Does it really pay to lure companies?
I read with much interest Neal Peirce's column of May 5, "Corporate subsidies: Who really benefits?," and the fact that Ohio is launching a study on the subject.
What is the net impact of these subsidies when it comes to air and water quality and public safety? Who pays for the new roads, sewers and additional school facilities? What of the community that such a corporation left behind; does it then need state aid?
When asking about Maryland's Sunny Day Fund, we are told that it is necessary to be competitive. Perhaps it is time for a realistic evaluation.
Governor's veto urged for tests
On behalf of the 600,000 Marylanders with lung disease, the American Lung Association applauds the April 29 Sun editorial urging the governor to veto the voluntary emissions testing program. However, we must add that the public's health is the most important reason to allow the program to continue on a mandatory basis.
Outdoor air pollution contributes to lung disease, respiratory tract infections, asthma, and lung cancer. In addition, most individuals experience at least some adverse health effects from ozone air pollution. Children and the elderly experience more.
A veto by the governor will send a statement to his constituents -- the health of Marylanders matters.
Stephen M. Peregoy
The writer is executive director of the American Lung Association of Maryland.
Wearing seat belts still save lives
The president and several of his predecessors are urging citizens to volunteer and make a contribution. Nowhere has that spirit been fanned more consistently than the hundreds of thousands of men and women who serve their communities as volunteer paramedics and firefighters. But this letter isn't about them. It's about giving them and their paid colleagues a chance to do what they have been trained to do.
Recently I was dispatched to an accident involving several vehicles. One of the persons in one of the vehicles was probably killed upon impact. Until we could remove her, I had to work around her.
However, I couldn't help thinking that she looked a lot like my own mother as I removed her from the front seat. I noticed something else even more quickly; she apparently was not wearing her seat belt.
We train and practice our skills thousands of hours so that we can be ready to make a difference. I'll never know if wearing her seat belt would have saved her life, but I know that I'm glad I always insist that my mother wears hers.
James L. Clements
Listening to classical music makes students smarter
Your article April 22, "Music's contribution to early IQ becoming more certain," should make parents, school boards, politicians and, above all, taxpayers take immediate notice.
If one of the main goals of our country is to educate youth, why are more and more schools cutting back on music?
This article concerned research by neuroscientists and psychologists, not educators or teachers. They conducted many studies of children who before the age of 7 were exposed to Mozart and Bach or any melodious or consonant music, preferably classical, not loud, dissonant sounds.
The researchers found the corpus callosum of their brains grew larger than those of children who began the study of listening of music later. In other words, music builds brain power.
"If you want to maximize your children's intellect, give them music lessons," said Dr. Mark Tramo, a Harvard researcher. Preferably the study of the violin or piano, before the age of 7.
Even among college-age students, those who had listened to Mozart and studied music or the arts had scores that were higher than average in both the verbal and math sections of the SAT tests.
Perhaps standard school curriculums should be adjusted to include the big M alongside the three Rs.
Ruth Von Bramer
MSPAP opponents missing its worth
I read with distress Jean Thompson's May 4 article, "Parents join forces against MSPAP test." I was a middle school teacher when these tests were first being piloted. I now teach high school, and feel the same strong support for the tests as I did in 1990 when I worked with them.
The basic tenets of the MSPAP tests require teachers to create instructional lessons all year long that will ultimately make students successful, as lifelong learners.
Students must read to construct meaning in fiction and nonfiction. They must demonstrate the ability to extend and examine that meaning as they read related passages and draw more informed conclusions about the topics. They must read to be informed, to perform a task and for literary experience.
And we, as teachers, must give students constant experience in using writing as a thinking tool to involve all students in generating responses.
If students are not prepared to use critical thinking skills, and if they have not mastered the basics, we are not preparing them to be lifelong learners.
I recognize that some parents question the mechanics of the tests more than the content. However, the teams of educators, parents, business leaders, politicians and clergy who have been serving on study panels have continued to be responsive to the concerns of the communities and have examined the tenets of the MSPAP tests most carefully.
It would serve us all well to work as a community to support the teachers and students who work with the MSPAP activities and to motivate our children to use the thinking-skills, problem-solving strategies they have been taught. Then, let us offer our services to state Superintendent Nancy Grasmick as she launches a second panel to work with state staff on testing materials and practices.
Sally J. McNelis
The writer is a teacher at Eastern Technical High School and was Baltimore County Teacher of the Year in 1994.
Pub Date: 5/07/97