Letters To The Editor


September 17, 2004

Teachers need higher salaries, not just bonuses

I applaud the possibility that teachers and staff officials of Anne Arundel County schools will receive bonuses for their students' performance in achieving higher academic accomplishments ("Teacher bonuses tied to dedication," Sept. 13).

This is a good start. But the article made little mention of monetarily rewarding the teachers in other high-poverty schools.

A teacher provides more than a basic education. Educational proficiency and disciplined classroom mentoring provide children the opportunity to want to make a difference for themselves.

They have the potential to reduce the wanton desire to commit crimes, and they can instill the self-respect and self-sufficiency necessary to meet life's challenges.

These are community problems; these are parenting quandaries. We can't just shove the difficulty on underpaid educators, or police for that matter, and expect miracles to happen. Do we really think good teachers will continue to want to make a difference for a sustained period of time when we shortchange them in the pocketbook?

You can only play on the fervent enthusiasm of a teacher's dream to make a difference for a short period of time before these professionals in high-poverty schools have had enough and decide to move on to better conditions and less-exasperating circumstances.

These teachers need stable wage increases, not unequal and disappearing enticements.

Steven Koll

Arlington, Va.

Can elderly driver control the students?

Am I the only one troubled by news that a Baltimore County public schools bus driver is 81 years old ("Noise kept bus driver from knowing of boy's fall," Sept. 9)?

Children often do not realize the dangerous situations they create. And one certainly might expect middle school students to be rowdy on a school bus when the only adult on board is an elderly person preoccupied with driving.

A second person, even a parent volunteer, could very well be needed to keep these kids under control and safe.

Elizabeth H. Lehmann


Distorting content of AIDS regulations

As a scientist and a urologist who has treated patients suffering from HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, I agreed with the opening premise of the column by Thomas J. Coates: "Science rises or falls on integrity" ("Science, not religion, must guide health policy" (Opinion

Commentary, Sept. 10). That is why I was so disturbed by his gross misrepresentations of facts.

Dr. Coates stated that the June 16 Federal Register required "censoring of any government-funded content that is even vaguely `sexually suggestive'" and "all materials include information on the lack of effectiveness of condoms."

But what does the Federal Register really say?

It says that "educational sessions should not include activities in which attendees participate in sexually suggestive physical contact or actual sexual practices" and that "educational materials" shall "contain medically accurate information regarding the effectiveness or lack of effectiveness of condoms in preventing the sexually transmitted disease."

Dr. Coates also fails to mention that the ABC program - abstinence before marriage, being faithful to one partner, and then condoms only if A and B are not practiced - instituted in Uganda reduced the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in that country from 15 percent of the population in 1991 to 5 percent in 2001, a 66 percent drop.

Dr. Toby Chai


The writer is a professor in the division of urology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

GOP scare tactics belie Bush's record

President Franklin D. Roosevelt once proclaimed, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

In the current presidential campaign, Americans can point to any number of Republican spokespersons, especially Vice President Dick Cheney, and proclaim, "The only thing we have to fear is the fear-mongering Republican Party" ("GOP's new theme: `Vote for Us or Die,'" Opinion

Commentary, Sept. 13)

Not satisfied with their campaign of lies, distortions, evasions and patriotic posturing, they resort to spreading fear of more attacks on American soil that only they can prevent.

But I believe the 9/11 attacks came during the Bush administration.

Henry Stern


Kittleman's shoes will be hard to fill

How do you pay the proper homage to a man who not only worked tirelessly to bring a two-party government back to Maryland but did it with honesty and integrity ("Kittleman remembered by colleagues, friends as builder of Republican Party," Sept. 13)?

State Sen. Robert H. Kittleman was a man of quiet strength and confidence with strong convictions and beliefs.

He spent years pushing for education reform, accountability in government and equal rights for all. He believed in limited government and reform of the welfare state.

He believed that government had a responsibility to help the disabled but should empower those who were able to help themselves. He believed in personal responsibility and accountability.

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