State should pay to educate childrenAs the mother of 29...

Letters

September 04, 1996

State should pay to educate children

As the mother of 29- and 31-year-old plaintiffs in the failed Somerset v. Hornbeck school finance lawsuit, I found the discussions to settle the current lawsuits appealing.

Tying management reform with additional money soon instead of engaging in expensive and lengthy litigation seemed to promise resources to children much sooner.

However, I think we need to take great care that the settlement is financially adequate to provide effective programs, especially in schools with a high proportion of children in poverty.

Any new governance system should support and help fine-tune Maryland's nationally acclaimed accountability system so that all schools, and especially those eligible for reconstitution, are supported in implementing programs which directly help children achieve.

As a state that was listed as sixth in per capita personal income in 1992, 38th in the percent of state revenue for public elementary and secondary schools and 42nd in per capita state government expenditures for all education we should develop an adequate solution independent of a specific source of funds.

That source should not disproportionately affect lower income residents.

Lois G. Hybl

Baltimore

The writer is secretary of the Maryland Education Coalition.

Petty prejudices condemn victims

A response is in order to Joel Landskroener's Aug. 28 letter on AIDS and cancer research funding.

Mr. Landskroener laments that the federal government spends more money on AIDS than on cancer. Perhaps he is unaware that AIDS research has been largely responsible for the new way in which scientists view immune function, a perspective that is making the battle against cancer winnable. Indeed, a great deal of AIDS research has directly benefited research on many other diseases, including cancer.

Mr. Landskroener also falsely portrays AIDS victims as somehow culpable for their disease, while cancer victims are somehow innocent. While AIDS is preventable, this is not true in all cases. What about the AIDS victim who caught the disease from an adulterous spouse? And what about the people who were infected before we even knew the virus existed? And what about hemophiliacs? While AIDS patients are not necessarily responsible for their condition, cancer patients are not always so innocent either.

The number one form of cancer in this country is lung cancer. Did Mr. Landskroener forget that many people in this country smoke? And what about people who use chewing tobacco? Should we reduce funding for research into lung and oral cancers? What's more, there is increasing evidence that diet is a major factor in the development of cancer. Would Mr. Landskroener condemn those individuals who have not switched to low-fat diets.

Frankly, I'm glad that the American Cancer Society is marketing its name to obtain research funding. The more money that we can find to fight disease, the better. But let's not let petty prejudices cloud our judgment and allow us to condemn individuals needlessly.

Don Himes

Baltimore

'No Tailgating' law meaningless

Police Commissioner Thomas Frazier may well be right, that ''zero tolerance policing'' would not work in Baltimore.

We live adjacent to Memorial Stadium and were gratified when, just prior to the first pre-season football game, ''No Tailgating'' notices were erected around the stadium parking lots.

''Good,'' we thought. ''It won't prevent our community from being used as a large public toilet, but it may mitigate some of the effects of the extensive drinking associated with football games.''

Our naivete didn't outlast the afternoon of the first game. All over the Venable parking lot fans were drinking alcohol from open containers and cooking on small grills.

Officers from one district made some effort to discourage this. Officers from the district in which the stadium lies told us that they were not briefed to enforce the ''No Tailgating'' rule, and indeed they ignored overt tailgating.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the ''No Tailgating'' rule, it is clear that tolerating behavior that you have just ''outlawed'' is a sure-fire way to bring ''zero respect'' for any laws governing public behavior.

Alex and Sinclair Clunas

Baltimore

Shouldn't matter how judges chosen

Once again, The Sun adds to the arsenal of its detractors in a clever, although incompletely thought-out editorial (Aug. 26), ''Should football fans elect the referee?'' -- a quotation attributed to U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

Since there are but two ways to get a judgeship, appointment or election, sound arguments support both sides.

So, rather than continue to flip-flop through the years in an attempt to find the one best suited to the time and place, I can think of three changes that would resolve the conflict.

Limit all terms of judges to a set number of years, limit the number of overturned appeals that a judge can sustain during his tenure, and provide for a reasonable method of having the electorate mount a recall.

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