Child care questions need answersThe Oct. 31 editorial...


November 09, 1997

Child care questions need answers

The Oct. 31 editorial, "Child care challenge," should be mandatory reading for day-care providers everywhere, in centers and family homes. Many biological parents likewise would do well to absorb its contents.

With the recent White House conference on child care as a background, the editorial emphasizes the positive and stimulating individual experience that should be the birthright of every child. Yet in the commercial field of group and family day care these essential qualities are too often lacking. As day-care providers for many years we have learned about these shortcomings from parents themselves.

Based on the experience with our own children, we early-on learned their individual attributes and needs. As a result, we took into our home no more than two pre-schoolers at any one time.

Day-care homes are now permitted to provide for up to eight children. Quality staff is often lacking in many centers. Not only the children, but their parents also are being shortchanged.

Katharine and Abner Kaplan


Your Oct. 31 editorial, "Child care challenge," was disappointing to me. It said, "we'll know we are really making progress when school superintendents or even university presidents convene such gatherings (White House summit) to highlight the fact that these early years are crucial learning years -- and that the academic training of child-care workers is as important as the training of any other teacher."

I disagree. We will make a giant leap toward progress only when mothers (sometimes fathers) stay home with their offspring during the formative years, for they are the best teachers. Does anyone dare suggest that anymore?

Parents who must work know who they are. However, I am sick and tired of seeing nurseries with themes decorated in the primary colors, where the quilt matches the sheet, matches the curtain, matches the wallpaper and pictures, filled with every imaginable state-of-the-art baby equipment and toy -- all while the kid is deposited in a day care.

Ingrid Schoeler


City street crime strikes newcomers

I moved to Baltimore two months ago to be with a son whose medical condition requires the attention of local experts.

In that short space of time, our vehicles (both bottom-of-the-line Saturns) have been broken into three times, once to steal a radio, once to take a ragged backpack which was empty, and once just to look into the trunk and glove compartment.

Two incidents occurred under George Washington's shadow, the third in Charles Village. Each time, we have had to pay the deductible and repair the vehicle.

My son is on medical assistance, and has had to use a third of his monthly income for this purpose. Having narrowly escaped death by disease, he now has this unpleasantness to deal with.

I feel equal compassion for the men in blue who dedicate their lives to the prevention and deterrence of crime, and for those whose social and economic conditions are so difficult that they choose crime to supplement their income. There are no winners in this situation.

When my car was broken into, my co-workers said, ''Welcome to Balt'more, Hon!'' I guess we're natives now.

Baltimore, The City That Robs.

Clare C. Gearhart


You don't need fur to be fashionable

Regarding Vida Roberts' simpering pro-fur article on Oct. 3 (''Snuggling up to fur''), I am not an animal rights activist, although I do object to cruelty toward living creatures. But let's be realistic. She says women were ''bullied'' into giving up fur. Nonsense. She, and others like her, are bullying women and men into buying high-priced and tasteless goods.

Materials other than fur are warmer, easier to care for and simply more attractive. For the price of a fur coat, one can buy a complete genuinely elegant wardrobe. One might even educate a child.

By the way, one of the animals she mentions, the chinchilla, is far more common today as a pet than for its corpse. Would she advise making a coat out of a dog or cat? She should check her facts through some source other than fur dealers.

Bronwen Howlett


Public had no say in branch closings

In her Oct. 28 letter to the editor, the chairman of the board of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Virginia K. Adams, misrepresented the facts regarding the public's involvement in the closure of the St. Paul Street and Morrell Park branch libraries.

She said the St. Paul library advocates "had frequent discussions with library staff plus access to consultants' reports that presented factors that influenced the branch closure."

What she did not say was that because the consultants' reports suggested the possible necessity of closing the St. Paul branch, the "frequent discussions" were always initiated by the advocates in an effort to work with the Pratt to raise funds and revitalize the branch library.

Though there were four letters, a few phone calls and one meeting with the mayor over a nine-month period to try to save the branch, the "public" wasn't informed that the branch would be closed until 25 days prior to the closure date.

The stated reason for the closures was a supposed city budget shortfall that reduced the Pratt's operating fund. However, just two days prior to the St. Paul branch closure, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke announced a $17 million windfall in the city budget.

Was the branch closure due to a budget shortfall or just a "Schmoke screen"?

Mark McLean


Pub Date: 11/09/97

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