December 17, 2008

Adult education funding can jump-start renewal

The Maryland Association for Adult, Community and Continuing Education agrees with Erik Christiansen that education is vital to the future success of America and the state of Maryland ("More than just jobs," Commentary, Dec. 11).

The current economic crisis has given us all a chance to pause to consider what the true priorities should be for government spending.

Mr. Christiansen understands education's fundamental role and its significance in contributing to our economy: According to U.S. Census Bureau figures for 2005, workers 18 and over with a bachelor's degree earn an average of $51,206 a year; those without a high school diploma averaged $18,734.

Unfortunately, adult education and literacy programs (including GED test preparation, family literacy, English for immigrants and correctional education programs) are only briefly mentioned by Mr. Christiansen.

However, investing in adult education is a perfect place to jump-start our national, state and local initiatives for those in need of jobs, high school credentials, additional training and basic skill development.

Melinda Brown, Leonardtown

Todd Brown, Baltimore

The writers are, respectively, the president and the president-elect of the Maryland Association for Adult, Community and Continuing Education.

Building the ICC subsidizes sprawl

The Baltimore Sun's editorial "Responsible growth" (Dec. 7) is based on the premise that Gov. Martin O'Malley opposes sprawl while local governments support it. As evidence, the editorial cites the $72 million that Mr. O'Malley has devoted to land conservation in these hard fiscal times.

This argument would be more compelling if Mr. O'Malley wasn't simultaneously spending more than $2 billion to support sprawl.

Sprawl is the Intercounty Connector's middle name. And Mr. O'Malley bulldozes ahead with the ICC while the Purple Line and Corridor Cities Transitway projects remain unfunded.

Mr. O'Malley should indeed step up support for the Chesapeake Bay, rein in sprawl and support transit.

Once he has decided to do these things, the first step is easy: Stop the ICC.

Carl Henn, Rockville

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