Sensational title raises the barriers the disabled face...

LETTERS

January 21, 2001

Sensational title raises the barriers the disabled face

The Sun's article "School proposal sparks anger among parents" (Jan. 14) represents the lowest form of sensational journalism that which harms the innocent.

The inflammatory "sparks anger" headline text becomes immediately associated with "learning disabled" and "the worst," which appear in the sub-headlines.

One has to read through the entire article to the last paragraph to find statements such as "excellent meeting" and "a good thing for our school" by the school PTA's president.

Why weren't those statements part of the headline?

Students with disabilities face many challenges in the school environment and in the community. One of the biggest challenges is a societal attitudinal barrier.

This is evidenced by Fort Smallwood Elementary parents who reportedly were concerned the learning disabled students would be "violent" and "act out," endangering other children.

Perhaps if newspapers such as The Sun would be more careful in crafting headlines and articles regarding persons with disabilities, then not only special-education professionals, but each of us could act to eliminate the attitudinal barriers they face every day.

Frank Wise

Crofton

The writer is president of the board of the Maryland Coalition for Inclusive Education.

Many educators want to see MSPAP abolished

Bill Evers' assessment of the absurdity of MSPAP hit the nail on the head ("MSPAP failings," Opinion

Commentary, Jan. 3).

Having been a classroom teacher for 29 years, it is obvious to me that this program is not meeting the needs of students, is a constant burden on teachers and administrators and doesn't accomplish much of anything.

The policy-makers have sucked the joy of teaching out for too many of us with a testing program that simply has created more problems than it was ever supposed to solve.

Just ask any teacher in the state whether students read, write or think better than they did 10 years ago.

The public should demand that the results of Mr. Evers' review panel be made public immediately.

Many in education want a stake driven through the heart of the MSPAP program, which has been unproductive, all-consuming and absurdly expensive.

David Chester

Glen Burnie

Democrats are right to grill Bush's nominees

I find the post-election Republican whining hypocritical. That party has spent the past eight years viciously attacking a Democratic president who won with a large plurality of votes.

President George W. Bush can't claim that. Mr. Bush couldn't win the popular vote even though his major competitor had a third-party candidate to contend with. Indeed, if you add Al Gore's and Ralph Nader's votes together, Mr. Bush is still in Texas. Take away the banana republic of Florida and Mr. Bush loses.

Mr. Bush's campaign as a "compassionate conservative" was also a farce. There is no room for compassion among conservatives; they are consumed by their self-righteousness.

It is our right to scrutinize Mr. Bush's Cabinet appointees, especially as the lack of intellect Mr. Bush has shown will cause him to rely on these appointees to set and implement policy.

Many of Mr. Bush's nominees have strong business ties to the industries they will regulate. Others have more ties to his father than to George W. Bush. We voted their political philosophies out of office eight years ago. Has time passed them by? Only tough questions will let the public know.

Fifty percent of America did not support Mr. Bush. But if he shows respect for some Democratic ideas, I hope the Democrats will do the same for Mr. Bush.

Alan McAllister

Severna Park

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