Letters To The Editor


January 30, 2003

The states need school funding, not more advice

Gary Ratner's column "Give states a roadmap so no child will be lost" (Opinion * Commentary, Jan. 16) misses a fundamental flaw in the No Child Left Behind Act's approach to education reform.

States do not need to be shown how to arrive at quality education for all children. They need funds to implement the ideas we already know will help all students.

Tanika White's article of the same day ("Academic budget bared in dispute," Jan. 16) provides a case in point.

Members of the Baltimore school board are being forced to face the fact that they cannot afford the millions allocated last year for 297 academic coaches - one of the elements Mr. Ratner offers as something "experienced educators know" should be part of an effective education system.

The board has the map; it cannot afford to build the roads. And other elements that Mr. Ratner rightly claims will improve education, such as longer internships and extensive content preparation for new teachers, are equally unaffordable to the states.

Teachers, principals and superintendents must navigate the potholes and ruts of the real world until the superhighways envisioned in No Child Left Behind are funded and built. Our education systems need roads, not roadmaps.

Victor Delclos


The writer chairs the education department at Loyola College.

Bush's SEC chairman outlasts his welcome

Why hasn't Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Harvey L. Pitt joined the swelling ranks of the unemployed ("SEC cave-in," editorial, Jan. 24)?

After all, President Bush accepted his resignation nearly three months ago because Mr. Pitt's obvious chumminess with industries he was supposed to regulate made him a political liability. But he's still in place, helping to gut the Sarbanes-Oxley bill that was intended to clean up corporate malfeasance.

The cynical way this White House goes about its business is just more evidence that it is the most corrupt administration we've seen in 30 years.

David Schwartz


Bush is right on role of race in admissions

It's unfortunate many Democrats equate the president's stand in favor of a color-blind society with racism ("GOP, Democrats present dueling messages on race," Jan. 22).

But Mr. Bush is correct to oppose any efforts by state-sponsored universities to separate us by the color of our skin. Conversely, the Democrats are wrong to continually attempt to separate us by our skin color and to reward certain groups arbitrarily and at the expense of others.

Affirmative action based upon class (i.e. for poor children) makes some sense to me. Awarding college scholarships to students in the top 10 percent of their high school class, regardless of their SAT scores, makes sense also.

But giving points only because an individual's skin is a certain color is racism and racist, pure and simple.

Michael DeCicco


Talk of `quotas' elicits racism

When the president dug up and dusted off the old code word "quotas" in his speech on the University of Michigan's admissions policies, I believe he knew the effect of that word and the emotions it would elicit ("Race-based admissions plan is `divisive, unfair,' Bush says," Jan. 16).

Quotas were deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. The word is now used solely to elicit negative, defensive and, unfortunately, racist reactions.

It was not worthy of the office or the man to dig this word up and throw it into the public discussion again.

Michael S. Eckenrode


With Libya in lead, U.N. lacks authority

On Jan. 20, Libya was elected to chair the U.N.'s Human Rights Commission. The vote was 33-3, with 17 abstentions ("U.S. to demand ballot on Libya for rights post," Jan. 20).

One can only hope the commission will now pursue human rights violations in Libya and the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in Scotland in 1988 as vigorously as it addresses perceived human rights violations by the United States. But somehow I doubt that it will.

Regardless of how one feels about going to war with Iraq, how can anyone believe that the United States needs the moral authority of the United Nations before acting? What moral authority?

Terrence H. Scout


Find a location for new bus station

The Sun's article "Greyhound lobbies for new downtown site" (Jan. 13) reminded me how shortsighted Baltimore can be.

A year ago, a small group of elitists derailed the plan for a new bus terminal near Penn Station, which would have been built with $11 million in federal and city funds.

The people fighting the construction of the terminal at that site were concerned that the terminal would bring loiterers, traffic congestion and pollution to the area. They did not wish to accept that a bus terminal located at a connecting rail terminal site would bring tourists, visitors, students, artists and others to an area in need of revitalization.

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