Home-school teachers deserve kudosPerhaps you may wish to...


November 04, 1996

Home-school teachers deserve kudos

Perhaps you may wish to reconsider your Oct. 25 editorial, "Hole in the home-school law." The rhetorical theme of that piece -- "Who will bear the responsibility for another illiterate teen-ager?" -- is not only overstated but quite misplaced.

As a citizen-taxpayer, I rather think society can take considerable comfort when a parent displays the interest and gumption to undertake the daunting task of teaching her own child at home. The state's concern for illiteracy might be better expressed through more attention to the students in its own schools, which one senses have not yet overcome the challenge of literacy.

To the beleaguered Cheryl A. Battles I would give a pat on the back and only words of encouragement.

John H. Doud III


Barbarians now beyond the gate

Several weeks ago a very good friend of mine lovingly assumed the task of cleaning up the small park that borders on the Belvedere Square area.

Without fanfare or any thought for recognition, she single-handedly moved mountains of trash (which consisted mostly of empty liquor bottles and fast-food wrappings) to a trash pickup point near the park.

Then she cleaned up the bench areas and the large flower box, as well as trimming branches that blocked the paved walkway. Finally, she planted chrysanthemum bushes and a small blue spruce in the large flower box.

If you are a cynic like me, or if you've had any experience in life, you know what's coming.

I walked past the park yesterday and found that nothing remained of my friend's efforts. Litter once again covered the ground and the flower box was full of bottles. The chrysanthemums had been torn out and flung aside, and the little blue spruce had not only been broken off, but the roots had been torn out as though someone had been infuriated by the very idea of it growing there.

Civilization is based on simple, yet powerful concepts -- an understanding of the role of beauty; a gentle appreciation of our environment; a concern not only for the rights of others but for that which they may feel is a singular moment, should they happen to be standing in a small park near Belvedere Square, looking at the flowers.

Baltimore has lost something here. A small thing, perhaps, but still it very much saddens me. And only the barbarians have won.

Julius L. Berky


Media glamorize unwed motherhood

It was the glorified tabloid event of the year. Madonna gave birth and the world stood still.

The paparazzi camped out at the hospital and her home. The media went bananas. It became the hot topic on talk shows.

All of this apparently is standard procedure for celebrating unwed motherhood of the rich and famous.

Reportedly, Madonna plans to have a second child under the same non-marital circumstances.

Is it any wonder, then, why teen-age pregnancies, which we decry, have become so prevalent?

Abner Kaplan


Governor erred with rubble fill decision

As president of the White Marsh Civic Association, I am distressed about Gov. Parris Glendening's decision to weaken the environmental plans proposed by his predecessor concerning the regulation of rubble landfills.

To do this after a state geologist filed a report supporting the installation of liners in rubble landfills is ludicrous. The Maryland Association of Counties opposed the placement of a liner in a rubble landfill based on cost factors, with no consideration given to the environment.

Civic Association members have worked long and hard over the past four years to cause two of the proposed rubble landfills in our area to install liners. They attended countless meetings and raised funds to pay for legal representation and expert witnesses. I would hope that other communities would not have to do the same thing to protect the environment for future generations.

If the governor was serious about protecting the bay, he would reconsider the decision to weaken environmental regulations. . . . He could suggest that more materials be recycled, thus lessening the need for rubble landfills.

Adam E. Paul Sr.

White Marsh

Risks are inherent in common stocks

Over the years, I have learned many things from Carl Rowan's broad interests and writings. However, his cavalier Oct. 18 dismissal of the risk inherent in a portfolio of stocks deserves a careful rebuttal.

Although over the time-frame mentioned by Mr. Rowan equities have fared well, this atypical period of extraordinary returns could end at any time. Witness, for example, the 17 percent loss of value in Xerox on the very day Mr. Rowan wrote his column, due to a disappointing earnings report.

In my professional opinion, part of the surge in U.S. stock prices in recent years was due to the anticipation by global investors of an improving, or at least stable, tax and regulatory climate.

If Mr. Rowan would subtract from his stated realized returns the effects of both inflation and taxation, my guess is that his returns would drop to between 8 and 14 percent per year.

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