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Buy AmericanWhat single action by the U.S....

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Buy American

What single action by the U.S. consumer would satisfy the three disparate eco-socio-economic ends -- environment, trade deficit and jobs -- for Americans? Answer, buy American.

At a time when the cry in Washington is ostensibly for less federal bureaucracy and power to the people, I for one would appreciate leadership by knowledgeable, unfettered and unbeholden types. But, I do enjoy a freedom and individual voice, too -- in the marketplace.

To those who see jobs going south (or east) with NAFTA or GATT, I reply that we each have within ourselves the power of the purchase, to cast a patriotic vote.

Environmentalists have recognized for some time that a certain foreign auto maker's conglomerate parent company is the single largest destroyer of rain forests in the world. This fast-rising car with the center grill bar uses aggressive advertising and may soon challenge the top three eastern car makers for market share.

The trade deficit represents the net loss in revenues to the United States in the international trading of goods and services.

Since this position has a weakening effect on the dollar among other deleterious effects, corrective actions should be introduced. Included must be the elimination of trade barriers, strengthening of patent and royalty laws and prudent buying in the marketplace.

We applaud a reduction of unemployment in the U.S. to the low figure of 5 percent of the available labor pool. Why not aim for ZWP (zero worker pool)? This would help provide more jobs throughout the work force spectrum.

Many jobs have been lost through careless trading with our partners. You've heard of the gift of the transistor, of the microchip and now the works of performing artists on CDs and tapes.

We cannot as a trading nation in a competitive and environmentally fragile world give away our power to help right all three ills. Don't think it corny to be environmentalist or patriotic. Read a label. Buy American.

Thomas Carroll

Churchville

Them and Us

It's clear that the lines are drawn within the bureaucracy of the Baltimore County public schools.

Working for this school system has had many bright spots, but today I am witnessing more and more cases of a "them and us" mentality. The situation at Kenwood High School is a perfect example of my premise.

Frederick W. Cogswell, Kenwood's principal, has decided that his school with all its ills needs to go to "zero-based staffing."

Are we to believe that this decision is tantamount to the wisdom of Solomon?

Low performance, low achievement and low attendance are the ills, as reported in The Sun, and Mr. Cogswell wants to revamp all this by having teachers treat students as clients and rendering customer satisfaction.

Such a dramatic effort draws a line and "they" (the administration) are on one side with "us" (teachers) on the other.

It appears to be an attempt at a quick fix without considering justice toward those on the staff and most importantly the interruption to students' education.

Where does creative problem solving come into play? How are the extenuating circumstances, such as home life or economics, factored in?

Having grown up in the area that Kenwood serves and having my brother still living there, I am very aware of the changing dynamics in the area. But "they" feel that changing teachers is the answer.

In a system that espouses values education, where does the value of justice fit into this whole scenario? Anytime you have a "them and us" issue, some one has to lose.

Is this justice? Is this in the best interest of the children? Would any educator ever set up a situation for someone to lose? Is this the state of education in Baltimore County?

Jim Antal

Fallston

Maryland First

I suggest a bold course of action to vault our embattled governor into favor with Marylanders and enhance his national political stature: Advance the Maryland presidential primary ahead of New Hampshire's.

There are good reasons for doing so, among them the state's proximity to Washington, its rich diversity of geography, ethnicity and commerce and its traditions of political moderation and tolerance.

Maryland also has better food than New Hampshire, its people are smarter, it has a more illustrious history and better baseball.

Maryland is ready. Let's do it now.

Patrick Jackson

Baltimore

Wrong Penalty

As an officer of the Chesapeake Chapter of the Maryland Society of Professional Engineers, I oppose welfare reform requirements that call for professional and driver's licenses to be revoked for individuals who fail to pay child support.

While I have no problem with states collecting child support from delinquent parents, this clearly comes under the jurisdiction of state child support agencies.

Such an action would be an unfunded federal mandate on the states, since it would require time and money to track down deadbeat parents.

