InclusionI felt a need to respond to a June 13 article by...


June 25, 1993


I felt a need to respond to a June 13 article by Mary Maushard on inclusion in the Baltimore County schools.

It bothered me that only the failures and fears were presented and no working models were explored. There are many successes that could have been shared with her readers. I happen to have the privilege of being part of an inclusion model that has been most successful.

I am an eighth-grade teacher at a school where the students with an Individual Education Plan (predominantly with learning disabilities) are totally included in the regular education classroom.

In September, when we began using this model, my team of teachers had great apprehensions. Many of the students we would now be teaching were significantly behind their peers in certain skills and had a high suspension rate.

We feared that we would be unable to meet their needs in a regular class. As the school year closes, I am happy to reflect upon how successful this program was for all the students.

The team (including a special-ed teacher) was totally committed to ensuring that each child realized his or her potential. If a child could not write, we let him do this work on a computer. When a child had difficulty reading, the use of stories on tapes was allowed. Calculators were used to help with computations. When one modality wasn't working, we would try another.

None of the techniques was difficult to implement. Many educators have used the same strategies on the regular ed students for years. We were simply putting into practice what research had proven.

Suspensions and acting out in class became minimal. The benefits of improved self-esteem far outweighed any inconveniences that occurred. All the students gained a tremendous amount of social and academic skills.

The regular-ed students learned to draw on and learn from the strengths (and there are many) of the special-ed students.

My original thought was that the regular-ed students would be called upon to give an unequal amount of time helping their peers. This proved false. I frequently observed the special-ed students explaining a concept to the regular-ed child.

Additionally, our eighth-graders were given permission to take the Maryland Functional Math Test that is usually administered in grade nine. Every special-ed student passed, many with a perfect score.

A highlight in teaching is hearing a child say, ''I'm good in math'' (or any subject). This happens frequently in our school with the special-ed (and the regular-ed) child.

It is not my intent to state that inclusion is the only way for every child.

I wanted to tell a story that has had a very happy ending for the eighth-grade students at Sparrows Point Middle School.

Catherine Walrod


Fighting Racism

Truth continues to remain stranger than fiction in a country that's turning basic civil rights on its head.

Such is the case of your story, reported in the June 8 Sun, of a police officer, Sgt. James Mentzer, who removed racist newspapers from Essex homes, which resulted in the disciplining of this police veteran.

Here is an officer, not black, not Jewish, but a decent human being, sensitive to the issues of racism, being knuckle-rapped when he should have received a reward for his courage to do what others would have turned away from.

Is this really the way the First Amendment was expected to work? That those who act to dull the public hatred of others are punished, and those who spread it are permitted to hide behind the Constitution?

The irony of this unbelievable farce is that the man said to have distributed the newspapers had been accused of placing bombs within the premises of a policeman's house as well as another policeman's car.

Perhaps it's time to act before worthy policemen lose their lives, by re-interpreting the First Amendment and making heroes out of the likes of Sargeant Mentzer for their courageous actions.

Rabbi Chaim Landau


Cavalier Mayor

Mayor Kurt Schmoke can be as cavalier as he likes about where Recreation and Parks Director Marlyn Perritt actually lives. Like Ms. Perritt, Mr. Schmoke can afford the financial burdens that have driven thousands of taxpayers to the suburbs.

Mr. Schmoke can afford to send his child to private school, while most city residents have no choice but a school system whose leadership seems accountable to no one.

Ms. Perritt and Mr. Schmoke have the luxury of chauffeur-driven cars, paid for by residents who cannot afford insurance for their own vehicles.

Ms. Perritt is supposed to "lay her head down" at a home owned and maintained by city taxpayers, while city residents struggle to afford decent housing.

For any public servant, the perks which Marlyn Perritt enjoys would be excessive. For the director of a department that has slashed facilities and services to inner city residents, all in the name of fiscal savings, it is disgusting.

Obviously, the order of the day in Kurt Schmoke's administration is not public service, but self-service.

Townes C. Coates


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