Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

February 22, 2004

Welfare reform includes funding for child care

The Sun's recent editorial on President Bush's plan to strengthen welfare reform accused the administration of turning a "cold shoulder" to families on the issue of child care ("Working solution," Feb. 13). That's not true.

The welfare reform proposal, which has passed the U.S. House of Representatives and is pending in the Senate, indeed encourages more work, and, therefore, requires additional child care.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the necessary increase in child care funding to be approximately $1.5 billion over the next five years. Yet both the House and Senate bills include up to $3.3 billion increase in child care spending over the next five years.

Therefore the increase in child care funding being proposed is more than adequate to cover the increased need for child care as a result of the increased work requirements in the bill. And that's on top of the nearly $9 billion the federal government already spends annually on child care.

The welfare reform proposal before Congress recognizes that child care is a necessary support service to help welfare recipients move into work.

The funding increase for child care contained in these bills, supported by the president, is clearly more than ample to fully account for the increased child care needs as a result of this legislation.

Wade F. Horn

Washington

The writer is assistant secretary for children and families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Loans to schools only delay budget crunch

Please help me understand this: The city will give the city schools an $8 million loan at 1.5 percent interest, with repayment due in fiscal 2005. Ditto for the Abell Foundation. The state will lend $42 million, at the same interest rate, due the same year ("Md. offers an advance of $42 million," Feb. 18).

I am unable to see how this has helped the city schools. Perhaps the day of reckoning has been postponed, but now the deficit has become a debt, with interest tacked on.

Won't school staff still have to go? And how did the teachers' union improve its position by forcing the system into assuming more debt rather than helping to reduce the deficit?

Charles G. George

Baltimore

Money isn't the key to schools' success

The proposed bailout of the Baltimore schools by the city, state and the Abell Foundation is a stopgap palliative and will not attend to the basic problems of a school system run amok ("Md. offers an advance of $42 million," Feb. 18).

It is all too obvious that too much attention is being paid to the "trees" while the "forest" is ignored.

Educators and politicians involved in the crisis would do well to read the 1966 Coleman Report, which questions whether increases in per student spending make any difference in achievement.

The key to such achievement the investigators cited was not primarily funding but the "background of students' families, the ethos of their neighborhoods, and the academic zeal of their classmates."

Arthur Laupus

Columbia

Race-based aid is small piece of the pie

Clarence Page's criticism of the whites-only scholarship controversy in Rhode Island omitted one important fact: Although many whites believe that race-based scholarships for people of color are common, the evidence shows otherwise ("Nothing new about scholarship bias," Opinion

Commentary, Feb. 19).

In the late 1980s, the American Council on Education found that only 3 percent of minority college students were the recipients of race-based scholarships. This accounted for only 2 percent of aid to college students.

And the figures are almost certainly smaller today since these scholarships have come under increased legal scrutiny because of the 1994 U.S. Appeals Court decision which outlawed race-based scholarships in Maryland and other 4th Circuit states.

It is conservative, anti-affirmative action zealots such as those in Rhode Island who have promoted the myth that whites are hurt by race-based scholarships for people of color.

Fred L. Pincus

Baltimore

The writer is a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Generalizing is also unfair to Christians

In reading the article "Framing an eternal Christian debate," (Feb. 15), I noticed that the inferences about Christians violate the same principle of cultural sensitivity that the writers were trying to foster and exemplify the very fallacies of the prejudice that they were trying to expose by making unjust overgeneralizations about the Christian culture of today.

Claudia Samantha Dugan

Ellicott City

See another side of the aging story

I have been reading The Sun's series "Dancing in the Twilight" with great interest.

I work with low-income seniors in subsidized housing who can only dream about amenities like those at Leisure World. No amount of flowery prose can make their lives sound better than stressful to say the least.

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