Greater effort needed to beat breast cancerEnough...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Greater effort needed to beat breast cancer

Enough is enough. Those were the last words I heard Sherry Kohlenberg say at the kickoff rally for the National Breast Cancer Coalition's petition-drive for more funding.

Now she is gone. How many more women have to die before the powers that be wake up and realize that there is a serious national epidemic?

Forty-six thousand women will die of this horrible disease, and another 182,000 will hear the awful words, "You have breast cancer." I was one of those women back in December 1991. But I refuse to be one of the 46,000.

What do we need? We need money and lots of it. We need a more diverse group of scientists and doctors involved -- we are not getting closer to a cure and time is of the essence.

We need legislation to allow every woman to have the right to mammograms and medical care, whether she can afford it or not. We need Congress to stop dragging its feet and get this money flowing.

Enough is enough! Do you want your mother, wife, daughter or sister to be afflicted? Your voice needs to be heard -- let your congressperson know how you feel. You can make a difference.

Terry Weiner Kerr

Randallstown

School interests

Over the past year, I have read many articles, editorials and letters to the editor concerning Baltimore County School Superintendent Stuart Berger.

Contrary to what many believe, not all parents are anti-Berger. In fact, there are some of us who believe Dr. Berger to be an extremely intelligent man who has the children's best interests at heart.

True, he is, by his own admission, quick to argue and quick to debate. He also lacks patience with anyone who does not comprehend what to him is crystal clear. These personality traits are the mark of a strong-minded individual, but apparently they have caused many to view him as intellectually arrogant and unapproachable.

That is truly unfortunate, and it is my hope that Dr. Berger will work toward communicating with the general public in a more accessible manner and style.

I believe that if the public understands Dr. Berger's commitment to our children's education they will rally behind his proposed programs.

Then we can move forward together, creating an educational system that prepares all of our children -- from gifted and talented to special needs -- for the future.

Susan Hughes Gray

Towson

Toronto boos back

I have always considered the baseball fans in Baltimore to be the epitome of graciousness and hospitality. When the Orioles slumped so badly for so many years, fan loyalty ran high. My respect was profound.

The Orioles were one of my favorite teams in the majors. Gumption, tenacity and bravery were traits demonstrated by players and fans alike. Today, they must be as ashamed as I am at the crude and boorish behavior that so many fans exhibited at the All-Star Game.

Rarely does one hear such unsportsmanlike behavior, except JTC maybe in New York. But you expect it from New York. They treat everyone with disrespect.

This tells me one thing: Americans are sore losers. Booing the Jays was a cheap, petty and small act.

It was bad enough having to listen to Geddy Lee, that Guthrie- esque '60s has-been, crawl through the most horrendous version of "Oh Canada" I've ever heard. But to counterpoint it with James Earl Jones, a choir and fireworks -- why bother singing our national anthem at all? The envy and jealousy were sickening.

In Toronto, we gave all players a fabulous welcome during the 1991 All-Star Game.

And after the many gross insults we Canadians and Toronto Blue Jays had to endure during the World Series, we took it on the chin and didn't respond in kind, even when you hung our flag upside down and your president had to apologize to us.

In days and years past, one rarely heard booing at a Jays game.

I guess those days are over. It is true, the best fans in all of major league baseball are Blue Jays fans, sportsmanlike, polite and, unlike those of most teams, plentiful.

I guess we just do it better in Canada, and we don't need to brag and boast about how good we are, like yahoos south of the border.

We just go out and do it. Those who can, do; those who can't, boo.

Valerie Murray

Toronto

Inclusion itself isn't the problem

I am writing in response to a letter from Michael L. Sanow (July 5), who stated in part, "Unless we are all ready to sit down with each other and realize that we are part of this community and this society, we may really have the chaos that so many already believe we have."

How can we do that when the school board refuses to answer our questions or give us any real information?

How can we have any type of conversation with a superintendent and school board who refused to acknowledge our existence until they were ordered by the county executive to listen to us?

Do they really believe that if they ignore us long enough we will disappear, when our children's futures are at stake?

I am sure many people are tired of hearing about "inclusion," but perhaps these people have not been lied to by representatives of the school board as so many parents of special education children have.

I first heard of "inclusion" at a PTA meeting at White Oak School in April. The parents who attended that meeting were told that several programs were going to be tested in the 1993-94 school year and those programs would be evaluated, changed where (( necessary and expanded the following year.

We were told that no child would be moved from the school he or she currently attends without the consent of the parents, and we were told that if, after being moved to an inclusionary setting, our children were not making the progress we felt they should we would have the option of returning them to their previous schools.

I came away from that meeting almost as enthusiastic about "inclusion" as the school board representative who spoke that evening. I thought it would be great for my son to have the opportunity to spend time with children his own age, who did not have learning disabilities, on a daily basis and still receive the special education benefits that his learning disability demands.

I had often wondered what was going to prepare him for life in the real world if he spent his first 18 years sheltered in a special school. I accused the parents who objected to the idea of being afraid of change without caring whether the change was beneficial or not.

I said they would change their minds when these programs were shown to help learning disabled youngsters better adapt to society in general.

I changed my mind when I found out that the programs being tested were a figment of someone's imagination, that parents had virtually no say in what type of program their children would be placed in (primarily because the school board was not sure itself, as late as the end of April 1993, what programs would be available when school started in September).

I changed my mind when I talked to parents whose children needed small class size and various other support services when they were evaluated in February or March of 1993 but had made such miraculous progress by June that special education was no longer necessary for them.

I changed my mind when the school board and the school superintendent refused to answer any questions we had and resorted to evasion instead of the solid answers that any citizen of this county deserves to his or her questions.

Most of all, I changed my mind when our school superintendent began treating parents with barely concealed contempt simply because we had the nerve to ask what was going to happen to our children next year, when he wasn't prepared to answer that question honestly.

I am still not totally against "inclusion." I still believe it could be a wonderful opportunity for many children.

I am simply against the way Superintendent Stuart Berger and the Baltimore County school board are handling "inclusion" in general, and the way they are not handling parents' questions and concerns.

Karen B. Titus

Baltimore

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