The function of state licensing boards is to grant professional licenses and to ensure that individuals who are practicing in certain professions are licensed. It is clearly not in their scope of activities to spend time and money to hunt down deadbeat parents.

Obviously, state child support collection agencies should be given more powers and money to do such.

I am also concerned about the precedent that such a measure would set. If states can revoke a license based on delinquent child support payments, then they can also revoke licenses for any other reason.

For example, if I get in a fight with the State of Maryland over any matter, it could strong arm me into submission by threatening to revoke my engineering license.

Patrick K. Harris

Elkridge

The Attacks on Notre Dame Prep

We chose Notre Dame Preparatory School (NDP) for our daughter because we wanted her to receive a quality, well-rounded education in a loving, Christian and supportive environment.

NDP has exceeded our hopes and expectations. It is providing an outstanding education to our daughter. The nurturing environment has supported her personal growth and development.

It deeply saddens us to hear and read about the tactics that have been employed by a small (and it is important for everyone to understand "small") group of people, including some parents, to make their point.

Anyone who knows Sister Helen Marie and the entire administration at NDP knows that their concern for and commitment to the young women at the school is deep rooted and includes a door that is always open to everyone, especially parents.

We find it incongruous that a group that resorts to letters with vague innuendo and allegations (which does more to create fear than to inform), headlines in the newspaper and the sensationalism of talk radio could use the term "heavy-handed" hostility to describe the reception of their concerns by the administration of NDP.

Having spoken to a member of the board of trustees, we believe the board has made every reasonable effort to meet with the group, without success.

Certainly, the right to differing opinions and disagreement is a cornerstone of democratic society such as ours. However, with that right comes an obligation to do so in a responsible, appropriate manner.

The tactics employed in this situation speak volumes to us.

One has to pause and consider if the real issue here is not so much the curriculum at NDP, as it is about the attempt of a broader-based, even national, group to gain attention and notoriety for its cause.

And in the process, the administration, faculty, parents and especially the students of an outstanding academic institution are being hurt.

As for us, we can only say we are sorry that we have but one daughter to be educated at NDP.

Dallas Renner

Nancy Renner

Baltimore

As an alumna and parent of two recent graduate of Notre Dame, I am greatly incensed by the aspersions cast upon the school and its faculty by the small group of right-wing fundamentalist parents who have involved the media in their efforts to bring down the administration and instill their narrow, fundamentalist values upon all who walk the halls at Notre Dame.

I have a great affection for Notre Dame, born of my own experience as a student a generation ago.

When my daughters entered the school it was very different in some ways from the Notre Dame I remembered, but then, so is the world in which we live.

Thank goodness, the school has made changes to keep in step with our world and society as it exists today. The basic values are the same, as is the quality of caring faculty members, dedicated men and women who provide the best of education and moral guidance to the students.

I did not send my daughters to Notre Dame to be brainwashed in fundamentalist Catholic doctrine. I sent them to Notre Dame to be educated in all aspects of life, including Catholic doctrine, academics, moral and social issues.

What Notre Dame provided was an excellent education in all areas, with open forums and discussion of all the issues that our children are exposed to as young adults, including understanding the sexual and moral issues that are so much a part of our current society.

To say that these things should not be addressed in the school environment, and that the girls should not be prepared by a thorough understanding through a classroom presentation and discussion, is narrow-minded, naive and unwise.

I have only seen improvement in the preparation of the girls to enter the next phase of their lives. Notre Dame has kept in step with all the troubling issues of our world as it exists today, encouraging the students to be strong in their moral and religious convictions, while acknowledging the conflicting pressures of the world in which they live.

Notre Dame has my unquestioned support and that of my daughters as it faces the media's distorted portrayal of what has transpired.

I have urged the school not to compromise the girls' education under pressure of this small group of parents who, I believe, speak for a very small minority of those associated with the school.

Notre Dame should stand tall for what it is and let those who don't share her philosophy search for what they seek elsewhere.

Darlene Castle

Baltimore

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