Education success requires concern for the `whole child...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 11, 2000

Education success requires concern for the `whole child'

My congratulations to the private schools featured in The Sun's article about expanding physical education facilities ("Groundbreaking work," Dec. 25). These schools have recognized that they cannot achieve optimal educational outcomes without looking at the whole child.

Kids who do best in school tend to eat well, get plenty of exercise and feel safe and secure both at home and at school.

Unfortunately, the article also underscored the growing dichotomy between public and private systems. Public schools are having to make hard choices about what they can provide, and physical education is often seen as an extra, rather than an essential.

At a time when 25 percent of our youngsters are more than 20 percent above their ideal weight, and kids are becoming less active, we need to promote a very broad view of good child health.

We need to link the health of our children to improved educational outcomes.

Perhaps private institutions would be willing to partner with public schools to share resources and coordinate school health and physical education programs to benefit all of the children of Maryland?

Dr. Daniel J. Levy

Baltimore

The writer is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Private education: a win/win situation

The Sun's editorial "Unwise school aid" (Dec. 29) offered a very unbalanced analysis of educational needs.

The Supreme Court has held that providing textbooks to church-related schools does not breach the separation of church and state.

So it's misleading to suggest that by aiding private schools, the state would open itself to "a flood of lawsuits."

And it's not a "slippery slope" when taxpaying parents get benefits to which they are legally entitled. To the contrary, it is rather gross discrimination to withhold perfectly legal state help..

Private schools save states hundreds of millions of dollars every year, because their students do not go to public schools.

The governor would have "his priorities straight" if he includes textbook aid to private schools in his forthcoming budget.

Rabbi Herman N. Neuberger

Baltimore

The writer is president of Ner Israel Rabbinical College.

In response to the recent letter "Private, religious schools shouldn't get state aid" (Jan 2), I ask, why not?

Most people who send children to private schools also pay taxes. And who says education must be in public schools? Education is education.

Sending children to private schools benefits public schools: it improves their teacher/student ratio, reduces class size and means fewer buildings need to be built and maintained. Private education is a win/win situation.

So let's let the private schools have a share of state funding -- and stop worrying about the First Amendment, whose clauses concerning religion were only intended to prevent Congress from establishing a national church.

Patricia A. Leepa

Ellicott City

Private schools get plenty of private money

With regard to Gov. Parris N. Glendening proposing to use the budget surplus to aid private schools, I am outraged by this blatant display of influence peddling ("Private school aid considered," Dec. 22).

I am the mother of a private school child. The only reason I spend this money is because I feel that the schools in my district are substandard. Can you just imagine what the extensive state surplus could do for our public schools?

Does anybody know how much money wealthy folks put into private schools?

They do not need our tax money. This is not only a violation of the constitution, but a disgusting display of big money influence on in our government.

Harriet M. G. Baverman

Owings Mills

Baltimore Co. residents must fend for themselves

The Sun's article "Owners watch home turf" illustrates that in Baltimore County the onerous responsibility of overseeing the welfare of a neighborhood is too often left to community activists.

It should be the responsibility of the liquor board to fully investigate all applicants. But in this case, county employees clearly failed to do their job.

Baltimore County residents need to be alerted that they must act on violations and oversights, for no one else is going to look after their neighborhood.

Debra Golden

Dundalk

Don't lump Hickey School in with abusive boot camps

I was dismayed by The Sun's association of child abuse with the Charles H. Hickey, Jr. School "Improving kids' lives should be state's goal" (editorial, Dec. 20).

Within one paragraph, the editorial stated: "But abuse is not confined to boot camps . . . Ongoing troubles at the Hickey School in Baltimore County indicate the breadth of this problem."

In the 15 months I have worked as a teacher at the school, there have been no incidents of child abuse toward the 350 young men housed at the facility.

If anything, there have been instances in which students have been abusive to staff and teachers.

True, there are serious concerns to be raised at the school and institutions of this type.

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