County finally admits error teaching readingI was...

LETTERS

September 12, 1997

County finally admits error teaching reading

I was pleasantly surprised to read the Aug. 19 article by Jay Apperson, "Reading test scores rise in Balto. Co." It appears the Baltimore County public school system is finally shifting its failed experiment with "whole language" to a more sensible phonics-based approach to reading instruction.

I commend Superintendent Anthony G. Marchione for realizing (and admitting) that changes were needed in the reading curriculum.

Shame on all the elementary school teachers who rolled over and played dead in order to collect a paycheck. Shame on all the local administrators who so quickly labeled as learning disabled, through dubious testing methods, the children who couldn't learn to read by the "whole language" method and herded them into an IEP (Individualized Education Program), which then wasn't even taken seriously (at least not by my son's elementary school, which regularly failed to maintain compliance with federally mandated guidelines for students receiving special education services).

Their follies have cost me thousands in private tutoring, not to mention the emotional costs to my son, who is now in the sixth grade and is reading at a fourth-grade level. What I, and the rest of the parents who haven't fled to private schools and the surrounding county school systems, would like to know is, what does Dr. Marchione plan to do for this "decade-long group" of children who were deprived of phonics, subjected to "whole language" and are now years behind grade level in reading?

Ed Reed Jr.

Owings Mills

Stop calling Guilford exclusive

I take exception to The Sun's characterization in a Sept. 6 editorial (''Guilford's 600-seat restaurant stalls'') of Guilford as an ''exclusive'' neighborhood.

While your characterization may have applied two generations ago, the Guilford I live in today is an inclusive, diverse community.

To be sure, there are million-dollar homes in Guilford, but many homes in our neighborhood are priced less than the average cost of a home in metro Baltimore.

The Guilford that I call home includes African Americans as well as whites, Jews and Gentiles, straights and gays, newborns and centenarians.

I hope The Sun will retire its cliched view of our community and recognize us for the neighborhood that we are. Prosperous, hard-working, lively, welcoming, interesting, committed to the city -- yes, we are all of these. Exclusive we are not.

Kevin O'Keefe

Baltimore

Unions not only victors in industry

In the Sept. 6 Sun there is a letter from Ernest R. Grecco, president of the Metropolitan Baltimore Council of AFL-CIO unions. Mr. Grecco chastises Big Business for trivializing the UPS settlement. ''Make no mistake abut it. This was a huge victory,'' he said.

In the same edition there was a story headlined, ''UAW bid to unionize Nissan plant falls short.'' This is the second time in eight years that the UAW has failed to organize the 5,000 hourly workers.

According to the Sept. 6 article, UAW membership has dropped nearly 50 percent since the late 1970s and it has failed to unionize any foreign-owned U.S. auto plants.

It seems to me using, Mr. Grecco's meaning of the word ''huge,'' that Big Business could claim a huge, huge, huge victory in the auto industry.

R. A. Bacigalupa

Baltimore

Bush is unworthy of university honor

We find it incomprehensible that Johns Hopkins University plans to bestow the Albert Schweitzer Gold Medal for Humanitarianism on former President George Bush on Oct. 9.

His legacy as chief executive leaves the nation with Clarence Thomas sitting on the Supreme Court for years to come. Mr. Bush shamed all black Americans, but especially jurists, when he maintained that Mr. Thomas was the best qualified man of his race to serve in that lofty position.

Since leaving the White House, Mr. Bush has spent a considerable amount of time traveling around the world to give speeches to wealthy business interests that have paid him handsomely.

Perhaps his most notable accomplishment has been to land safely on the ground and in the press in the role of a parachute jumper.

Mr. Bush may be a gentleman, but he has never pretended to be a scholar. Despite his thousand points of light, it is difficult to focus on any significant issue that has been illuminated by his attention.

We remain baffled by the university's choice.

Janet Albert Heller

Elsbeth Bothe

Baltimore

Will has no feel for matters of the heart

The life of Princess Diana was characterized by courage, grace and humanitarian concern. George Will, in attempting to trivialize the meaning of her life by references to the irrelevance of the British monarchy and the cult of excessive celebrity, demonstrates how oblivious he is to Diana's deeper significance for poeple around the world. The princess was able to use privilege, fame and influence to make the world a better, more civilized place. It was that simple.

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