Teachers in training deserve some credit for...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Teachers in training deserve some credit for their commitment

I thought The Sun's front-page article "Many teachers aren't certified" (Sept. 17) was terribly one-sided. It sounded like Baltimore had gone out and beat the bushes to find warm bodies to stuff in front of classrooms full of children -- with no regard for their credentials whatsoever.

In fact, the people given an opportunity to teach by the city school system are also giving the Baltimore school system a chance. They are trying out teaching at the same time that they are students.

While making up lesson plans and grading papers, they will also be attending lectures and preparing assignments. All so they can become certified teachers.

Instead of complaining about two-thirds of the newly hired staff not being up to state standards, why not compliment the 600 to 700 teachers the city recently hired, who are willing to do what amounts to double duty for the next couple years?

The Baltimore school system has displayed incredible creativity. It has found people with varying degrees and skills and designed certification packages for each of them. These special teachers are going to need lots of cooperation and support.

Educating Baltimore's children is not an easy task, but it is a worthy one.

The Sun should offer kudos to those with enough stamina to take on the challenge of teaching while completing a learning program of their own.

Janet D.K. Foss

Windsor Mill

Prescription plan hurts workers to help seniors

Vice President Al Gore's plan to provide prescription drug coverage to every senior citizen sounds great on the surface, but actually represents another example of mass generational transfer of income from working Americans to retirees, many of whom are wealthy enough to buy their own medicine or insurance.

This new drug benefit, which is untargeted and covers every senior regardless of income, will be paid for largely by working Americans' payroll taxes.

What will be next? Free cars and gasoline for seniors to drive to the drug store?

William F. Tell

Silver Spring

What matters is security now, not possible future Olympics

John Morton's recent column touted the potential for this region to host the 2012 Olympics (""Baltimore area wants 2012 gold," Opinion

Commentary, Sept. 15). But I doubt that the majority of the area's citizens would benefit in any material fashion from such an event.

Mr. Morton suggests regional transportation might be improved as a consequence of the Olympics. Does this mean if we do not win the Olympic bid we will ignore transportation needs?

If the region's governments believe the transportation infrastructure needs attention, then let them attend to it.

Mr. Morton notes that law enforcement personnel have already begun working on security arrangements for the games, though the Olympic committee will not determine who will host the 2012 Games until 2002.

Sadly, about four inches to the right of Mr. Morton's column was the year's murder toll for Baltimore.

I, for one, am substantially more concerned with the security of the citizens of Baltimore today, tomorrow and during the 12 years prior to the 2012 Olympics than with security arrangements for an 18-day gala which may not occur.

Irwin E. Weiss

Baltimore

New parks director offers hope for city's revival

A new director of parks and recreation with broad experience in management of park lands has been announced for Baltimore ("Good choice to overhaul parks," Aug. 29). This offers promising possibilities both for a badly needed upgrading of recreation services and for revitalizing the city's extensive parks to realize their full potential.

Baltimore has long been blessed with a generous and diverse public park system. These holdings must be better managed and, in conjunction with other uplift measures, used to confront the city's problems of disorder and disintegration.

Forty thousand city houses have been abandoned, reflecting the city's shrinking population over the last 50 years, and some public schools will be abandoned.

A new tapestry of development is called for in the vast areas where this has occurred -- to provide a fresh beginning for neighborhoods now in despair.

L.S. O'Gwynn

Baltimore

Marines weren't alone in landing at Inchon

The Sun's article "Korean War veteran recall those who fell in Pusan battle" (Sept. 14) failed to mention that the Seventh Infantry Division (which I served in) went ashore at Inchon with the Marines.

All the reports I've read over the years omit my division's participation in that invasion. I cannot but wonder whether our fighting at Heartbreak Ridge, Pork Chop Hill and other sites will be forgotten along with the men who fought and died there.

While the U.S. Marines deserved to be honored, the army, air force and navy also fought and died in Korea 50 years ago.

Howard J. Cohen

Baltimore

The Second Amendment doesn't protect all guns

A recent letter argued that "the right to keep a handgun or other firearms is protected by the Second Amendment to the Constitution" ("Unlike owning cars, our right to bear arms is guaranteed," Sept. 16). "Did I miss something?" the writer asked.

As a lawyer, I can say, yes, he missed three things.

First, the Supreme Court has held that the Second Amendment protects the right only of state militias to bear arms.

Second, even if the court changed its mind, the Second Amendment restricts only the federal government's power. Nothing in the federal Constitution would prevent states from banning firearms.

Third, all constitutional rights are subject to implicit exceptions.

Just as the First Amendment does not protect the right falsely to shout "fire" in a theater, the Second Amendment, if it protected the right to bear arms, would not protect the right to bear any number of arms or every type of arms.

Henry Cohen

Baltimore

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