Yet another study of child care: $1 million spent to assess the horrendous condition of child care throughout our nation.
Is this really the best use of valuable dollars for a cause that far too often falls short of funds or appropriate attention?
We've been told what quality child care is supposed to look like. Once again we've been told what is lacking. Now what?
Unfortunately the entire community is far too uninformed about child care. The mass media rise to the occasion to exploit every negative situation that rears its ugly head. We have all been privy to the scare tactics and hidden cameras. But is this as far as the coverage should go?
Parents need to be told that the search process is hard and can be disillusioning, but they have the right and the obligation to their children to be informed consumers.
Most of the readily available information and checklists address the issues of health and safety. Don't children deserve a healthy and safe environment as a bare minimum?
This ensures adequate child care, not quality child care. Parents should have a choice of quality placements that meet their unique family needs and exist across a continuum of high quality.
Dollars and attention need to be given to truly educate the entire public on the complexities of this important social issue.
Players from the entire community -- business leaders, parents, educators and the child care professionals themselves -- need to open a dialogue to truly get at the serious issues that lie beneath the progress that is so badly needed to address improvements in our child care system.
It is not enough for those assessing the situation to continue offering more pain and fear and no solutions. We must all strive for understanding and a commitment to change.
`Tracey L. Myers-Preston
The writer represents Our Children's Care.
Should we debate legalizing drugs?
Although up to 90 percent of Americans oppose drug legalization in any form, there is a small but vocal and well-financed group that has been espousing the liberalization of drugs for years.
The Drug Policy Foundation and its predecessor, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, is leading a crusade to legalize drugs.
Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, a member of the board since 1988, has been a pawn of the group; he speaks for them, uses their language and their ideas.
They have publicly stated their goal of legalizing drugs throughout the country, giving everyone an opportunity to have the drug of their choice.
It is sad that the mayor fails to recognize the dangers he is putting our children and vulnerable adults into by advocating drug use.
There is absolutely no way that drug legalization would prevent crime and violence on our streets. Drugs are too cheap, and most addicts will not make themselves known to receive prescribed drugs.
Besides, those who have developed turfs will continue to sell their poison to school children, finding new customers among the very young.
To eliminate drugs requires the cooperation of everyone concerned. Just one advocate sending the wrong message, such as Mayor Schmoke is doing, destroys all other efforts.
Marshall M. Meyer
I favor a debate on continuing the present ill-considered war on drugs. As a former grand jury member in Harford county, I can tell you we have lost the war.
The pragmatic approach is to consider legalization of marijuana and cocaine.
However, the politicians are afraid to jump on the side of common sense because the public has been brainwashed to fear drugs more than bankruptcy.
The police, courts and prison system would lose half their funding if drugs were legal, so they are united against it. Drug dealers are against legalization because of the huge profits involved in trafficking.
We can't afford either monetarily or in the lost lives of inner city youth to continue the present course. Let's debate a better solution.
J. I. Butler, Jr.
As fathers of several very special children, for whom we fight every day just for the right to hold their hands, wipe away tears and to simply say "I love you," we have experienced a distinct daddyphobia that has been accentuated by the media.
The recent Other Voices, "Pain of a Deadbeat Dad is Mostly Self-Pity" (Jan. 11) and "The Pain Caused by a Deadbeat Dad" (Jan. 26), did an injustice to the fathers who are committed to their children.
The articles constantly referred to deadbeats as fathers: One would believe men don't pay any child support and that the burden of caring and supporting our children rests solely upon women.
While some are deadbeats, over 70 percent of noncustodial fathers do pay child support (Census Bureau report 1994). These fathers are committed to their children.
Fathers United for Equal Rights of Maryland defines child support in much different terms than a mere formula applied by the child-support guidelines.
Child support is the obligation and right to support our children morally, physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially.