Private SchoolsTheo Lippman's Sept. 13 column states...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Private Schools

Theo Lippman's Sept. 13 column states that vouchers would subsidize well-to-do parents who send their children to private schools.

Some figures about parents who send their children to private schools:

* The parents of one of every three children, or 1.75 million, in private schools earn less than $35,000, which approximates the median income in the United States.

* One of every 10 children, or 575,000, in private schools have parents who earn less than $25,000.

* One of every 16 children, or 370,000, in private schools have parents who earn less than $15,000.

* Roughly six of 10 children in private schools have parents who earn less than $50,000.

The profile described above isn't one of well-to-do parents sending their children to private schools.

One of the difficulties regarding the debate about vouchers is to agree on the issue. It is not about rich and poor, or about poor schools, it is about parental choice.

A recent Gallup Poll shows that 70 percent of those surveyed agree that is the issue and think that parents should have a choice between public and private schools.

Mr. Lippman also criticizes the $2,600 voucher figure in California. For a surprising number of private schools, that figure is sufficient.

It is more than enough for elementary schools and not enough for high schools. One improvement might be to have a two-tiered voucher system, which would approximate the $2,600 but would make amounts fit the level of schooling.

A credit system might also be developed where parents could "bank" the difference between the voucher amount and the cost of their children's education in elementary school, and use the savings to supplement the voucher in later years.

School choice is about empowering parents, strengthening families and expanding freedom. The opponents of choice argue that we need to keep children in public schools to instill common values. That socialization argument makes me, and I'm sure many others, uneasy.

Herm Schmidt

Bradshaw

Brutally Violated

I have never been so deeply disturbed by your letters as I was by the Sept. 29 letter written by Sally Byrne of Fulton.

I felt compelled to write my own letter, even though I sincerely doubt that my opinion would sway anyone as narrow-minded as Ms. Byrne. How dare she place "huggers" in the same category as a child molester?

A child who has been sexually molested has been brutally violated and not just "patted on the shoulder." "Huggers" are reaching out for affection, not sex. There is a difference.

If the writer had ever lived through the pain and helpless rage experienced during an investigation of a child molester falsely accused, maybe she would have never voiced such senseless opinion.

Karen Colosino

Dundalk

Mystery

I usually read Cal Thomas' columns for comic relief, but his offering "A Feminist Ms. Take" (Sept. 24) was truly absurd.

His gloating assertion that most women still want to stay at home and clean house, that feminism is solely responsible for the disintegration of the family and (ugliest of all) that all feminists desire both a divorce and an abortion as some sort of notch on their gun handles was a new low, even for Thomas.

His grumblings remind me of the white slaveholders after the Civil War who, fearful of losing their selfish way of life, insisted, "But these Negroes loved their masters, they don't want to be free, they won't know what to do with freedom, what jobs will they be suited for?"

As usual, Thomas misses the point of the feminist movement: It does not wish to force women to leave their homes and take up careers. It only says they should feel free to do so if they wish.

I can understand why Thomas feels threatened by this position. But for the life of me I cannot understand why he finds it unreasonable.

I suppose that as long as people read it, you must keep running his column. But why anyone would take him seriously is to me a "Mr.-y."

Mary Shoemaker

Towson

Drug Dealer Report Raises Further Questions

Your two-part series, "An Epidemic of Murder" (Sept. 12-13), about drug dealers in northeast Baltimore, was fascinating, shocking and depressing. It was also well written and informative, but some extremely important information was omitted.

If these kids are making so much profit from the drug trade, where is the money coming from?

There was also almost no information in either article about who their customers were. It was mentioned that business is brisk on the day that welfare checks come out. But it is hard to believe that welfare is the major source of such wealth.

Are the customers driving in from the suburbs? The statement that there have been 83 murders since 1988, and all of the victims were black, suggests that the white customers may be protected from harm by the dealers.

I would like to see an additional article focus on who is buying all this cocaine and heroin.

It would also be interesting to see a discussion of what the impact on the drug trade would be if these tough guys didn't have so much firepower.

Taking the guns away would be a daunting task, opposed not only by the gangs but also by the National Rifle Association. It should not be impossible, however. These are mostly young kids, after all.

Bruce Rollier

Ellicott City

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Thanks to The Sun and reporter Scott Shane for the front-page special report, "An Epidemic of Murder."

The article reported "a shooting per week and a murder every three weeks since 1988" in the black neighborhood around Park Heights and Woodland avenues, the "traditional epicenter of the neighborhood's drug market."

The photo shows a pay phone at Park Heights and Virginia avenues to which "a former drug crew chief calls regularly from prison to catch up on the news." Why prisoners have phones with which to conduct socially destructive business is another question.

This special report makes no mention of the fact that 70 percent of all drugs are used by white-collar white customers who buy in the inner city black markets for use in the suburbs,

No mention is made of the cash businesses (banks, car dealerships, insurance companies, real estate companies, etc.) whose job is to launder the millions of dollars derived from the drug trade, allowing this money to be put into circulation.

Del. Delores Kelley, D-42nd, introduced a bill in the General Assembly that would have revoked the license of any business in Maryland that launders money. It was killed in committee.

Yes, Maryland also has the system of preventing inconvenient, embarrassing, or otherwise unacceptable suggestions for legislation from ever seeing the light of day.

There's a reason why justice is non-existent and it's not all black and white.

Elizabeth Ward Nottrodt

Baltimore

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