Catholic Schools: Demanding, Accountable
Edd Doerr's letter of Nov. 8 on invalid school vouchers failed to focus on the real issues.
It is not the intent of this response to be combative, but we must sift through what is fact and what is fiction. For too long, the arguments leveled against the Catholic schools' success have been predicated on misinformation, misperception and antiquated thinking.
Catholic schools have a long-standing tradition of accepting individuals who seek a viable alternative in education. We do not select only academically superior students. Such a concept is exclusive and elitist.
What Catholic schools do seek are those parents and students who are willing to be partners in an educational experience that is demanding, where expectations are high, and where accountability is mutually accepted.
The result is that those students who are exposed to our programs become academically successful, an outcome that outside observers and researchers such as the 1980 Coleman Study and 1990 studies by the Rand Corporation and Brookings Institution have documented.
The antediluvian premise that Catholic schools' partial success rests with the principal waving the scepter of expulsion is more fiction than fact. The expulsion of students is rarely used.
And if it is exercised, it must be done within the framework of a detailed process, and only as a last resort.
The major thrust is not to remove the child because of a problem, but to explore every avenue to correct the difficulty, whether it be academic or behavioral.
The real issue of the proponents for the voucher system, who seek the school choice option, is economic justice. We advocate that tax money for education should follow the child.
Our persistence in this cause is not to point a disparaging finger at our public schools. The Catholic schools do not want the public schools to fail.
Both systems have a common bond in educating children to be responsible, productive, effective and contributing members of society.
Both systems serve all members of their community and need to be solvent and secure. The stronger our educational systems become, the greater the benefit for our community and our nation.
We must move away from the mentality that a voucher to a child seeking a non-public education is a threat to democracy or to the public educational system.
What should be the major concern is that we want both the non-public and public schools to be successful. We cannot afford to lose even one child in either system.
This presents a challenge for us. It means a major shift in thinking. We have to move away from the political polemics, the smoke screens, the fear of entanglement, and the hidden bigotry.
The voucher is not only a means for achieving economic justice, but can be the catalyst for an exciting opportunity where collaboration can lead to a substantive movement in educational reform.
Ronald J. Valenti
The writer is superintendent of Catholic schools for the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
The writer of your Nov. 4 editorial, "Maryland Gamblers' Heaven," displayed his gross ignorance of the facts and Annotated Code of Maryland as it relates to legal slot machines in clubs on the Eastern Shore.
The State Police by law are not the controlling authority for legal slot machine revenue. If you knew the law as legislated, you would know the sheriff of each county is the controlling authority.
The law states that 50 percent of the metered revenue must be given to a non-profit charitable organization. It does not allow any variance of this fact.
The law states that the remainder of the revenue can be used "in furtherance of the objectives of the organization," as determined by the organization. There is only one limiting factor in fund distribution. The law states that no individual shall derive direct benefit from legal slot machine revenue.
There is no attempt to hide any information regarding revenue derived from legal slot machines.
The law requires that a report be sent to the state comptroller and a copy to the sheriff of the county. The report is signed by the principal officer of the organization, subject to penalty of perjury.
Maybe you should sign your editorials subject to penalty of perjury as to the accuracy of the information you publish.
I invite you to come to the Eastern Shore and query the sheriff of the various counties to determine if the law works or not.
I invite you to check the reports in the hands of the comptroller and call the charities to ascertain if they did receive the funds.
I challenge you to become educated in the law and the facts and then write another editorial of your findings based on truth and facts.
William D. McCallum
The writer is quartermaster of Meuse Post 194 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Dusko Doder's Nov. 10 article on the Macedonian question failed to address the heart of the controversy created by the Skopje regime's refusal to use a name reflecting its own ethnic heritage.
For Greeks, the name Macedonia (meaning "the highlands") does not simply recall the accomplishments of Aristotle and Alexander the Great and the first unification of the Greek nation, but also the enormous human sacrifice needed during six wars in the 20th Century to safeguard their nation's freedom.
