Investing in the future with adequate funding for higher...

Letters to the Editor

January 28, 1999

Investing in the future with adequate funding for higher education

The quality of public higher education is one of the universal barometers used to determine a community's commitment to its future.

Individuals, institutions and corporations regularly compare funding levels, performance scores, degrees awarded, research grants, patents and other factors to ascertain how educational systems are responding to societal, personal and business needs.

We are confronted with the realities of a public higher-education system that is underfunded and undervalued compared with similar systems elsewhere, as noted in recent Sun editorials.

Maryland' system is vital to the survival of our region and our state, yet it is subject to a budgetary process that puts it at a distinct disadvantage that this region and its future can ill afford.

Today's knowledge-based global economy, and that of the future, requires well-educated individuals who are proficient in computer technology, along with their chosen areas of emphasis.

Institutions of higher education have been the places individuals go to acquire the knowledge and skills they need to be productive workers, researchers, scientists and professionals.

Agree or not, Maryland's public institutions are the primary builders of the state's work force, attracting and retaining significant numbers of students who remain in our state and preparing them for work life.

Jobs follow people. With universal work force shortages in many professional and occupational skill areas, the availability of educated and trained workers is the central factor that determines where companies remain, expand or locate. For all of its many assets, Greater Baltimore has to work much harder to be on a par with other desirable employment growth markets, including the Washington, D.C.-area suburbs of Maryland. Clearly, having adequately funded educational systems at all levels, but in particular, at the post-secondary level, is crucial to Greater Baltimore's future.

Higher education and the resources it brings -- from graduates for work-force development to research and development that fuels new enterprises -- are some of the most important calling cards we have to attract and keep business investment in the Baltimore area.

With Maryland's growth in the info-tech and biotech sectors, research spawned on its public campuses fuels the states economic engine. We can boast cutting-edge innovations in nearly every field of science and technology, and the public institutions now recognize and value the economic worth of their research.

Spending tax dollars on public higher education is an investment in the future of our youth, our work force, our businesses and economy that will yield great returns. If we think education is expensive, just imagine the alternative.

Ioanna T. Morfessis, Baltimore

The writer is president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Alliance.

Abortion is violent act; clinics should be closed

If President Clinton were really concerned about violence at abortion clinics, he would work to see them closed ("Clinton seeks security for medical clinics," Jan. 23). It is truly awful that seven people who work for abortion providers have been murdered in the past 10 years. Real pro-life activists do not condone such actions.

Millions of unborn babies have also been deliberately killed (murdered?) in the past 10 years.

Abortion is violence and the aborted baby is not the only victim. When a women is counseled to have an abortion, she is being told that she is not valuable enough to be supported in this natural state of pregnancy, and that she should undergo unnecessary surgery with all of its risks and complications, including having to live with the knowledge that she did indeed kill one of her own children.

Regina Simon, Fallston

Move poor people or address their problems?

It is true that many advocates are pleased that Our Daily Bread will be staying where it is located downtown ("Soup kitchen will remain downtown up to 3 years," Jan. 22).

We have seen throughout the country examples of laws and less-than-adequate service facilities designed to move poor, homeless and hungry people out of downtown areas as if these people didn't belong there. We believe Baltimore is better than that.

We believe Baltimore faces an opportunity to choose between being a national leader on how we address the effects of poverty or being a follower down the path of criminalizing homelessness and hunger.

The business community, lawmakers, service providers and poor people can join forces and develop real solutions, such as jobs that pay a living wage, adequate affordable housing and access to health care.

We can create public restrooms and day resource centers so that people can have access to services and not have to use the library to meet their most basic human needs.

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