More resources, better management boost city schools...


May 28, 2000

More resources, better management boost city schools

Congratulations to the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners, administration and teachers for the significant improvement in elementary reading and math test scores ("City pupils' test scores surge." May 17).

If sustained, this progress will be one of the most dramatic improvements experienced by any urban school system in recent memory.

These results validate the assumption in the lawsuit that led to the city-state partnership -- that city children could learn at significantly higher levels if two conditions were met: first, adequate resources available to implement proven interventions; and second, efficient utilization of new and existing funds.

Money and management were both needed.

Now, the city school system has shown that given a small percentage increase in funding, it can produce results.

What remains is for the state to honor the court settlement fully and provide the resources to complete the job. City schools have shown the money will be well spent. Robert C. Embry


The writer is president of the Abell Foundation.

Number of books read isn't what's most important

Congratulations to Elena-Lee Peddicord, the first-grader at the city's Medfield Heights Elementary School who read 1,640 books this school year (photo, May 21).

However, I can't help wonder: Were all the books first-grade level? How long were they and how much of what she read does she remember?

It seems to me reading a few pithy books of moderate length requiring the need for a dictionary once in a while would have more value than reading any number of slim books that offer little in vocabulary building or useful information.

I think more emphasis should be on the quality of the books read, rather than simply their number.

More is not always better.

Barbara J. Brassard


Student slain protecting purse did the right thing

Although I never met the man, I am saddened to hear of the loss of Christian W. Ludwig. Unfortunately, The Sun denigrates his memory by advocating a philosophy that it seems Mr. Ludwig did not follow: the total and complete submission to the criminal element ("Another grievous loss," editorial, May 23).

I've found many changes over the last 20 or 30 years hard to swallow, but none so much as the belief that it is foolish to defend one's property if there is a chance that one may be injured or killed doing so.

What sort of people truly believe it is sensible to just hand over your hard-earned money or property instead of fighting to protect it? Imagine if our founding fathers had espoused this belief- July 4 would be just another day of the week.

Mr. Ludwig had no intention of dying to prevent the loss of his friend's purse, but he was willing to risk his life to fight against its loss.

Perhaps if others follow Mr. Ludwig's example we would see a sharp decrease in crime.

Anyone who is not willing to risk his life for his freedom deserves neither.

Mr. Ludwig deserved both. May he be an inspiration to others.

Brian D. Hess


Supreme Court was right to protect states' authority

I applaud the Supreme Court for having the political courage to strike down a popular but constitutionally flawed part of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 ("Women can't sue rapists, court says," May 16).

Every state court provides a forum of civil suits for rape and physical assault. All provide for punitive damages as well.

The federal courts are already overburdened and their use should be reserved for truly national issues. Lines between national and local issues are difficult to draw, but they should be decided by the court rather than Congress.

If the logic of the court's dissenting minority and The Sun is correct ("Court limits Congress' power," editorial May 22), Congress could federalize divorces and probate cases as well -- as those areas of law certainly affect interstate commerce.

Christopher J. Moylan


Don't blame roller coasters for all theme park deaths

As a roller coaster enthusiast, I am tired of the media reporting every amusement accident or death as the result of a roller coaster, when that's not the case.

The Sun's Alice Lukens, for instance, reported in the article "A roller coaster ride on safety" (May 22) that six people died on roller coasters last year.

It makes for great copy, but it's not true

Of the six people who died, one died on a white-water rapids ride, one died on a free-fall tower rifle and another died on a spinning ride.

If Ms. Lukens doesn't know the difference between a roller coaster and the other rides listed, I'll be happy to escort her to our local theme park.

Robert Cashour


Booming economy causes a booming trade deficit

A recent letter claimed that our record trade deficit means that the United States produces nothing, steals from foreigners, and has incurred a debt that will be the ruin of us all ("An economic boom rooted in sand?" letters, May 21 ).

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