Tax credits for teachers too meager to keep bestThe...


November 14, 1998

Tax credits for teachers too meager to keep best

The proposal for $500 tax credits for schoolteachers hatched on the eve of the election by the State Board of Education is truly bizarre ("Grasmick plan offers incentives," Oct. 28).

Similar benefits will immediately be sought by other groups -- police officers, social workers, prison guards and so on. An extra $500 a year will not recruit or retain any schoolteacher.

Although the Maryland Department of Education has found that graduates in computer and physical sciences can expect to earn $6,000 to $10,000 more in private industry than in teaching, only three Maryland counties have union contracts that permit extra pay for teachers in hard-to-fill disciplines such as the sciences.

A supplement of $10,000 per year for fully qualified high school teachers in these disciplines would cost less than the proposed $500 tax credit and would address the most critical problem. The state should devote more money to merit pay to retain the best teachers. Uniform, seniority-based union pay schedules that drive the best teachers into administration or industry and that ignore the private-sector labor market have failed our public schools.

George W. Liebmann


Military service should not be forced

In his letter ("Those who would skip draft should face firing squad," Nov. 8), Willis Case Rowe displays more outrage than sense. At the beginning of his military service, Mr. Rowe took an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

His letter makes clear that he has not read the Constitution and does not understand the principles for which he risked his life.

The first paragraph of the 13th Amendment states, "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

I would ask Mr. Rowe how conscription is not involuntary servitude when it is by definition forcible induction into military service? Also, conscription was as unpopular in the 1860s as it was in the 1960s -- there were anti-draft riots in New York City in 1863.

If the framers of the 13th Amendment in 1865 wanted to permit conscription, why didn't they craft an exemption for it as they did for imprisonment? We must obey the Constitution as it is written, not as we would like it to be written.

Mr. Rowe's assertion that draft resisters should face the firing squad is so much fascist blather. Since when are civilians subject to military law? Since when does each of us exist for the benefit of the state rather than for the benefit of ourselves and those we love?

I shudder to think that I served (voluntarily) as a lieutenant for nearly four years in an Army antiaircraft missile battery to make the world safe for Mr. Rowe's kind of nonsense.

Amos Hale Adams


Save the environment from a ton of trouble

Tomorrow marks the second annual America Recycles Day. Choosing to recycle is a lot like choosing to vote. Just as a few votes can swing an election, an average family of four can easily recycle more than a ton of material each year.

These tons mean less soot and greenhouse gases in our air, fewer pollutants such as sulfuric acid, less oil in our waterways and less trash going to landfills and incinerators.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a recent survey of several studies concluded that recycling results in a net reduction in 10 major categories of air pollutants and eight major categories of water-quality indicators. Recycling also means business in Maryland. It creates nine times as many jobs as landfilling and incineration.

In this state alone, more than 100 private companies are involved in the processing and remanufacture of recyclables.

In the weeks leading up to America Recycles Day, Scout troops, schoolchildren and curious adults have toured some of these local recycling factories to watch used bottles, cans and paper recycled into new products right before their eyes.

I hope that people will take a moment this weekend to consider that the difference recycling makes is well worth a little extra effort.

Ellen L. Kobler


The writer is a member of the Maryland Recyclers Coalition.

Glad not to be living in frosty Kasper home

Rob Kasper's column ("Nothing boils the blood like turning the heat on," Nov. 7) made me grateful not to be married to him.

To forego one's personal comfort to save money is "thrifty"; to smugly impose it on others, especially your own family, is just plain stingy.

Dorothy L. Harrison

Ellicott City

Life in bay will suffer with dredge dumping

Your editorial supporting the dumping of dredge spoil off Kent Island is a sad day for Maryland ("A site for spoil," Nov. 10). Of course the shipping channels must be dredged, but dumping 18 million cubic yards of muck into prime recreational and fishery waters is an obscenity.

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