Letters To The Editor


July 22, 2008

Early education still short of funds

I am pleased that education officials cited investments in early childhood education as one of the factors contributing to recent improvements in math and reading scores in Maryland schools. However, I respectfully take issue with The Sun's suggestion that the state has "poured" additional money into early education ("Test scores rise," July 15).

Although there have been important funding increases for several programs, most major components of early childhood education continue to be substantially under-funded.

For example, public prekindergarten programs - which have a proven record of preparing children to succeed in school - are funded only for children from very low-income families.

Other states are far ahead of Maryland in recognizing the long-term benefits of such investment and in implementing plans to offer public prekindergarten to all children.

Other major components of early childhood education in Maryland are also underfunded, including child care resource centers, family support centers and the state's child care subsidy program.

All of these play an important role in preparing children to enter school ready to succeed and to achieve continued improvements in test scores. Yet they all need increased funding to achieve their full potential.

I urge state legislators to pass a budget for fiscal year 2010 that expands the early childhood education programs that are proved to contribute to school readiness and successful academic outcomes.

Steve Rohde, Baltimore

The writer is acting executive director of the Maryland Committee for Children.

Night life already disrupts the city

I think it is unfortunate that some city leaders want to liberalize the rules regarding live entertainment in bars and restaurants when the city has shown that it can't adequately regulate the night life it already has or protect residents who live near such venues from noise, trash and occasional violence ("Night life focus of bill," July 21).

Let's not lose sight of the fact that these entertainment venues are often mixed into residential neighborhoods where residents have made substantial investment in their homes, and that the spillover from such venues is obnoxious to neighborhood residents, who often complain to no avail.

Consider, for instance, the plethora of clubs that have sprung up on Boston Street among residential developments.

Neighborhood complaints about noise, drunken patrons and blocked access to homes fall on deaf ears.

The city needs to place these entertainment venues in areas where residences will not be affected by the noise, parking and worse that they generate or to create a law with teeth regarding noise and other infractions that can be swiftly enforced.

I think city leaders should ask whether it's the residents who want this ordinance or a few bar owners - and try to protect the residents rather than the bar owners or the visitors from outside the city.

Jim Astrachan, Baltimore

Different speeds pose real threat

After reading Michael Dresser's column "Fast talk from a highway expert" (July 21) in which he cites the thoughts of Tom Hicks, State Highway Administration chief safety engineer, on speed limits, I thought: How refreshing to hear someone talk sense.

What I found upsetting is the response from SHA spokesman Dave Buck, who states, "He was speaking from an engineering perspective, not a policy perspective."

I have some questions for Mr. Buck: Why is policy not determined by sound engineering data? And what is current policy based on if not such objective data?

Those who have spent any part of their lives driving the highways know intuitively that the greatest speed danger is from those who do not match the general speed of other cars on the road.

Whether they drive faster or slower than the other cars, the danger is much the same.

And that is true regardless of the posted speed limits.

Alfred W. Gillette, Baltimore

Raising taxes raises revenue

I get a kick from readers who wish to perpetuate the legend that a cut in taxes and tax rates will lead to revenue increases, as it supposedly did under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush ("Cutting taxes raises revenue," letters, July 15).

To my knowledge, no responsible economist will support this kind of voodoo economics.

And if such claims were true, how is that budget deficits and federal debt rose drastically under those two presidents and fell under President Bill Clinton, who gave us a budget surplus after he correctly raised taxes on wealthy Americans?

Jack Kinstlinger, Baltimore

Conservatism is GOP 'brand'

David E. Johnson and Holly Robichaud argue that voters rejected the Republican "brand," not conservative ideals, in the 2006 elections ("Hold on, GOP," Commentary, July 16). I strongly disagree.

Today's Republican "brand" consists solely of these conservative ideals, and it is these ideals that were rejected.

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