes like volcanoes, and besides, it doesn't matter because hats, sunglasses and a tube of SPF 15 sunscreen will protect you just fine. Indeed, Mr. Morgan hints that the thinning ozone layer may even be good for you, saying that ultraviolet rays "are harmful but necessary for life on the planet."
Mr. Morgan ignores what is practically world-wide scientific consensus that man-made chlorofluorocarbons are damaging the Earth's ozone layer and that increased exposure to ultraviolet rays are likely to cause an increase in skin cancers. Never mind the devastating effect ultraviolet exposure may have on other life forms, particularly the sensitive microbiology of the world's oceans.
Increasingly, opponents of environmentalism are becoming less willing to argue solutions and more inclined to deny that any problems even exist. The Evening Sun should not allow itself to become a platform for such campaigns of misinformation.
Terry H. Harris
The writer is chairman of the Baltimore Group, Sierra Club.
More bike racks
We all heard about the city couple whose bikes were impounded at Camden Yards recently.
What many people may not realize is that the ballpark has only one bicycle rack, accommodating about a dozen bikes.
The Orioles are selling 40,000 tickets per home date, and we city dwellers don't want to try to park downtown. How about another bike rack (or two)?
A swell time
It was our pleasure and privilege to attend The Baltimore Sun's 26th Annual High School Athletes of the Year awards luncheon at Martins' West on June 10. We attended because our granddaughter, Emily Yanero of Mt. Hebron High School, was named Athlete of the Week by The Baltimore Sun for her basketball prowess in December 1991.
What a joy it was to see the young men and women who had earned the right to participate in this event and to learn of their athletic and scholastic accomplishments.
We thank The Baltimore Sun for the interest it has taken to publicize high school sports and for the difficult task undertaken each year to evaluate all the nominees.
We congratulate all the parents for their efforts and their sacrifices they must have made throughout the years to get their offspring to this level of perfection.