Ignoring the needs of special education is...


March 01, 2001

Ignoring the needs of special education is unconscionable

It is absolutely unconscionable that state funding for special education has remained unchanged since 1990 -- even without considering the state's surplus or the increase in the number of children requiring such services ("Glendening ignores special education," Opinion

Commentary, Feb. 12).

In a related article regarding extension of what had been presumed to be the state's one-year contribution of funds to private schools, Principal Kathleen Filippelli of Father Charles A. Hall Elementary School remarked on the hardship it is for many of her schools' parents to "meet the tuition" at her school ("Funding for books enters next chapter," Feb. 11).

And to think I thought raising a severely disabled child was a hardship.

Fortunately, private school parents have Gov. Parris N. Glendening to look out for them. Apparently parents with special needs children have to fend for themselves.

Bob Wunder, Baltimore

Private schools diminish burden on the public system

People who send their children to private schools pay just as much for public education as those who sent their children to public schools.

Indeed, those complaining about the state paying for a few books for private schools should thank heaven there are private schools ("Public schools use old textbooks, too," letters, Feb. 20).

If there were no private schools, thousands of children would be added to the already overcrowded public school rolls. This would require hiring hundreds of additional teachers and building dozens of schools.

Then we would really have something to complain about.

Harold J. Wade, Towson

Don't assign harried teachers the responsibilities of parents

As a teacher in the Baltimore County school system, I take great exception to the portion of The Sun's editorial on school crime which asks "if teachers are instilling the values and ideals of good citizenship, respect for the law, integrity and responsibility" ("The price of doing the right thing," Feb. 23).

It is not the teachers' responsibility to instill such values; it is the parents' responsibility.

Teachers can, should and do reinforce such values constantly. Unfortunately, our modeling is frequently undermined by forces beyond our control.

Please do not assign any more parental responsibilities to teachers. We are overloaded already with obligations and duties that go well beyond what the title "teacher" encompasses.

Nancy Herboldsheimer, Reisterstown

Zero tolerance isn't best way to fight drugs

In his column "White House must take lead in drug wars" (Opinion

Commentary Feb. 20), Michael Dana points to the drug war's unintended consequences as reason to intensify efforts.

But the fact that filling prisons with non-violent drug offenders costs taxpayers billions is reason to rethink the drug war, not to continue it.

There are cost-effective alternatives to the drug war. The Netherlands, for example has reduced drug use by replacing marijuana prohibition with regulation. Dutch drug-use rates are significantly lower than U.S. rates in every category.

Separating the hard and soft drug markets and establishing age controls has proven more effective than zero tolerance.

Robert Sharpe, Washington

The writer is program officer for the Lindesmith Center-Drug Policy Foundation.

Label city's pay phones so they can stay in service

In order not to deprive legitimate users of pay phones, why not designate those phones "non-private" and mark them "conversations may be monitored for quality assurance" ("Pay phone requests revive fear of drug ties," Feb. 21)?

George B. Wroe, Glyndon

Eminem garners awards as Graziano seeks treatment

What's wrong with this picture? Eminem, whose rap garbage (it's not music) degrades gays, lesbians and women with phrases so foul they can't be printed, wins three Grammy Awards ("Veterans' Day," Feb. 22).

City Housing Commissioner Paul T. Graziano gets drunk in a Fells Points bar and makes anti-gay remarks, but they were nothing like what Eminem has said.

Mr. Graziano almost gets fired, spends 30 days in an alcohol treatment center, meets gays and lesbians and repeatedly apologizes for his remarks. And they still wish he had been fired ("Graziano meets with gays and lesbians," Feb. 14).

Maybe Mr. Graziano should have rapped his remarks at that bar. He then would have received a Grammy.

Tom Korpela, Forest Hill

So Eminem won some Grammy awards. We have achieved a new low.

Although his critics are many, unfortunately so are Eminem's fans. They tell us he is funny. When did rape, incest and murder become funny? Who finds entertainment in cruelty and humiliation?

If insensitivity is tolerated and upheld in modern culture, can an increase in sociopathic behavior be far behind?

Jeannette Ollodart Marx, Towson

Townsend's tangled tongue deserved a critical look

I'm glad The Sun devoted some attention to Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend's penchant for misspeaking ("Townsend foes finding arsenal in her words," Feb. 21).

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