School ChangesI am writing in response to President...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 15, 1993

School Changes

I am writing in response to President Clinton's education plans. I believe that this proposal is a big step in the right direction.

As every person in America undoubtedly knows, students in this country are falling behind several other nations in international tests. This proposal could very likely remedy this situation by finally taking the first step in "learning from the enemy."

Essentially, Mr. Clinton's plan is a composite of several European school systems. For instance, the nationwide examination at the end of 10th grade is reminiscent of the baccalaureate of France, and the vocational education provisions are similar to those of Germany.

America's education system seems more intent on cultural and economical harmony than on actually teaching the students. Since the schools refuse to adopt foreign nations' policies of a more intense education program, we must do what no student wants -- add another year of school.

The main reason that I support this proposal, however, is the idea of streamlining students to particular areas of study after the 10th grade.

By this time, students usually have a vague idea about what general field they wish to specialize in, so this is the ideal time to begin specialization.

Apprentice programs will allow students to discover first hand what is involved in a certain occupation. Finally students just out of college will not run into the circle of needing experience to get a job, but needing a job to gain experience.

Overall, this plan is extremely beneficial to the nation. The only pitfall would be the states' tradition of regulating education.

I do not believe that individual states would object to such a helpful system, however, since it is so imperative in keeping our country's status as a top economic power.

Finally, after 12 years of debate over inane issues like prayer in school, the education system actually has a chance of improving.

David Fessler

Ellicott City

Child Support

I wish to commend Del. Gerry Brewster of Baltimore County for his introduction of a House of Delegates bill on family law, which facilitates the process by which child-support payments can be withheld from the wages of a non-custodial parent.

As far as I'm concerned, non-support of children is a veiled form of child abuse, which, among many things, prevents children from being properly fed and clothed.

Their physical health care is ignored and their mental health is greatly impaired because these irresponsible fathers just don't care and have little or no love for their children.

And too often we fail to see the tremendous strain on the mothers who are trying desperately to hold the fractured family together.

Mr. Brewster's bill will go a long way in easing the awful pain created by those dysfunctional fathers.

Thomas E. Dolan Jr.

Lutherville

O Canada

According to a Feb. 28 Perspective article by Jane M. Orient: "In Canada, you don't have to pay to get medical care. In fact, you are not allowed to pay."

Dr. Orient is wrong. Every Canadian is obliged to buy health insurance if he or she can afford it. The difference between Canada and this country is that there the insurance costs a lot less, the government is the sole provider and the poor are insured free of charge.

If the Canadian health-care system is like a limited-access highway which often jams up, as Dr. Orient says, what shall we say about the American system?

It's a fast highway, but that's because it's a privately-owned turnpike with very high tolls. As long as you can pay the tolls, you've nothing to worry about. But if you run short of money, you're forced to abandon your car. Don't bother waiting for a bus -- there isn't any.

We're going to hear a lot more from defenders of the sacred right of Americans to pay large sums of money for medical services that cost less elsewhere. Don't believe everything they tell you.

Paul Romney

Baltimore

Tilt Train

I was disappointed to read Roger Simon's commentary (Feb. 8) on what a waste of money Amtrak's new high speed tilt train is.

Mr. Simon certainly is a member of the "I want it now" generation, and he has no idea what infrastructure costs are in the 1990's.

If this new train is reliable, it could save Amtrak millions of dollars by increased efficiency, as the time saved could further utilize each train set for additional frequencies. More round trips per train set is just one more way to reduce Amtrak's need for federal funds.

What Mr. Simon failed to mention is the possible cost to build a monorail or maglev system between Washington and New York. So far no one has a real estimate for such a system, but it could be in the tens of billions of dollars, which is a far cry from this proven technology that Amtrak is testing at a fraction of the cost.

Is it necessary to travel to mid-town New York from downtown Baltimore in less then 1 hour and 50 minutes? When one considers the trip time to the airports, that travel time is competitive to air travel.

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