Stear clear of latest fads when teaching our children...

SATURDAY MAILBOX

June 13, 1998

Stear clear of latest fads when teaching our children

Craig Schulze is right in his Opinion Commentary ("Reflection on blur of teaching trends," June 3), regarding the many problems faced by teachers today. Some of the problems I have noticed during my work with the legislature include:

Methods such as whole language instruction being forced on teachers even though there is little or no evidence that they work well.

"Specialists" who are no longer in the classroom using intimidation -- I call it the "mean teacher look" -- to get teachers to comply with their wishes.

Many good teachers often give up and go elsewhere.

We should demand that new approaches to instruction are well-researched and proven valid before we buy into them.

Research showing the actual results of new teaching methods is not only necessary to provide a baseline with which to measure teachers' and students' progress, but should be required before anyone attempts to install them in our schools.

Janet Greenip

Crofton

The writer represents Anne Arundel County in the Maryland House of Delegates.

Online support groups can provide comfort

The article "Computer networks of concern" (May 24), hit close to home. There are many support groups that have been developed online. They can be life-savers and valuable sources of information and support.

Almost a year ago, I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease called Pemphigus Vulgaris. Fear and anger do not begin to describe how I felt, and still feel at times. I was lucky to find the Pemphigus Foundation on the Internet as quickly as I did. It helps to know that there are others to whom I can turn, who are sharing similar experiences.

As a social worker, I have experienced the value of support and information for myself and others. Support groups offered through the Internet are an important resource for people who might otherwise be isolated.

Erica Byrne

Ellicott City

Too many invitations to nation's debt party

The reporter who wrote the front-page story on bankruptcy ("Bill targets credit debt") and the cartoonist who draws the "Tommy" cartoon were definitely on the same wavelength when they wrote their respective pieces (June 7).

Each week, I receive several pre-approved applications for credit cards in the mail, plus a telephone call or two on the same subject. If the credit card companies and banks that are sending me these applications knew that I no longer work full-time and have only a part-time job and do not draw Social Security benefits yet, they wouldn't be sending me these "invitations." Or, would they?

Donna S. Orwig

Jarrettsville

Showed poor taste calling Heston 'craggy'

The editorial about the National Rifle Association, of which I am not a member, and its new president, Charlton Heston, is in very poor taste when you have to resort to name-calling, describing his face as "craggy" and mentioning his "good diction" ("In new role, Heston sticks to his guns, June 9).

It seems to me that a paper that is all for diversity and multiculturalism, would have room for a white male, with good diction, no matter his facial expressions.

R.A. Bacigalupa

Baltimore

Children are suffering without their parents

I feel sorry for the children described in Susan Reimer's article "The Juggling Act" (June 3). These children are suffering because both parents have chosen to work outside of the home.

It's hard to believe that these couples, who are highly educated and who have careers in medicine, law, hospital administration and the like, cannot figure out a way to live on one income.

I left a successful career because my husband and I believe that our children need and deserve the nurturing that only a parent can provide. The couples in Ms. Reimer's story have chosen to live frenzied lives. They need to separate need from greed and figure out how to provide a calmer family life for their children.

Maureen M. Larkin

Timonium

Zinman's BSO tenure will not be forgotten

It was a distinct pleasure to be present June 6 for one of David Zinman's final concerts with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. The playing was inspired and filled Meyerhoff Symphony Hall with the lustrous sound that has become the orchestra's hallmark.

Although I left Baltimore in 1974 to attend college and now live in Philadelphia, I have followed the orchestra's fortune closely over the years, attending concerts when I could and collecting many of the orchestra's magnificent recordings. It is sad to see Maestro Zinman departing. His distinguished tenure will not be quickly forgotten.

It is heartening to know that Baltimore had the foresight to invite a world-class American-born conductor to lead its orchestra to international renown.

Dr. Robert M. Kaiser

Philadelphia

Pledge of Allegiance part of our obligation

Gregory Kane exaggerates the obligations of his fellow citizens to serve the desires of people like the San Diego school girl who refuses to recite the Pledge of Allegiance ("Liberty, justice for all pledge not reality," June 3).

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