School ChoiceI read with great interest the...

School Choice

I read with great interest the results of several studies regarding school choice and the response of parents whose children are involved in school systems currently utilizing some form of school choice program.


Your article (Oct. 26) seems to indicate a negative reaction to school choice based primarily on family participation in the program.

I do not believe participation should be the determining factor. As with any controversial new program, it takes time to see results. . .


Several points were made in your article regarding the parents' reasons for choosing a different school. Factors such as safety concerns, smaller class size and being closer to home were cited as the "non-academic" reasons.

Imagine that! Placing children in a safer environment, free from the worries of violence so they can concentrate on their studies. A smaller class size so they can receive more personalized attention. And being closer to home so their parents can more easily participate in after-school activities such as PTA and children can stay after for sports or additional tutoring.

I will concede that any new program of this magnitude will have its problems. New concepts need time for adjustment and improvement.

One thing seems certain. Our inner city schools are generally in shambles, and something needs to be done.

Until I see a better program put in place, I will support President Bush's voucher proposal for educational choice.

William A. Thies Jr.


Episcopal Church


I write simply to respond to one of my colleagues who responded to Frank Somerville's Sept. 20 article regarding Episcopalians and Roman Catholics. I am always amused by those who damn by faint praise reputable colleagues adding that there is more to the whole story than we are told.

The Rev. Philip Burwell Roulette (letter, Oct. 24) seems to do just that. He would, under the aegis of the whole story, want us to believe that the resolution concerning Jesus Christ as the way, the truth and the life, going down to defeat on the floor of the diocesan convention this past May, is part of the whole fabric of truth and morals that is unraveling this very moment.

Let me amuse you by telling you more of the whole story. The fact remains that such theological resolutions are beyond the competency of annual diocesan conventions.

Theological debate and affirmations are left to the general convention of the national church, which meets every three years. Once many of us understood this fact, our vote had, in essence, the force of tabling the motion.

Furthermore, we as a church or clergy do not need a resolution to proclaim our unique Christian truth. Unique, of course, means one-of-a-kind. As a liberal clergyman living in a pluralistic culture, I also know that there are many ones-of-a-kind.

As a believer, I need to remind Mr. Roulette that it is not more biblical or theological grounding or more creeds that we need. I am not afraid to speak out to tell him and others that it is the experience of the living Christ that many of my colleagues need, not more theological formulation.


Perhaps he and others, lay and cleric alike, would join our bishops as they attempt to present an intelligible gospel enlivened by our Lord, Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

Rev. Thomas L. Culbertson


The writer is rector of Emmanuel Episcopal Church.

Judging by a Few

Did you catch the irony?


On Oct. 24, you published two vitriolic letters condemning as immoral and evil the lives of millions of gay men and lesbians, because they are homosexual.

In the same issue, there appeared three stories detailing these events:

* The rape of a 12-year-old girl by an Annapolis man.

* The abduction of a woman in Southwest Baltimore who was forced to perform oral sex on her kidnapper.

* The conviction of a Laurel man for forcing an 11-year-old girl to engage in sado-masochistic sex games with him.

From the evidence in your paper, the problems of sexual deviance and perversity are rampant among heterosexuals -- or should I not presume to judge all heterosexual conduct by the aberrant, abhorrent behavior of a few?


Garey Lambert


No Compromise

What has transpired during the most recent rounds of the Middle East peace talks -- specifically since the election of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin -- has been anything but compromise, if you accept the dictionary definition of compromise as "a settlement in which each side makes concessions."

Painfully clear in the peace talks is that concessions have been made only by Israelis.

Since taking office, Prime Minister Rabin has taken several significant steps to show Israeli willingness to compromise for peace.


Among these unilateral steps have been: the halting of most settlement activity in the occupied territories; repealing the law which forbade private contact with representatives of the Palestine Liberation Organization; ending the deportation policies for Palestinians found guilty of Israeli attacks, as well as the freeing of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners; acceptance of diaspora Palestinians in multilateral talks; ending government subsidies for Jewish housing in the Muslim section of East Jerusalem and an attempt to return to Arab owners homes now occupied by Jewish families; allowing publication of new Palestinian magazines and Palestinian "cultural" events to take place.

Perhaps most important was Mr. Rabin's publicly stated desire for a quick autonomy agreement that would also allow for democratic elections in the territories.

And what concession have the Palestinians made? To date, they have taken the same hard-line positions as when Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir was in office.

They insisted he did not know the meaning of compromise. Repeatedly, the Palestinians have referred to Israeli gestures as trivial and meaningless. And Palestinian violence continues unabated, against their own people as well as against Israelis.

It is time to judge realistically the progress of the peace talks, or lack thereof. We can only hope that the Palestinians will look up "compromise" in their own dictionaries and bring its meaning to the negotiating table in the near future.

Over the years, the Palestinians have maintained an unblemished record of missing every serious opportunity for compromise and progress.


Their clinging to maximalist positions has led their people nowhere.

It is high time for that sorry record to end, and for the peace process to move forward.

Alfred R. Himmelrich Jr.


The writer is chairman of the Baltimore chapter of the American Jewish Committee.

Too Much Money


Your Oct. 16 article on the retirement package for Carl Sardegna, chief executive of Blue Cross/Blue Shield, points out the obscenity of today's health care situation -- directors and executives of insurance companies lining their pockets at the expense of the public while pricing health care beyond the reach of too many citizens.

For this situation to exist at a so-called non-profit company like Blue Cross/Blue Shield is more than unconscionable, it is an atrocity and should not be tolerated. Heretofore, I have always disparaged the greed of some doctors; they, at least, do the healing.

Nothing short of transplant surgery that Carl Sardegna (not to mention the 40 Blues employees earning more than $100,000) could possibly be doing at this "non-profit" entity merits such an obscene salary and retirement package.

Our next president certainly has his work cut out for him.

Sunny V. Robinson