Taxpayer rights and private school costsMike Bowler's...


April 23, 1996

Taxpayer rights and private school costs

Mike Bowler's April 14 column is entitled "Mayor Schmoke's task force investigating school choice should consider Catholic schools and semi-independent public schools, among other options.''

Really? Is that the opinion of Mr. Bowler or just the fervent wish of those Catholic and other non-public school operators who want to see more public money flowing in their direction?

Superintendent Ronald J. Valenti of the Baltimore Archdiocese is quoted by Mr. Bowler as saying: ''If we are really sincere about enabling parents to choose the schools their children attend, Catholic schools would have to be included.''

What a phony argument. Any parents who do not wish to send their children to the public schools can choose to send them elsewhere right now. The real issue is whether we, the tax-paying public, are going to be forced to pay the bill that is associated with the parental choice of a non-public school. Of course, the non-public schools also have a big choice. They, unlike our public schools, can choose to accept or reject any applicant for enrollment. Some of them might like to retain that choice.

For Baltimore's religious schools, most of which seem to fall under the control of the archdiocese, there is indeed a real First Amendment problem with public funding of attendance therein.

We the people do have a constitutional right not to be made to subsidize someone else's religion (or our own, for that matter). Let Dr. Valenti and his friends pay for their own system of religious indoctrination. It's called paying one's own bills.

Kenneth A. Stevens


IRS workers deserve some praise

I hear criticism of the Internal Revenue Service on a fairly regular basis. It usually accelerates as we near April 15. Rarely do we hear the good things IRS workers do.

Twice during the past three years I have been the benefactor of their thoroughness and expertise. Two errors on my part, if not detected by the IRS and brought to my attention, would have resulted in my loss of several hundreds of dollars.

I applaud the IRS workers for their skillful scrutiny, honesty and assistance. Hats off to the IRS.

Richard G. McQuay


Letter on nurses seen as vicious

Dr. Steven R. Daviss' March 29 letter suggesting that psychiatric advanced practice nurses lack the training and experience to prescribe and monitor medications is at best ignorant and uninformed. At worst, it is a vicious, self-serving attack on the competence of advanced practice nurses.

Dr. Daviss speaks of verifiable training and experience as the primary issue. Let's get the record straight.

At the undergraduate level, nurses are prepared in basic sciences (chemistry, microbiology, anatomy and physiology) and psychological sciences (human development, psychology) and receive formal courses, supervised practicums and laboratory experience in basic pathophysiology, pharmacology and health assessment. Knowledge of biopsychosocial processes and pharmacologic actions appropriate to each clinical area are critical to clinical course applications. Even as students, nurses administer medications and provide most of the patient education related to medication.

An advanced practice psychiatric nurse has earned a master's degree in a program primarily psychological in nature from a regionally accredited university. Acceptance into a master' program in psychiatric nursing requires at least one year of experience in an inpatient psychiatric setting, including psychopharmacologic management. The designation of specialty practice reflects clinical preparation in greater depth and restricted focus of practice area, including 15 hours of advanced psychopharmacology and two years of specialty course work in advanced practice theory and treatment of patients with mental illness.

Additionally, all nurses providing advanced psychological services receive specified levels of post-master's training and experience.

Certified advanced practice nurses maintain current knowledge of scientific and professional developments. Thus it is hard to comprehend Dr. Daviss' intense anxiety about the training of nurse psychotherapists.

Elizabeth Arnold


Baltimore's all-purpose cheer

Now there is another good reason why we should adhere to the cheer -- "stick with those birds."

Louis M. Schlimer


Distribution problems of today's economies

William Pfaff raises some interesting questions on the April 8 Opinion Commentary page.

Mr. Pfaff's thesis is that the harshness of capitalism needs to be, as it has historically been, tempered with "corporate citizenship" or "stakesholder capitalism."

Unfortunately, Mr. Pfaff continues to dwell in the past for solutions. The social problems caused by ''re-engineering,'' ''downsizing'' and the job eliminations are products of digital communication and robotics.

In the past, technological improvements have made labor more productive -- current technological improvements eliminate labor.

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