Real RewardRegarding Laura Lippman's article "Welfare...


January 11, 1993

Real Reward

Regarding Laura Lippman's article "Welfare parents risk a new cut" (Dec. 18): the author reported on Maryland's welfare reform that went into effect on Jan. 1. She stated parents will be responsible for getting checkups for preschoolers and ensuring that older students stay in school 80 percent of the time.

The reporter then wrote, "But the disincentives -- losses of $25 per child monthly check -- outstrip the possible rewards, $20 annually for each checkup. There is no cash incentive for attending school."

This is exactly the kind of reasoning we don't want to perpetuate. It is the kind of reasoning that tends to keep people on welfare instead of encouraging and helping them to get away from the welfare trap.

The possible rewards of this law are that children going to school will be healthy, and they will have to attend school and become educated. This is a reward which far outstrips a potential loss of ++ $25 for not taking proper care of a child.

Michael R. Halstad


Good Works

Austin Gisriel's commentary, "Why School Reform Won't Work," must have left many aspiring teachers wondering if there is any future for the Maryland school system.

The author was severely critical of how school reform is presently being handled by our local education leaders.

He is especially critical of the State Board of Education's decision to include 75 hours of community service as a requirement for graduation, calling it "absurd" and a possible violation of the 13th Amendment.

It is obvious that Mr. Gisriel has never seen an effective community service program in operation.

Schools around this state have been operating service programs for years that are models for other school districts.

Canton Middle School's service learning program is now in its fifth year, and we are very proud that every student in our school is involved in activities that meet the requirements established by the State Board of Education.

Our community service mini-course program is offered twice each school year and gives each student the opportunity to both learn about the need for service as well as to be involved in a service project.

In addition, every week during the school year Canton students serve meals at Bea Gaddy's soup kitchen and work with the residents of Greenery Extended Care Home.

Canton Middle School also uses its peer mentoring program as an avenue for groups to do service within the community. The mentoring program, which gives eighth graders the opportunity to volunteer to be a "big brother" or "big sister" to an incoming sixth grader, is a unique program that encourages the pairs of children to bond their friendship by becoming involved in a service activity.

A. Bailey Trueman


About Walsh

Your suspicion, expressed in "Independent Counsels after Walsh" (Dec. 30), that President Bush will be harmed by the Iran-contra pardons is supported by public opinion polls. By 2 to 1 the people disapprove of the pardons, and 49 percent believe that the president acted to avoid legal difficulties or embarrassment over his role in the scandal.

Your statement that "Mr. Walsh's reputation was already in shreds" is partisan. Mr. Walsh was hampered by immunity given key individuals to obtain testimony before congressional hearings and thwarted by intelligence and national security agencies deeply involved in the scandal.

Had no immunity been granted, and had there been a full disclosure of all wrong-doing -- rather than widespread lying -- Oliver North, John Poindexter and a number of others would have been convicted of at least violating laws protecting classified documents.

What went wrong in the investigation was not "an excess of independence and not enough accountability" for Mr. Walsh. It was suppression of evidence by the national security/intelligence establishment and lack of cooperation by the administration and the Department of Justice, President Reagan, then-Vice President Bush and those acting for them in the Iran-contra arms-for-hostages swap and ensuing cover-up. They should have been held more accountable, not Mr. Walsh.

Your conclusion that "The main thing needed now is to put behind the nation this whole sordid Iran-contra affair" is faulty. Doing that would reinforce widespread belief that those who wrap themselves in the national security mantle are above the law.

President Bush has made a bad thing worse. The information he tried to suppress should be fully disclosed.

J. Wayne Ruddock


Coldspring Critic

I was greatly disturbed to read Antero Pietila's Dec. 1 column, "Coldspring: Still a Lovable Gamble."

As one who has served on the board of the Cylburn Arboretum Association for 30 years, I have seen a number of threats to this unique Baltimore park. All of them relate to Coldspring.

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