Supportive education is a much better termWith 17 years in...


November 14, 1997

Supportive education is a much better term

With 17 years in special education in Chicago and Baltimore, I have learned that words can hurt. I refer to two words: special education.

It has been my experience to witness that in city schools, special education students are labeled retarded, but in suburban schools are called learning disabled. On a job application, these two words are doom for any city student.

I would like to suggest to the new board of school t commissioners -- whose job it is to improve schools to fit our children for future jobs and responsibilities in life -- expunge these two words and replace them with the words supportive education.

This, I believe, would lead to a more equal opportunity for all who need a little help from a friend.

#Pauline A. Launderslager


BGE-PEPCO merger benefits all customers

The BGE/Pepco merger has been in the news since it was announced in April 1996.

The issues surrounding the merger are complex, but the bottom line is easier to understand. If the utilities in Maryland are not large enough and strong enough to compete, they will be taken over by larger and stronger ones from outside the state. Local control will be lost. Commitment to the local community may also be lost.

Baltimore County Circuit Judge James T. Smith Jr. was right to rule that the merger is in the best interest of Maryland's citizens. The Fuel Fund has worked with BGE for a number of years and we know their commitment to their customers, including those whose income sometimes makes it difficult for them to pay their bills in a timely manner. This commitment was re-affirmed in their merger filing with the Public Service Commission.

Deregulation is coming whether or not the merger is completed. It is a force independent of the merger. Since, Maryland has some of the lowest utility rates in the northeast, it is unclear how much its citizens will benefit from deregulation. To insure that we have some say in the process, we need to keep our local utilities competitive. The merger may not be the perfect solution, but it beats the alternatives.

Ellen F. Lockard


The writer is executive director of the Fuel Fund of Central Maryland.

Are gays really all that different?

I enjoyed the Nov. 9 "The Argument" article, "Redefining homosexuality." Author Victoria Brownworth uses the "deadly dull language" of trendy intellectuals to poke fun at the idea that gay people are so different from us straights that we don't share a common culture.

Huh? My gay friends speak American English, get called for jury duty, work hard at their jobs, catch a movie on the weekend.

In graduate school, I learned to avoid 50-cent words and tangled grammar in my writing. These cliches are what make Ms. Brownworth's parody so funny.

She was kidding, right?

lastair Mackay


Reimer misinformed readers about allergies

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America's Maryland chapter would like to respond to Susan Reimer's Oct. 26 column about dust mites and allergists.If readers believe her outrageous statements, she has set our education process back significantly.

Dust mites do exist. Saying that they do not and that "allergists created dust mites to explain things they can't explain" is to call educated, informed medical practitioners and researchers liars, denying what they do know. Cockroaches have the same effect as dust mites. Does Ms. Reimer deny their existence as well?

In response to her claim that the allergists' goal is "to generate huge fees," an initial consultation, percutaneous (skin) testing, interdermal testing and summary consultation with treatment plans can run about $1,000. Depending on insurance, the cost to the patient can be as low as a $10 co-pay. And asthmas, which can be triggered by dust mites, does kill -- 5,000 people a year nationally.

As to "housekeeping shortcomings," a cleaner living environment necessary for the control of allergies and asthma. However, dust mites are not about cleanliness. They exist in clean homes and must be dealt with in the best ways known to handle them.

This brings us to Ms. Reimer's complaints about "really expensive furnace filters and zippered bags for mattresses and pillows." These controls work; patients can verify this fact. Items can be purchased in discount stores, or obtained through our Foundation's Patient Assistance program for those who qualify.

We are trying to eliminate ignorance about allergy and asthma. We could use the help of informed journalists to further our

goals, not hinder them.

Maryanne Ellis


The writer is executive director of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Maryland chapter.

Drug bust cause for congratulations

Monumental achievements of the Baltimore police are not things that we often hear about. This makes Michael James' and Jamie Stiehm's Oct. 18 article ''Drug sting leads to 60 arrests'' all the more reassuring.

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