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Improving salaries and training will help serve...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Improving salaries and training will help serve abused 0) children

The numerous articles, editorials and letters to the editor on the murder of Rita Fisher published in The Sun in recent weeks give ample testimony the reality and the tragedy of child abuse and the consequences of our failure to stop it.

In his May 1, "We can't get off cheaply in protecting our children," Dan Rodricks emphasizes the folly of trying to protect children with an underpaid and overburdened child welfare work force. The consequences, though not always visible, are often tragic. But there is good news. The Child Welfare Workforce Initiative of 1998, sponsored by State Del. Maggie McIntosh, was signed into law by Gov. Parris N. Glendening May 12.

This legislation, supported by the governor and Budget Secretary Fred Puddester, will address this long-standing problem by ensuring smaller caseloads, requiring essential training and raising worker pay to attract and retain a qualified work force.

While more needs to be done, this legislation and the commitment to a qualified child welfare work force will go long way toward protecting vulnerable children. There is also a growing network of child advocates who worked hard to ensure passage of this legislation, and who will work equally hard to ensure its full implementation and effectiveness.

ames P. McComb

Arnold

The writer is executive director of the Maryland Association of Resources for Families and Youth.

Thanks to Dan Rodricks for his May 1 column detailing the difficult work and the low salaries of social workers in Child Protective Services. Many of the more than 300 social workers who will be graduating this month from the University of Maryland School of Social Work will be working in public agencies.

Columns like Mr. Rodricks' help to highlight that while most professionals do not enter the field of social work for the pay, higher salaries would serve to better compensate us for the thankless but vitally important work that we perform.

Geoffrey L. Greif

Baltimore

Western High still sparkles as it maintains its tradition

It was gratifying to learn from his April 10 column, "Students shine at gem of a school: Western High," that Gregory Kane gives accolades to the students and staff of Western High School. I was fortunate to teach there and was proud to join the Western community in efforts to provide an education acknowledged by many as the best in the city.

I share Mr. Kane's concern that the single-sex status of Western might be challenged in a misguided attempt to redress a perceived injustice. Let me point out that far from being an example of sex discrimination, Western exists today as a monument to the efforts to overcome inequality and to promote educational opportunity for all.

When founded in 1844, Western and her sister school, Eastern, were charged with promoting the "higher branches of academe then unavailable through the public sector to the young women of Baltimore.

Let us celebrate Western's legacy to promote educational opportunity to young women and continue to support the Western community in its efforts to pursue that noble tradition.

Deanna Miller

Bridgton, Maine

History deprived chance for Palestinians to cheer a 50th

Palestinian Arabs should be celebrating the 50th anniversary of their state instead of demonstrating against the "catastrophe" of the state formed by Palestinian Jews.

The United Nations voted partition of Palestine in 1947. The Jews accepted and formed the nation of Israel. The Arabs refused and chose war and terrorism to drive the Jews into the sea.

It is sad that the sins of the Arab grandparents are now visited upon the grandchildren. But when this history is acknowledged, and the Israeli emphasis on security is recognized in context, these two groups of people should be able to negotiate in good faith and, with God's help, find a way to lasting peace.

Sara Lee Woolf

Baltimore

Religious freedom bill seeks to instill values not learned

Susan Goering of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland presented a very clear and reasonable argument against the proposed religious freedom amendment (Let's pray City Council leaves 'religious freedom amendment' on the shelf," Opinion Commentary, May 11). As one who watched some of the hearings on the city's cable channel, I wish to add another reason not often discussed.

It was very evident to me that all of the people who spoke their piece at the City Council hearing were deeply committed to the )) ideals of their religion. Many were quite passionate and expressive. What was missing in their speeches was an admission of failure on their part. They failed to sway their kids away from incivility and crime and redirect them toward their values.

Their answer was to return prayer to the schools. In other words, if they can't do it at home or at church then do it in a public institution where they have a captive and diverse audience.

Myles Hoenig

Baltimore

Conservative mind denies damage to the environment

The Sun gave its readers a clear look at the conservative mind when it published Tony Snow's Opinion Commentary article May 5 ("The sky isn't falling, Mr. Gore"). The central theme of the column was ridicule of Vice President Gore for his environmental concerns.

The most surprising assertion by Mr. Snow was his statement that we have more virgin forest now than we had a century ago. He did not explain how this country can ever have more untouched forest. It is an impossibility.

Mr. Snow also declared that we add 100,000 acres of wetland annually. If that is true, Tom Horton has been deceiving himself and Sun readers for years.

To conservatives, people who show concern for the environment are tree-hugging wackos whose purpose is to frighten people into supporting more government control over all of our lives.

The danger of global warming will not be believed by conservatives without absolute, positive, incontrovertible proof. Anticipation of, and defense against, warming do not enter the otherwise intelligent conservative mind.

Carleton W. Brown

Elkton

Zero tolerance policy could raise race issues in policing

City Councilman Martin O'Malley is either very young or has a short memory, in his advocacy of zero-tolerance.

Some years ago there was a policy of "indicted corners," in which anyone, especially a group, standing on a corner, could be hassled and chased, just for being there.

With a largely white police force, enforcing the policy, allegedly on mostly black youth, complaints of racial mistreatment went up from the black community.

With the police force still majority white, operating in a majority black city, can a new community confrontation be avoided? Would Mr. O'Malley care to take such a chance?

Harry E. Bennett Jr.

Baltimore

Columnist Kane will find transit easier than driving

Welcome Aboard, Mr. Kane. I'm sorry that it took a five-car accident to turn your head to public transportation. As you reported ("Trade 4-wheel for 4-legged transit?" by Gregory Kane, April 25) It is a much-maligned system, but each day there are over 300,000 boardings of the busses, Metro and light rail. I have ridden the light rail and Metro to work for almost four years. It is usually fast and on time. In addition, members of Baltimore Association for Retarded Citizens keep the train cars admirably clean.

The carefree ride offers a great transition in the morning to gear up for the day by planning or reading for work. In the evening, unfinished ideas from work can be resolved before arriving home. Occasionally, I accomplish a little more reading than I planned while waiting for a train, but I have never had to change a flat tire, recharge a battery, pass an emission test or repair a dented fender.

illiam Baldwin

Baltimore

Pub Date: 5/16/98

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