I have just finished reading the letter "Teaching Children" from Melvin Mintz, March 9.
Home instruction is not only for preschool youngsters, but also for children who have been inappropriately placed as a result of "inclusion" of the disabled child sponsored by Superintendent Stuart Berger and his followers in Baltimore County public schools.
We were forced to move our Down's syndrome child to Holabird Middle School from a special education school in Baltimore County.
The principal and his staff were not prepared, and the teachers by their own admission were not educated in dealing with children with disabilities.
Our Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) report stated that if the parents or the school felt the placement was inappropriate, after 90 school days he would be returned to the special ed school if appropriate, or the county would provide alternative placement.
When Baltimore County public schools failed to properly place my son, he was removed from school and we began home teaching.
Now, after just one year of home instruction, he has matured, grown educationally and is not being physically assaulted or mentally abused at the school.
He has accomplished in two weeks things that Baltimore County public schools listed in his Individual Education Plan (IEP) for the past three years but was not able to accomplish at the school.
Home instruction does work.
We have read to all of our children from a very early age and still check homework assignments of our youngest child, who is now a senior at a local high school.
I have seen what happens at Holabird Middle School in both the normal setting and the inclusion program, and I am not impressed.
Hats off to those who are doing a good job.
But I would strongly encourage people to consider home teaching at any age.
Paul E. Palazzi
Having failed to alert the people of Maryland to the shortcomings of Gov. Parris Glendening prior to last November's election, your newspaper seems bent on repeating that mistake with respect to the Columbus Center.
In a front-page article, writer Douglas Birch got himself into the position of bestowing accolades on the originators of this project by omitting or playing down important and disturbing background information ("New Jewel of the Waterfront," March 12).
The foundations for this "research" center were laid in 1987 by Rita R. Colwell, a University of Maryland professor; Russell T. Baker, a lawyer; Stanley Heuisler, a magazine editor, and Robert C. Embry Jr., a former federal housing official.
Backed by Rep. Steny H. Hoyer and Sen. Barbara Mikulski, they were able to secure $54 million in federal funds.
This pork barrel approach allowed them to circumvent the usual stringent scientific peer review process that, if successful, would have given some credibility to the project.
Having gotten one foot in the door, it became a relatively simple matter to strong-arm the state and city governments for an additional $86 million.
Ironically, all of this was being done at a time when the federal government was trying desperately -- and unsuccessfully -- to justify continued support for its own national laboratories, which the Columbus Center was trying to emulate.
The Columbus Center is in effect being financed by a raid on the treasuries of the federal, state and local governments, and thus on its tax-paying citizens.
In a time of tight budgets, this money is being used to support a small, elite group of privileged bureaucrats who are trying to maintain at all costs their six-figure salaries under the guise of science.
If there is any doubt regarding the bankruptcy of this effort, one only need look to the latest desperate efforts by the vested interests -- namely, the plundering of state employee pension funds.
Unable to obtain funding on the basis of scientific or technical excellence, these six-figure bureaucrats now endanger the pensions of state retirees whose incomes are dwarfed in comparison.
Marion J. Marcinkowski
There are several questions a hundred times more important than whether Henry Cisneros lied to the FBI.
For instance, what right did the FBI have to question him on the subject?
And what possible relevance did the answer have on his qualifications to become the secretary of housing and urban development?
In the future, I suggest that all appointees respond to such highly personal and irrelevant questions by saying, "That is none of your business."
Gilford H. Hennegar
One key factor did not appear in The Sun's March 14 front-page story about Cardinal William Keeler's meeting with Jewish leaders on the matter of the Christian statement on Jerusalem.
The omission is this:
In the years since the state of Israel has been responsible for the holy places of many religions, not one religious Christian or Arab who came to worship and not to destroy or deface his church or mosque has ever been denied access to practice his faith.
That fact was an important part of the discussion at Cardinal Keeler's home.
It is central to the issue, which unfortunately has become more political than religious and should not be allowed to interfere with the peace process.
Jack L. Levin
Out to Lunch
When will the press return to reporting the news rather than creating propaganda? The misinformation is too much to take.
The school lunch program that you report as being reduced is a flat lie.
The amount of money that will be spent is higher each year.
The only difference is that the bureaucracy and control of the federal government will be dramatically reduced, thus saving that cost.
When we have a budget of over $1.6 trillion, there must be savings to be captured.
In the business world, when times are tough, the business looks for ways to reduce costs not raise prices.
The government must do the same. Taxes cannot be raised higher.
D. J. Myers
Goodman's Double Standard
Ellen Goodman's commentary of March 7 concerning the custody case of Marcia Clark portrays the dual standards of the feminist. It conveniently ignores the issue on what is best for the children.
If we can de-gender for a moment, let us discuss the issue as parent A and parent B.
Let us say parent A has a highly demanding schedule on a recurring basis with erratic hours, requiring much child care. Parent B has a very normal schedule that fosters a consistency and stability for the child(ren) with minimum child care.
If the best interest of the child is to be with parent B, then prime custody should be with parent B. It should be irrelevant whether parent B is the mother or the father.
However, Ms. Goodman just won't get it, because there may be times when the feminist's subjective interests are not served.
Ironically, Ms. Goodman's Feb. 23 commentary addressed the issue of poor children and the effect of welfare cuts. Not once in the March 7 column is this issue raised.
Are we to conclude that feminist issues are more important
than what is in the best interest of the child?
I would agree the timing of this conflict is unfortunate. Also conveniently ignored, however, is the request by Ms. Clark, who earns twice as much as Mr. Clark, for a significant child support increase to subsidize her clothing and hair care expenses.
Just maybe if the children were with parent B (in this case, the father), child support money would be going directly to the children and not to Ms. Clark's personal expenses.
For years men have been denied custody for the very reason Ms. Clark is now being challenged. But now Ms. Goodman wants to change the ground rules -- to benefit the feminist -- in the name of equality. I plead with judges to ignore this dual standard view.
It has become obvious from the steady diet of Ms. Goodman's commentaries that she is incapable of an objective discussion of equality.
If we must continue to be subjected to this, also give us a columnist who can present another view in a more objective way.