The Baltimore Sun

Schools still failing African-Americans

I share the pride other Marylanders feel in our school system's success in helping high school students pass Advanced Placement exams ("Md. seniors rank No. 1 in passing of AP exams," Feb. 5).

I also share the concern of The Baltimore Sun's editors that this could be used to fuel arguments to reduce funding for education ("Another gold star," editorial, Feb. 5). The editors also correctly point out that the lack of success by African-Americans on AP exams is a signal of how far Maryland still has to go.

Last week's report of success is proof that Maryland schools can get the job done. But we should not even consider cutting school funding until they are getting it done for African-American students.

Gideon K. Bragin, Baltimore

The writer is a graduate student at the Institute for Policy Studies of the Johns Hopkins University.

Cabinet choices offer windfall for Treasury

As The Baltimore Sun reported on Friday, yet another Cabinet nominee, Labor Secretary nominee Hilda Solis, has family tax issues that have delayed her confirmation vote ("Nominee Solis' husband settles long-owed taxes," Feb. 6).

She is the latest in a growing list of Cabinet nominees found to owe back taxes. Some of the debts were years old, but once the problems came to light, all the nominees paid up promptly.

As flawed as this selection process seems, let's look on the bright side: The current list of nominees has been a windfall for the U.S. Treasury, as it has served as an excellent method of collecting back taxes.

At the very least, the new Obama administration should be lauded for increasing revenue collections.

Iver Mindel, Cockeysville

Accept olive branch Obama has extended

Last November, Americans seemed to clearly state that they were tired of the politics of party self-interest. Apparently, the Republicans did not get the memo ("The pain deepens the recession," Feb. 7).

During his inaugural address, President Barack Obama said, "We seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect."

This comment was not directed at Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and others at Fox News, and their followers. But maybe they should consider these words and accept the hand that Mr. Obama has extended.

Mac Nachlas, Baltimore

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