Poor KidsThe Sun's Nov. 22 editorial, "Behind Every 'NM...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

November 30, 1993

Poor Kids

The Sun's Nov. 22 editorial, "Behind Every 'NM' is a Poor Kid," which made a case for increasing per pupil spending for Baltimore City schools, fails to follow its own logic.

The editorial rightly claims that as a rule poor children do poorly in schools, no matter where they live. That is, poor children in Baltimore and Montgomery counties "get the same 'bad grades' on the report card" as poor children in the city.

The editorial then concluded that more money must be spent on city schools because the per pupil expenditure is lower in the city than in the wealthier suburban systems. Where is the logic?

According to the editorial, the $7,377 poor student in Montgomery County fails to achieve just as the $5,182 poor child in Baltimore City does. So, why don't they achieve? There are many variables, but evidence points to a high mobility rate as a major reason these students do not succeed. The longer they stay in one school, the better they perform.

More money for schools is not the great panacea.

Poor children from every jurisdiction come to school without adequate nutrition, clothing, self-esteem and family support and stability. They fail in school.

When communities begin to address the needs of poor children, they will come to school ready to learn and be capable of "good" and even "great" report cards.

Nancy Schneider

Rockville

The writer is chair of the Committee for Montgomery.

Dangerous Writing

Roger Simon's Nov. 5 commentary on the recent California fires was extremely distasteful. It sounded like we are in the middle of a class struggle here in the U.S.

I believe that disaster striking anyone, rich or poor, should evoke honest empathy. Imagine writing the following and invoking the biblical plagues, too!

"After all, these rich people have had drought, floods, earthquakes, mudslides and now fires visited upon them. So what is next? Boils? Lo custs? The slaying of the first born? That they are being punished is clear even though we may not be able to name their exact sin."

This is dangerous writing just to fill space.

Frieda F. Eisenberg

Baltimore

Life and Death

Juries just don't get it, do they?

The recent sentencing of Melvin Lorenzo Jones for the murder of a Catholic nun is another frustrating example of justice taking a holiday.

The Baltimore jury apparently was maneuvered in its verdict by another slippery defense attorney who argued, "Death by poison gas is an agonizing end to life." And so the jury agreed on the lesser sentence, imprisonment for life.

Yet what about the agonizing end to life of Sister MaryAnn Glinka -- raped and killed by this murderer?

In case you don't know, Catholic nuns take vows of chastity, a promise to remain celibate and to abstain from sex. While the rape of any woman is an abomination, the violation of a nun, a person devoted to prayer, self-sacrifice and good deeds, is especially detestable.

The jury and the media treated this as just another back-alley sexual assault on a female. . . .

The fact that leaders of the Catholic Church in Baltimore asked that the death penalty not be imposed is another example of church and state intermingling with an adverse outcome.

It is not the church's place to decide how justice should be meted out. . .

Donald T. Hawkins

Rockville

Pakistan's Policy

The Sun published on Nov. 21 an Associated Press report datelined Karachi stating that Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto "vowed today that Pakistan would not give up its nuclear weapons program despite pressure from Washington."

The news report is entirely inaccurate. The prime minister did not refer to Pakistan's "nuclear weapons program," as Pakistan is not building nuclear weapons.

Pakistan has time and again declared that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only. It does not possess a nuclear explosive device and does not intend to make one.

Pakistan remains firmly committed to the objective of nuclear nonproliferation, for which it is willing to accept any equitable and nondiscriminatory regime in South Asia.

In consonance with its commitment to nuclear nonproliferation, Pakistan will also not transfer sensitive nuclear technology to a third country.

In the process of development of its peaceful nuclear program, Pakistan has acquired a certain technical capability in the nuclear field. However, a political decision has been taken at the highest level to use this capability for peaceful purposes only, and not to manufacture nuclear weapons.

Malik Zahoor Ahmad

Washington

The writer is press attache at the Embassy of Pakistan.

Fair Market Place

It seems to me that an abstract overview of some current events might be that it is U.S. policy to preserve jobs for unskilled laborers at the expense of other citizens. This is counter-productive. There are other ways to subsidize or retrain unskilled workers.

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