Wrong CriteriaI disagree strongly with the editorial "No...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 21, 1993

Wrong Criteria

I disagree strongly with the editorial "No to Year-Round Schools" (Sept. 4).

To be totally honest, I have not researched the financial side of the situation, so I could not tell you whether or not it would save the state money, but I don't think that money should be the deciding point of the issue.

Instead, I feel that we should focus on the student's views -- their side of the issue. After all, it is the students who will either benefit or suffer from the decision.

As a student myself, I can see the benefits of shorter, more frequent vacations rather than the two-and-a-half month summer vacation system we are using now.

Most students find it easier to learn and pay attention in class the first three quarters of the school year (which coincidentally contains an ample number of short, scattered vacations and holidays). In the final quarter of the year (which contains only a single break that lasts an entire week and a half), it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain that same level of enthusiasm.

By having shorter, more frequent vacations, the students will come to school feeling more refreshed and less stressed-out, which will allow them to concentrate more on their studies.

As far as the funding problems go, I think the government should spend less money paying people to develop better ashtrays and measuring the flow of ketchup ($80,000 a year), and put that money into education.

Let's face it, the education of our youth is more important than thicker ketchup.

Doris Lee

Timonium

Drug Risks

Regarding your article "Health issue: hopes and risks" (Sept. 7), in 1959 I became pregnant and was given the drug DES (diethylstilbestrol) to enable me to carry my daughter to term.

In 1968, when my daughter was 8 years old, I read an article about DES citing the most recent FDA findings on mothers who took the drug, which concluded that the primary medical result was cancer of the uterus in girls born to such women. (Later it was established that boys would develop prostate cancer).

Through the years my daughter has suffered much physical and mental anguish as a result of her mother ingesting DES during the first months of pregnancy.

I write to advise everyone to take a closer look at the drugs being approved by the FDA. We are all grateful for the life-saving medications, but there must be more scrutiny.

Donna Marie Duszynski

Arnold

Try It

A rousing hurrah for Arch Montgomery, headmaster of Gilman School, and his "war on incivility."

I pray the torch will be taken up by every school, independent and public, every church, family, business and community organization.

Integrity, respect for others, manners, moderation -- that's "civility."

Let's try it. Might help. Can't hurt.

Brent Gunts

Baltimore

Civility? Bah!

I am dismayed by recent stories about the Gilman School's promotion of "civility" and by the importance The Sun apparently attaches to this issue.

Mind you, I have nothing against civility, but it is a luxury our society can ill afford just now.

So some young boys "jostled" each other on the Gilman playground, came to class with ties askew. In the brutal Hobbesian society we have created for ourselves, such "problems" pale beside overpopulation, underemployment and the ready accessibility of lethal weapons.

Our lack of civility may indeed be deplorable, but it is a symptom, not a cause, of far deeper problems, and we educators had better start training students to live (yes, survive) in the real world, to confront its problems and to seek solutions to them.

Only then can we polish up our tea party etiquette.

When a 19-year-old with a sawed-off shotgun pulls beside you on the expressway, a polite "Good evening, sir," isn't going to save your skin.

Civility? Bah!

Lynda Salamon

Baltimore

Nancy Nowak

It was truly disheartening to read of Nancy Nowak's forced resignation as parole chief.

Where once we had an official operating in a capacity that assumed responsibility for paroled offenders, we've now forced her out because she had the integrity to own up to that responsibility.

Ms. Nowak's admission that "2,092 violent and serious offenders on parole or probation were not being supervised . . . because of under-staffing," and her internal memo referring to such a situation as a "time bomb" were indeed frank.

As citizens, I believe, we are owed at least that much, an honest assessment of how well a system, funded by tax dollars and charged with guarding our safety, is doing.

I would like to remind Public Safety Secretary Bishop L. Robinson, credited with forcing her resignation, that Ms. Nowak was employed as a public servant charged to oversee an under-staffed and overworked parole and probation system that serves as the last wall between the public and potentially violent criminals.

Unless ignorance is a suitable shield, Marylanders have a right to know how well the wall is holding.

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