Letters To The Editor


April 20, 2003

Congress boosts education funds for the disabled

The Sun's editorial on special education funding ("Underfunded mandate," editorial, April 14) fails to acknowledge the significant increase in federal investment in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) over the past seven years. But the federal commitment to special education has increased dramatically under the leadership of congressional Republicans and President Bush.

In fact, funding for IDEA is among the highest priorities for Congress, which has boosted funding by more than $6.5 billion since 1996, an increase of nearly 300 percent.

And last week the House Committee on Education and the Workforce approved my legislation to renew IDEA. During consideration of the bill, the committee accepted an amendment to authorize continued growth in special education aid to states, including an additional $4.7 billion over the next two years.

The resulting federal commitment is far greater than it has been at any point since IDEA was enacted in 1975. My legislation also provides a plan to achieve full federal funding for IDEA in seven years.

Congress has a responsibility to parents, teachers, and students to strengthen the IDEA. We must see that students with disabilities are given access to an education that maximizes their unique abilities and provides them the tools for success.

Michael N. Castle


The writer represents Delaware in the House of Representatives.

Young mothers really can beat the odds

Twenty-eight years ago I gave birth to a baby girl when I was 17. My mom had the same reaction as the mother of Channel Maye -- that I would not finish high school; however, like Ms. Maye, I beat the odds ("Bearing a child, beating the odds," April 15).

I found out that I was pregnant at the end of my junior year at Lake Clifton High School. Upon returning to school, I scheduled an appointment with my counselor and found I had enough credits to graduate except for my final English course.

I arranged to take my English course in two trimesters and was able to finish that class in March. I was then able to be at home with my child until graduation.

After graduation, I began a full-time job at the Enoch Pratt Free Library with a $7,000 annual salary and benefits.

I have had a successful career, and I'm currently married and have two grandchildren. I would like to say to Ms. Maye that the odds can be beaten, and that I encourage her to fulfill her goals.

Life does not always deal the hand you plan, but she seems to have planned a future that will work in her situation.

Crystal Brown

Owings Mills

The French people are not our enemy

Thank you to Gregory Kane for saying what needed to be publicly expressed ("French-bashing flies in face of rationality -- and history," April 16). The French are not our enemies, they are our friends. To condemn the French people for a decision by their leaders is as ridiculous as condemning the American people for the decisions of our leaders.

The French helped us to create our nation. How many more Americans would have died fighting for freedom without their help?

We are both nations of people who believe in freedom, even the freedom to disagree.

As far as I am concerned, I will still sprinkle my French fries with American ketchup, and be grateful for both.

Jay Block


Don't risk U.S. life for Iraqi museums

Since the Iraqis apparently weren't interested in protecting their own national treasures, why should we risk American lives to do so ("Cultural disaster in museum's ruins," letter, April 15)?

I wouldn't sacrifice one American boy to save all the museums in Iraq.

Elaine Rosenbloom


Last chance to alter date of city primary

I read with interest that the General Assembly may reconvene in special session to reconsider slots, and perhaps spending cuts as well ("Ehrlich says fiscal woes could bring the Assembly back," April 17).

If there is a special session, I hope lawmakers will take this last chance to correct their failure to move Baltimore's primary from its current date in September 2003, more than a year before the November 2004 general election.

While proposals to hold the primary in September 2004 or to move both elections to 2006 may have merit, we are currently stuck with the worst of all possible alternatives.

Let's just move the primary to March 2004 now, and debate other possibilities later.

Douglas E. McNeil


Veto bills that aid illegal immigrants

I was glad to see The Sun recognizes "vetoes have their role in government" ("So negative," editorial, April 17).

Here's a good place for Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich to use two vetoes: One bill on the governor's desk would allow illegal immigrants to attend state colleges and pay in-state tuition fees. Another would allow illegal immigrants to obtain Maryland driver's licenses.

Why would the geniuses in Annapolis reward lawbreakers with a license to drive? And Maryland taxpayers face a $1.8 billion budget shortfall. Is there really money to subsidize illegal immigrants?

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