Editor: How misleading! Joan Tyner's Perspectiv commentary, "Issue of Teacher Salaries Assumes New Scope" on March 24, although at times insightful, missed the mark because The Sun chose to insert a table of "State Teacher Salaries." This table represented the top of the pay scale in every county -- these are salaries teachers earn after having taught at least two generations of students.
Unfortunately, The Sun continues its "teachers and greed" slant,
but it ignores issues in education.
Edward W. Veit.
The writer is president of the Teachers Association of Baltimore County.
Editor: Joan Tyner's feature on teachers' salaries (March 24) gave an inflated picture of their compensation. Unfortunately the reality is not so generous.
The chart of salaries "for teachers with a master's degree plus 30 semester hours" failed to list the years of experience needed to qualify for the salaries shown. Teachers in Howard County, for example, cannot earn the $50,113 in the chart until after they have taught 24 years. At five years they earn only $32,811 with a master's plus 30.
To suggest that teachers may be overpaid belies the sad fact that the average salary paid teachers in Maryland is $36,319 even though 84 percent have taught more than 10 years, and 81 percent have at least a master's degree or equivalent.
Tyner also faults supposedly high-paid teachers because schools "fared poorly in the state's first annual performance rating last November." Schools will continue to fare poorly for reasons unrelated to teacher salaries because the State Board of Education has deliberately set its "standards" too high for the resources provided, so that schools will fail its "report cards" and feel pressure to improve.
It's like trying to raise mileage standards for cars without redesigning their engines.
Our schools need a fundamental restructuring with greatly increased staffing levels to end assembly-line learning and give students the personal attention they need to succeed.
It may not be "realistic" to talk about higher funding for schools in a recession, but neither is it realistic to talk about "reforming" our schools without first expanding their faculties to eliminate the crowd-control treatment of students.
Teachers are the program. To suggest that we can divert money away from teachers to expand the program betrays an ignorance of what goes on at school.
Jane R. Stern.
The writer is president of the Maryland State Teachers
Editor: The ongoing campaign, by your reporters an columnists, both in print and over the local airways, against Gov. William Donald Schaefer has raised some questions with me as to your intentions.
I am not a fan of Governor Schaefer, but your slant seems to indicate your perception of a growing imbalance in his behavior. Are you reporting on a medical condition or are you exacerbating the condition by reporting on it?
Was the governor's trip to Kuwait an affront to our legislature, or a real effort to bring much needed business to the port of Baltimore? Is Schaefer-bashing in vogue because of Governor Schaefer or because of The Sun? Please tell me what good is to come out of all this, because frankly, I don't see it.
Editor: There seems to be some concern by the Bus administration that the uprising in southern Iraq, with the support and encouragement of Iran, will gain ascendancy there and then institute the sort of radical theocracy that was responsible for the taking of the hostages in Teheran.
I don't know why they are so worried. There is a demonstrated solution at hand: befriend and re-arm Saddam Hussein to put them down.
Then after they have bloodied each other for a couple of years, declare Saddam Hussein to be a demon and send the airplanes back over Baghdad -- just in time to elect Dan Quayle as president in 1996.
, It worked before, didn't it?
F. de Sales Meyers.
Editor: Perhaps, as your editorial of March 25 suggests, close scrutiny of cables between the State Department and April Glaspie in Baghdad might clear up some confusion. But certainly, April Glaspie, the U.S. State Department and Saddam Hussein are just part of the problem.
Ms. Glaspie's inquisitors in the House might be included asignificant parts.
What hypocrisy of Rep. Lee Hamilton to question whether we sent a strong enough signal to Saddam. Mr. Hamilton and his ilk gave the best impersonation of jello imaginable during the hearings on the military option. If Saddam Hussein was fearful of U.S. action prior to his August invasion, Mr. Hamilton's impassioned plea for no military option laid those fears to rest. And Mr. Hamilton chides Ms. Glaspie? Had we followed Mr. Hamilton's lead, the systematic butchery and pillaging of Kuwait would still be going on.
And to Maryland Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Paul S. Sarbanes, I quote the comment from the returning soldier from the 82nd Airborne Division who, when asked about the protesters, said, "We don't care what you think."
Feeling Young Keeps Players Hitting Longer
Editor: It was with more than just a passing interest that I rea Dr. James Richardson's Perspective article, "Jim Palmer and the Physiology of Aging." Although I agree with most of what Dr. Richardson stated, I take exception to the contention that "the precise abilities needed by a pitcher . . . have not been studied. . ."
There is an enormous amount of published data from the biomechanics laboratory at the Centinela Hospital -- home of the prestigious Kerlan-Jobe Clinic -- as well as from Dr. Arthur Pappas of the University of Massachusetts which demonstrates the precise abilities, as well as the deficiencies, of baseball pitchers.
Through the work being carried out in those laboratories as well as in our biomechanics laboratory at the Bennett Institute of the Children's Hospital here in Baltimore, under the direction of Dr. Kevin Campbell, we are now able to measure all of the angular velocities of each part of the upper and lower extremity, as well as the trunk and pelvis, during pitching motion.
We can conclude the velocity and accuracy of a ball thrown by a pitcher are not necessarily related to his strength.
With regard to Dr. Richardson's reference to "studies of aging adults and the variation in the way different human beings age," I would like to touch on a study by John William Waterbor.
Dr. Waterbor made a presentation to the Association of Major League Baseball Physicians in 1988 entitled "The Mortality Experience of Major League Baseball Players." In a cohort of 985 white males who began playing professional baseball between 1911 and 1915, employment as a baseball player was found to confer a protective effect which diminished with duration of time. Length of career was found to be positively associated with age at death. Interestingly, in Dr. Waterbor's study infielders fared best and catchers worst.
Lastly, I am compelled to relate a recent anecdote relating to one of my older baseball-playing patients. This gentleman is now 73 years old and four years out from a coronary artery bypass. Additionally, he is still actively engaged in the practice of dentistry. His current goal in life is to be able to play baseball on a team in the 70-and-over World Series in Arizona.
After a diagnostic injection allowed him to throw momentarily free of pain, he enthused: "Gee, maybe I can make the All-Star team as a shortstop!"
This senior athlete's role model and hero isn't the subject of Dr. Richardson's article but rather a 98-year-old catcher on a similar team St. Augustine, Fla.
One's attitude and approach to the aging process is paramount. Perhaps it is best that those who are physically able not act their age.
Charles E. Silberstein, M.D.
The writer is medical director of the Bennett Institute of Sports and team physician of the Orioles.