Within the living memory of Macedonian Greeks, Skopje Slavs fought on the fascist side in World War II and aided Bulgarian Ohrana security units in the ethnic cleansing and colonization of Macedonian Greece.
With Nazi Germany's collapse, liberated Macedonia was attacked by Skopje Communists fighting with Tito, and tens of thousands more of our Greek allies lost their lives.
Aiming for the Greek port of Thessalonika (only 40 miles away), Skopje's leaders obtained Stalin's consent to annex Macedonian Greece.
But their ruse was exposed by U.S. Secretary of State Edward Stettinius as "unjustified demagoguery representing no ethnic . . . reality." Even Tito's first vice premier, Milan Grol, denounced Tito's fabrication of a "Macedonian" nation.
Clearly, the exploitation of the name "Macedonia" implies a territorial claim. Mr. Doder should consider the current platform of the majority party in Skopje, the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization, which calls for annexing Macedonian Greece or examine Skopje's new currency depicting Thessalonika as its future capital.
Sun staff writer Frank Somerville has done some very poor and incorrect reporting of the state convention of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/ Delaware, held in Silver Spring on Nov. 9 and 10.
He stated one resolution responded to controversy over a Baptist Church ceremony in North Carolina involving a same-sex ceremony. He also stated there was censure of another North Carolina congregation for licensing a homosexual minister.
I attended this convention as a messenger from my local church, sat in all sessions and voted on all resolutions and motions. Not once was North Carolina mentioned nor any comments made concerning those items reported by Mr. Somerville.
As regarding the election of president, two candidates, Otis Doherty and Howard Edmonson, were nominated. There was no "electioneering" or comments made from anyone once these men were nominated. A closed ballot vote was made which was orderly and without incident.
Yet Mr. Somerville stated one candidate was backed by "moderates" while the other was backed by "conservatives."
We as Baptists may have some disagreements within our own house but we do not need outside prodding by false statements such as made by Mr. Somerville.
Wm. C. Moch
Politics Not Tiddlywinks
You omitted some considerations from your editorial of Nov. 14 defending Gov. William Donald Schaefer's public endorsement of George Bush's re-election.
Of course he has a right to follow his own "conscience and feelings." But, surely, those of us who worked hard for good reason to defeat George Bush are entitled to be outraged that someone in his position let himself be used to undermine our efforts.
Although the views I here express are strictly my own, I am an elected member of the Howard County Democratic State Central Committee. If one of us did what Governor Schaefer did, our ouster would be near-automatic. But my concern in this matter is with partisanship.
Consider what George Bush stands for and where we would be if the Bush-Schaefer gambit had succeeded.
Harry Blackmun said it. At 84, he cannot stay on the Supreme Court much longer. With our civil liberties on the cliff and about to fall off, would you want to see Justice Blackmun and other possible retirees from our court of last resort replaced by right-wing ideologues like William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia or Clarence Thomas? Make no mistake about it; the gang behind George Bush and Dan Quayle would.
It's not only abortion rights that a Rehnquist-dominated court would nullify. By the time the super-moralistic majority on the court got through doing its damage, the Bill of Rights would not be worth the paper it's written on.
Our rights would be restricted to whatever pleases or doesn't offend a majority of our neighbors. Those of us who really care about freedom of expression, equal rights for all, and separation of church and state could just forget it for a long time into the future.
George Bush may be a nice man personally, but about all he can think about domestically is more tax breaks for people in his financial category.
While the budget deficit sparked largely by his predecessor's tax breaks grows ever worse, has Mr. Bush really done anything for the economy that deserves praise from those of us who are not rich?
I hope you get the idea. It matters very much who is our president. If William Donald Schaefer or anyone else wants to publicly endorse the likes of George Bush, they'd better be prepared to be criticized by people for whom politics isn't tiddlywinks.
Even before the governor's outrageous action, I favored permitting the citizenry to petition for recall of those elected officials for whom they had lost respect. I favor it even more now.
Kenneth A. Stevens