Hospitals still provide free breast examsThe Sun ran a...

LETTERS

November 24, 1997

Hospitals still provide free breast exams

The Sun ran a Nov. 12 article ("Free Md. breast exams sought") about the need for a mammography screening program for low-income women, now that state money has been eliminated for the Coordinated Breast Cancer Screening Program.

Hospitals, too, are concerned that breast-cancer screening continue for all Maryland women. That's why -- even though state funding for the program ended June 30 -- hospitals are continuing their programs.

Of the 23 hospitals that participated in the statewide program, all are offering mammography screening services to uninsured and underinsured Maryland women. In addition, 10 other Maryland hospitals have breast cancer prevention programs.

Over the last five years, more than 50,000 low-income women have been screened under the program and more than 800 cases of breast cancer identified.

The outreach, education and collaborative relationships among providers put in place over the life of this program have increased public awareness of the need of mammograms and regular exams.

Maryland hospitals are aggressively seeking grants and additional private and public-sector funding to ensure these programs remain strong and that once breast cancer is detected there is full access to necessary treatment.

Maryland hospitals are committed to being active partners in efforts to improve the health of all Marylanders. Prevention for breast cancer is just one example of that commitment.

Calvin M. Pierson

Lutherville

The writer is president of the Association of Maryland Hospitals and Health Systems.

Reading by 6 possible, but don't miss the boat

The educational system is missing the boat when it comes to teaching children how to read. One needs to look at the Montessori method, developed by Maria Montessori, to see how a child really learns. In a Montessori school children learn to read naturally and with ease and are reading by age six.

One reason the schools have a problem is that they are starting to teach reading too late. The schools have missed the sensitive period children have for reading which is around ages 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 . A sensitive period, is a time when a child is particularly receptive to certain stimuli. After that time in a child's life this receptivity goes away forever.

The Montessori method teaches phonetics because it is a logical method. The connection between sounds and writing makes it possible to turn sounds into written words. Thereby children learn to think rather than guess.

Another way the educational system is missing the boat is that reading should not be taught as a separate entity. Reading and writing are interwined; writing should be learned before reading.

I know this method works because I have seen the results in my six children and in many other children. People were surprised to see my children reading the newspaper at age six.

Lynn Linde

York, PA

Students need to be taught, not tested

This letter is a concern about the High School Improvement Program (formerly called High School Assessment) that the Maryland State Board of Education is implementing.

The state board will be making decisions regarding these assessments by December. Parents need to become informed on these proposed 10 tests, so we can voice our concerns.

Field testing may begin as early as 1999. If these proposed test are used as a graduation requirement, it could be for the class of 2004, the current 6th graders.

These test are considered high stakes as they are presently designed, because a student must pass all in order to graduate.

How can a student be denied a high school diploma based on only one measure of achievement?

Testing alone does not raise standards. Strong curriculum, along with qualified instruction and parent involvement will lead to improved student achievement.

Our children need to be taught not tested.

Anita Bass

Baltimore

Hooligans infest children's schools

I dare parents to visit their child's school. They will be appalled.

Between the language, fights and defiance toward any adult, staff or student in school, there are too many students who don't care. It is almost impossible to learn, even if they wanted to.

If there is a student who is a constant problem in school, let a parent go to school with them.

My child and your child have the right and need for an education. Our children also have the right to attend school and feel safe and secure.

Lynn Reider

Baltimore

USDA should help preserve Chesapeake

Your article on the history of the huge new program to restore wetlands and forest buffers around the Chesapeake Bay well describes the complex route new ideas must travel in Washington to gain approval.

Length limits meant the article ("Behind scenes of deal to curb bay pollution," Nov. 7) had to leave out one important element: U.S. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman's repeated promise to target conservation funds at environmental priorities. Once Gov. Parris Glendening's proposal reached the secretary's attention, approval moved rapidly.

In the long run, the ability of the USDA to use its funds for real benefits and not pork depends on whether congressmen and senators from Maryland and other states with environmental leanings make such use a priority. Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-Md., and the delegation did -- and that explains Maryland's success.

In the past, such use of farm-bill funds ranked below the mohair subsidy as an issue of concern for local legislators. Continued focus by Senator Sarbanes and the rest of the Maryland delegation will decide if other states can benefit, too, including Virginia and Pennsylvania. This is crucial to the future of the Chesapeake Bay.

Timothy D. Searchinger

Washington

The writer is senior attorney for the Environmental Defense Fund.

Pub Date: 11/24/97

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