August 26, 2008

Expect all students to respect teachers

I was frustrated by the stance taken by Donna Ford of Vanderbilt University, who argues in effect that the solution to the problem of student violence against Baltimore teachers is to pander to students' inflated sense of entitlement ("Respect called key to school safety," Aug 21).

When did it become acceptable for a teacher to be required to earn a student's respect before receiving respect in kind?

Teachers and students are not peers. It is imperative to the functioning of a free society that people holding positions of authority (i.e., teachers and police officers) are given the respect due someone in their position.

Ms. Ford rationalizes that the students "do not revere teachers" and "have an attitude that says, 'When you respect me, I will respect you.'"

I reject the notion that massaging adolescents' bloated egos should be required to maintain order.

By legitimizing the expectation of not-yet-earned respect on the part of the students, Ms. Ford shows herself to be nothing more than one more pandering part of the problem.

Paul Terrill, Baltimore

Information technology can curb cost of care

The column "Give Marylanders benefits of health information technology" (Commentary, Aug. 18) provides a real-world look at how our health care system can benefit by making better use of information technology.

While such innovations do require an upfront investment, the long-term benefits in money saved and, more important, in lives saved definitely make up for the initial costs.

According to a study by the Center for Patient Safety, an ongoing e-prescription pilot program prevented more than 700 potential drug errors (interactions and allergies) and saved approximately $630,000 in 2007 alone.

The American College of Cardiology advocated language included in a recent Medicare bill that will make e-prescribing a more common practice.

I am glad to see that members of the Baltimore community see the need for greater use of information technology in health care.

Through electronic medical records and other advances with health information technology, we can prevent errors, provide the latest evidence-based care and save lives.

Dr. Jack Lewin, Washington

The writer is CEO of the American College of Cardiology.

Sen. Biden's experience makes him right choice

I applaud Sen. Barack Obama for selecting Sen. Joe Biden to be his running mate ("Running mate," Aug 24).

Mr. Biden has been widely praised for being a leader in international affairs for years, even decades.

Equally important, he has a genuine grasp of what ordinary Americans face. He came from a working-class upbringing in Scranton, Pa., and he still commutes from Washington to his home in Delaware.

For the reasons above and others, I have confidence that he will be a great candidate and if elected will a great vice president.

Steven M. Clayton, Ocean, N.J.

Educating the voters in misuse of funds?

When the state lottery was sold to Marylanders in 1973, the funds were to be used for education. Since that time, lottery funds have supported educational initiatives such as sports stadiums for rich jocks.

Now we have a ballot proposal to legalize slots - one that says that the proceeds will benefit education ("Slots ballot wording is criticized," Aug. 19).

The only educational benefit I believe will come from such a proposal is the continuing education of Maryland voters that elected officials are not to be believed about how they will use money.

Larry Johnston, Hereford

World-class city owes Phelps a big parade

Around the United States and across the world, Michael Phelps is known as being from Baltimore. In addition to the celebration planned in Towson, the city of Baltimore can and should host a parade for him ("A hero's welcome, a new life in fame," Aug. 24).

We should offer world-class city honors for a world-class Olympic athlete.

Francis J. Gorman, Baltimore

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