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Hyde School: character comes firstBaltimore City School...

Hyde School: character comes first

Baltimore City School Superintendent Walter Amprey deserves our admiration for the courage and vision he is displaying regarding Patterson High School.

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By taking the bold and enlightened step of bringing in the Hyde Foundation, Dr. Amprey will be breaking away from an educational system that has failed our children.

As ex-Hyde parents, we can testify to the magnificent effectiveness of the Hyde approach.

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We will also tell you that the Hyde experience was crucial to the development of the strength of our family as a whole.

Hyde Foundation's entire philosophy rests on the knowledge gained through more than 30 years of experience at Hyde School: If you develop the character first, the academics will follow. Persons of integrity just naturally want to go after the best that is within them.

This may seem obvious when one thinks about it. The hard part, after gaining this insight, is having the courage to pursue the path that character development demands. It demands a commitment and an honesty on the part of teachers, administrators, parents, and children that we are not in the habit of expecting.

Bringing in the Hyde Foundation will mean that teachers, administrators, parents and children must all embrace a radical change.

In our experience with Hyde, we have learned that the children are the first to be willing to accept this and make the necessary commitment to their own future growth. They know when they are being cheated by a poor educational system.

We adults will have the hardest job. We will have to put aside our egos, our turf battles and the comfort of doing things the old way.

It takes courage to make such a change. It won't be easy, but if we truly care about our children, we must do it. We must do it now.

Kit and Glenn Brown

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Bel Air

Drug costs

I just added up my prescription drug bills for last year and was stunned at the total.

When I compared how much I spent last year with how much the year before, I was even more shocked. Prescription prices just keep going up.

Prescription drugs are a major health care expense for older adults in town, city, state and across the country.

But many insurance plans, including Medicare, don't pay for them. Medicare covers only drugs prescribed when the patient is in the hospital.

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This type of coverage is very important for Americans of all ages who have chronic health problems such as diabetes.

Fortunately, we have the opportunity to do something about it. We can tell our members of Congress that health care reform must include coverage for prescription drugs for everyone.

Erwin Karber

Baltimore

Shooting history

Recently passed gun control laws by the Maryland legislature have shot down "living history" programs in the public schools systems throughout the state.

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The legislative frenzy and haste to ban "the guns used in drug dealings, robberies and drive-by shooting" has also banned as teaching aids from the class room the historic weapons of the American Revolution and the Civil War.

Normally at this time each year we re-enactors and living history people are presenting dozens of programs in public schools throughout the state.

The present state law could make us all criminals, with the possibility of a $1,000 fine and a jail sentence of three years for merely taking our Revolutionary War flint-lock muskets and our Civil War percussion muskets to our lectures.

Some of us are still willing to face the risk of arrest if the school principal gives us a letter. When the principal attempts to clear it with the local police, the police inevitably issue the following statement: "Even though the weapons are historic, they are still illegal."

No principal would ever risk issuing a letter without police approval, hence no letter is ever sent.

In the recent session of the Maryland legislature, Del. Kevin Kelly, D-Allegany, sponsored a bill that would have "made exceptions for historians and re-enactors to take weapons on school property to be used as props in educational programs." The bill overwhelmingly passed the House, but fell victim to political maneuvering in the Senate and died.

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With the death of Delegate Kelly's bill and the feelings over gun control running at such feverish levels in Annapolis these days, it is doubtful that there will ever be an amendment to the present law, however worthwhile.

As a result, the "living history" programs in the public schools will be dead, the first innocent victim of the new gun laws in Maryland.

Robert E. Lyons

Baltimore

Social Security

The Social Security program is constantly being scrutinized for cuts in benefits for the purpose of increasing other government programs.

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It has reached the stage where future beneficiaries have become concerned that the program must eventually collapse for the lack of funds.

Safeguards must be established now to guarantee its future existence. Social Security should be considered a form of insurance.

If a retiree's circumstances dictate that some form of monetary assistance is necessary, assistance should be available. If one's circumstances are such that monetary assistance is not needed, then one should count one's blessings, waive the benefits and so strengthen the program for the future retirees.

Medicare, carefully managed, should remain available to all who entered the program.

A highly paid TV personality recently stated that he donates his Social Security benefits to charity. He did not state whether or not he also claims the amount under "donations" for income tax purposes.

This is an example of a payment that is wasted on the recipient. Multiply this case by hundreds of thousands of others, and one can understand why our young people are concerned that the program they are presently supporting will eventually collapse.

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Perhaps a program can be developed whereby Social Security payments are distributed using a scale based on a retiree's personal income. For example, a person with an annual income of $150,000 should qualify for full Social Security payments.

A person with an annual income of $175,000 should receive less. One receiving an annual income of $200,000 or more should consider himself fortunate and exempt himself from any payments.

If, however, his income drops below that amount in the future, benefits should be reinstated.

The cost of living increases should also be studied. Instead of awarding the COLA proportionally to the amount of one's Social Security payment -- a system which most benefits those who receive higher payments -- the COLA should be an equal amount to all recipients.

The Social Security program should not be a political football. Its funds should be managed separately from other government programs.

Let's keep the program alive and well to ensure that our children will enjoy the same security that today's retirees now enjoy.

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Clifford G. Mattia

Old Lyme, Conn.

Biased reporting

Scott Shane's article "Assault weapons bill also restricts clips" (May 7) was no surprise to me, since I took the time to read the pending legislation.

What also did not surprise me was the fact that The Baltimore Sun waited until [then] to bring this information to light. I am sure most of our representatives did not read the bill either.

What I am most upset about is the fact that The Baltimore Sun continues to print only that news which promotes a specific political agenda. As a reader of two or three newspapers a day, this style of reporting is getting more prevalent.

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Shading of news in such a manner is irresponsible and does not present the complete picture. The Baltimore Sun mocks "freedom of the press" with such devious reporting.

Stephen Sipe

Randallstown


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