Edelman's FaithThank you for the outstanding article for...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 29, 1994

Edelman's Faith

Thank you for the outstanding article for Mother's Day in the May 8 Parade magazine.

Marian Wright Edelman is right on target with her Mother's Day pledge. What wonderful Christian parents she had.

I quote, ''I feel I am the luckiest child in the world to have had a mother and father who lived, rather than just preached, their faith and family values.''

I can't help but wonder how different things might have been had her mother and father been pro-choice.

Thanks to their faith and to those values she spoke of, she is here today to talk about them.

Harriette M. Hermann

Baltimore

Testing Schools

Despite all the recent letters on the Maryland School Performance Program, most parents still do not understand this controversial reform program.

Concerned parents should get the facts, so they cannot be manipulated for or against MSPP.

That advice has been lacking from educators' letters. And for all their opposition to MSPP, educators do not propose a meaningful alternative.

Robert Moore Jr. of the Maryland State Teachers Association says Superintendent Nancy Grasmick doesn't get it. (If her letter was an ''attack,'' Mr. Moore's was all-out war.) It is, however, the teachers association that doesn't get it. If MSPP fails, the next plan will be a form of school choice.

The goal of MSPP is very similar to a goal that the National PTA has been promoting for decades. The school and the community should work together to analyze and improve performance, so that all children learn to their fullest potential.

That is the purpose of the MSPP Report. If the media and community misunderstand this purpose, it is because educators are so busy criticizing it they have not bothered to explain it. What they do explain, they explain selectively. Their description of ''reconstitution'' of schools, for instance, tends to omit a few steps.

Maybe there are problems with MSPP that should be addressed, but at least it tries to ensure that all children learn.

No matter what the income or education level of their parents, no matter what their home life is like, MSPP says students have a right to attend schools where they will learn to their potential.

Some schools will have a harder time achieving this than others, but if that is a reason to abandon MSPP, what will happen to students at those schools?

Remember, too, that even if the next governor abandons MSPP, law-makers have made it pretty clear that they will not increase education aid without accountability standards.

More funding is absolutely essential to the schools. What educators fail to grasp, however, is that until they want all children to learn to their fullest potential, funding will not make a difference.

Carolyn J. Stepnitz

Conowingo

Insult to Injury

In his Spirit of Liberty speech of 1944 reprinted on the Opinion * Commentary page May 18, Judge Learned Hand purported to speak for all Americans when he referred to America as the land "we" and our ancestors "have chosen."

In fact, Judge Hand ignored a significant group of Americans whose ancestors were forced to come here as slaves.

By reprinting the speech as "one of the finest public addresses in the nation's history" and neglecting to mention Hand's oversight, the commentator adds insult to injury.

Such insensitivity is particularly deplorable in a city where some 65 percent of the people are descended from the brave men and women who endured the middle passage, slavery and segregation, not to mention on-going racism.

When will "we" learn to remember the past?

Margie Ashe

Baltimore

Crimean History

Will Englund's statement May 22 that Crimea was a part of Russia for 160 years requires a clarification and additional comments.

As a responsible correspondent he should know that there is a difference between the terms Russia and Russian empire. Crimea was never "Russian" but only "subject of the Russian empire." So was the rest of Ukraine, Baltic states, Finland and dozen of other conquered nations.

That Crimea's present population is over 60 percent Russian and only less than 26 percent Ukrainian is the result of a long and persistent Russification whereby Ukrainians, Jews, Tatars and others were brutally deported somewhere else and their places were taken by Russians. This explains why in 1926 there were three million Russians in Ukraine and by 1990 there were already nearly 11 million out of a total population 52 million.

Located at a crossroads of history, Crimea changed hands several times. It was the easternmost outpost of the Roman empire. In the 10th and 11th centuries it was a part of the medieval Ukrainian state of Kievan Rus. (The term Rus -- in Latin "Ruthenia" -- is the historical name of Ukraine).

Between the 13th and 18th centuries Crimea was ruled by Tatars who invaded Europe from Asia and settled in Crimea. In 1774 Tatars were defeated by the Czarist Russia, which annexed Crimea and the rest of Ukraine to its expanding empire.

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