Bite the BulletElizabeth M. Philip seems to think that a...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

June 17, 1993

Bite the Bullet

Elizabeth M. Philip seems to think that a voucher plan would be a magic bullet to "fix" education in Baltimore (letter, May 22). Not so.

Nonpublic schools seem desirable to some parents, but that is because they can select the students they serve, can get rid of those who do not fit their program and rarely enroll expensive-to-educate kids with severe physical or mental handicaps.

A voucher plan in Baltimore might benefit a few students, but at the cost of hurting all the rest.

Further, most nonpublic schools are sectarian. Tax support of sectarian schools is unconstitutional. Voters in Maryland and other states have consistently voted against plans to divert public funds to nonpublic schools.

A recent study of textbooks used in many nonpublic schools ("Visions of Reality: What Fundamentalist Schools Teach," by Albert J. Menendez) shows that tax support for them would mean taxing all citizens to subsidize the various forms of prejudice promoted in many private schools.

Yes, our urban public schools, which serve all too many poor children compared to suburban schools, need help.

But killing the patient is not the way to cure an illness. We the people need to bite the bullet and be willing to pay the bills for improving our public schools for all the children in the state.

Edd Doerr

Silver Spring

The writer is executive director of Americans for Religious Liberty.

German Hatred

Of the 6.5 million foreign "guest" workers in Germany who have been crucial to that country's post-World War II, the Turks comprise 1.8 million -- almost one-third. Mostly rural and poor, they flocked to Europe in the hope of a better future.

They spoke no German; they learned. They were denied housing; they made do. When excluded from public schools, they built their own.

Trying to blend in, they shed their traditional outfits in favor of Western clothing. They paid their taxes, worked harder than ever and raised their children, born in Germany.

Last fall, an entire Turkish family was burned to death in a fire set to their home in Moelln. Recently, a mother and four children were killed by arson in Solingen. Neo-Nazi groups were charged with the murders.

German Chancellor Helmut Kohl declined to attend the funerals or apologize publicly. German immigration laws continue to reject dual citizenship, deny Turks their voting rights and civil service jobs.

Though promises of equality were professed by the opposition Social Democratic Party, it, too, seems to have settled for the status quo.

There are Germans who share the outrage and fear that these atrocities are not merely the work of a handful of hoods, but the eruption of a larger, deeper and older hatred . . .

Tolga K. Cubukcu

Merrifield, Va.

The writer is president of the American-Turkish Association of Washington, D.C.

Trivial Pursuit

While recently eating dinner at a local Chinese restaurant, I discovered a cigarette butt in my food.

As a Jewish female, I didn't file a complaint with the Anti-Defamation League or the National Organization for Women but simply made a conscious decision to avoid that restaurant in the future.

Perhaps the young gentleman who allegedly had a similar experience at a Denny's restaurant in Pasadena should have done the same.

Unfortunately, giving press to something this trivial tends to diminish the impact of the all-too-important racial discrimination issue.

Sally Miller

Pikesville

U.S. Identity

Intellectual intolerance has been a norm in American culture ++ so long it was observed by de Tocqueville. If not intolerance, then at least an impatience with ideas.

Lani Guinier walked onto the national stage at a time when the conceptual implications of promoting ethnicity and pluralism have not been adequately explained at the public forum. What is to be gained, what is to be lost in this process?

Many fear in this process a disuniting, a Balkanization of American society. Is this not a legitimate issue for public discussion? What are we to be as a people?

Joseph Kearney

Baltimore

Keeping Track

Let me see if I have this straight.

About two years ago, President Bush told the U.S. Navy to monitor a freighter sailing from North Korea to a hostile Mideast nation.

The Navy, using high-tech radar and, I must assume, satellite tracking systems, promptly "lost" the vessel and did not find it again until it was unloading its deadly cargo of missiles in the Persian Gulf.

Less than a month ago, the U.S. Coast Guard had under surveillance a vessel off the West Coast it suspected of carrying illegal immigrants. The Coast Guard also "lost" this vessel and did not find it until it was steaming back in the direction of China after dumping its human cargo of 240 Chinese at a Coast Guard pier inside the Golden Gate Bridge.

On June 6 the Coast Guard had another vessel under surveillance south of Long Island but, according to Coast Guard Capt. Rick Larrabee in The Sun, it "disappeared." The Coast Guard finally found it -- beached 200 yards offshore, its human cargo scrambling off like rats.

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