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Single-sex schools no solution"Separate but equal" institutions...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Single-sex schools no solution

"Separate but equal" institutions were once seen as the answer to race relations in the United States. Today, most people see this as no solution at all. The same sort of illogic applies when some educators, citing statistics that young women do better in single-sex schools, use these statistics to advocate single-sex education.

I'm not surprised that both girls and boys do better in schools with only girls, or boys; that in both cases the children feel more comfortable about speaking up, that some questions about teacher favoritism are eliminated. But are these reasons to embrace non-coed classrooms? Shouldn't educators work to eliminate the problems?

Single-sex education only postpones the day when, for better or worse, these girls and boys become the women and men who must live, work, marry, raise families -- in short, coexist in the real world together. Statistics on rape, sexual harassment and divorce suggest we don't do this very well. They suggest a world full of confused, frustrated, angry men and women who can't communicate.

Single-sex classrooms don't hold the answer, they just illustrate the problem. I would urge educators to take another, longer, more thoughtful look at the questions surrounding coed versus single-sex education.

Susan Walsh

Baltimore

Firing pins

I sincerely hope that after due consideration the Baltimore City Council rejects Councilman Tony Ambridge's farcical attempt at controlling the honest citizen's access to firearms. I refer to Mr. Ambridge's proposed firing pin removal bill.

Mr. Ambridge's solution to any sort of crime problem is immediately to blame it on someone other than the criminal element.

The obvious answer to the problem is more effective use of police resources, tougher sentences for violent criminals, curtailment of liberal bail procedures and other measures designed to get tough on criminals. Mr. Ambridge proposes measures to make it tough on honest gun dealers and their customers.

Richard Lyons

Chase

Death with dignity

Death is a painful subject to talk about, yet is a fact of life. Hospitals are now required to inform patients of their rights regarding living wills and related options upon admission. The living will is not, however, the panacea the general public thinks it is. The living will still leaves a large gap unfilled.

Health insurance companies and physicians are both ignoring an important responsibility they owe to the patient upon discharge. If a terminally ill patient is to be discharged, the patient and his family have a right to know all of their options.

I am referring to true death with dignity. Hospice care provides a way for the patient to face death with dignity; not alone, but in the comfort and support of his own home with the ones he loves.

The family need not shoulder the tremendous burden alone. A tremendous dilemma is created by carrying out the patient's wishes and at the same time watching him slip away. The family will receive fantastic, caring support from a staff of mostly volunteers.

Hospitals continue to shun this aspect of patient care. A hospice consultation should be provided prior to discharge of the terminally ill patient. Hospice staff will follow up on the patient with home visits.

Far too often, guilt-ridden families summon help for an unconscious terminal patient and then are disappointed by the level of care provided. Often, the patient was to be registered "next week." This tragedy could be headed off if the patient were registered prior to discharge. An unconscious patient provides implied consent for treatment. People do not realize that there is an alternative. Your local hospice branch would be glad to talk to you.

Steve Childers

Aberdeen

The writer is a paramedic with the Anne Arundel County Fire Department.

Dennis who?

Betcha the previous Baltimore County executive -- you know, the one with the monogrammed shirts and the used Lincoln -- now looks better to:

* Ed Veit, president, Teachers Association of Baltimore County.

* Robert Dubel, school superintendent.

* Morris Barrett, president, Baltimore County Classified Employees Association.

* John O'Neill, Maryland Taxpayers Association.

* Fire Chief Elwood Bannister.

* Homeowners connected to public sewers when they find that the average flush will cost them $48 a year.

Robert S. Knatz Jr.

Reisterstown

Great lady

Fifty years ago, in a far-off place, a great lady died heroically, fighting to the end.

This magnificent lady of steel and guns, of men and planes -- The U.S.S. Lexington (CV-2) -- was known by her crew as the "Lady Lexington," a gallant aircraft carrier whose exploits are legendary.

At Salamua and Lae, she delivered a stunning blow to her adversary by sinking many ships. At Rabaul, she knocked out of the sky 18 bombers, and at her final and decisive battle in the Coral Sea signaled a new kind of warfare, a turning point like the fight between the Monitor and Merrimac. She went down fighting, but not until she had broken her enemy's power.

Her grave is unmarked in that far-off place, and she holds in her bosom 174 of her sons who died with her. She indeed earned her

"well done."

Henry Fuggi

Baltimore

Under questioning, Perot trial balloon bursts

Is the presidency of the United States for sale?

We may find out soon, as a diminutive Texas billionaire contemplates digging into his deep pockets and pulling out $100 million to answer a call that began as an afterthought on a television talk show. It sounds like a movie-of-the-week plot. It would be amusing if it were not happening today.

A phenomenon by the name of H. Ross Perot is sweeping the country as millions of Americans seek to vent their frustrations with government by looking to this outsider from Texas who talks tough, acts tough and is willing to accept a draft for president.

Had enough of those Americans watched a recent interview with their hero by David Frost, Mr. Perot's trial balloon would have come crashing to the ground.

No one can take anything away from Mr. Perot's business acumen. He is an example of the American dream. He found a need and filled it and along the way became extremely rich through government contracts. He appears to be an honest man, a devoted husband, patriotic to a fault and someone who believes that success comes with responsibilities to one's community.

But under questioning from David Frost, Mr. Perot showed only that he is a master of the cliche, not someone prepared to lead the most important country in the world. For a man who holds politicians in disdain, Mr. Perot demonstrated a remarkable ability to fill a politician's shoes by dancing around most of the serious questions put to him by the host.

When Mr. Frost persisted with a question, Mr. Perot revealed that thin skin which has been ascribed to his nature. It raised serious doubts about his abilities to deal diplomatically with leaders of the world.

And what were some of his solutions to solving the economy? Collect taxes from the underground economy. Hmmm, it seems that was a Michael Dukakis program.

Force our allies to pay us $200 billion a year for "protection." Al Capone would have loved that.

Enact a "line item veto" -- something presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Bush have tried to get from a Democrat Congress.

Mr. Perot's folksy mannerisms have so far covered up for his lack of detail. After all, he says, this movement just began a few weeks ago. They have covered up some of his eccentricities such as "white-shirted-males-only need apply for executive positions." And they have covered up some of his political wheeling and dealing, like hiring a cadre of lobbyists to sneak through a tax exemption at a late-night meeting of a congressional committee, which benefited one person -- H. Ross Perot -- to the tune of $15 million.

Mr. Perot claims that he will spend twice what George Bush or Bill Clinton are allowed by law: $100 million or more. No matter who the person is, that amount of money will have a dramatic impact on the outcome of a presidential race.

Who knows, if he's successful, maybe in four years Steven Spielberg will tire of making blockbuster movies and spend $300 million of his vast fortune to run for president so he can control the real Star Wars.

And, perhaps in 12 years a grown-up Michael Jackson will want to make androgyny the official policy of the government, so he spends $500 million of his billion-dollar contract with Sony to become the first Japanese-controlled, rich, black president.

& Where will it all end?

Alex Ray

Cordova

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