Letters to the Editor
Sandra Kuntz Executive Director Foundation for Children with Learning Disabilities New York, N.Y.
We were pleased to read your recent articles on the increased number of learning-disabled pupils being served in our nation's schools ("Rise in Learning-Disabled Pupils Fuels Concern in States, Districts" and "Philadelphia To Study Classification of Learning-Disabled Pupils,'' Education Week, April 25, 1984). While we are aware of many issues relative to identification and service delivery, there are many children with this hidden handicap who need to be helped now and many others who are still neither identified nor served.
The mission of the Foundation for Children with Learning Disabilities is to increase public awareness, provide information to parents and professionals, and support nationwide projects to improve services to learning-disabled children ages 3 to 21 in public or private schools, colleges, and recreation and cultural centers.
The foundation publishes materials through our funded projects and an annual magazine called Their World. The magazine is designed to help parents understand the various problems affecting the academic, social, and recreational activities of their learning-disabled children and is free for single-order requests.
Among the materials we publish is The fcld Guide for Parents of Children with Learning Disabilities, the first compilation of state-by-state resources on schools, clinics, and diagnostic centers, selection of a professional, and rights provided by P.L. 94-142.
For information, please write to the foundation at 99 Park Ave., New York, N.Y. 10016.
Susan Staub Director Concerned Educators Against Forced Unionism Springfield, Va.
Robert Chanin, the National Education Association's general counsel, was less than candid when he said that his union "isn't going to be hurt much by the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Ellis v. Railway Clerks" ("Union Sees Minimal Impact in Court Ruling on Dues," Education Week, May 16, 1984).
That's hardly the case. The money that the nea collects from forced dues-payers is not pocket change. For example, in Montgomery County, Md., the nea officials are currently demanding the power to extract forced "agency shop" fees from 1,600 nonunion teachers. In this one county alone, the nea, along with its state and local affiliates, stands to gain $400,000 in coercive dues.
Overall, organized labor collects $3.5 billion a year in dues. Collecting forced tribute is such big business, in fact, that Al Barkan, former chief of the afl-cio's political operations, once stated, "the labor movement as we know it could not exist under [the Ellis] decision." Joe Rauh, a longtime union attorney, stated in 1976 that such a decision "would in effect repeal the union shop."
If enforced by the courts, the decision would put a halt to the misuses of forced dues for such expenditures as union organizing and litigation unrelated to bargaining, and it would throw out the so-called "union internal rebate procedure."
As much as Mr. Chanin would like to downplay the decision, it is a tremendous victory for individual freedom of choice.
Russell T. Arndts Professor of Chemistry St. Cloud State University St. Cloud, Minn.
Robert Primack, in a recent letter, made several comments about the evolution/creation debate that should be clarified ("'Miseducators' Offer Irrational Support of Creationism Theory," Education Week, May 30, 1984).
The two-model approach to the teaching of origins will eliminate many of the problems he posed. Creationists insist that the data and arguments supporting both versions of origins should be presented in the public schools. Evolutionists generally reject the two-model approach and insist that only the evidence supporting evolution should be presented to students.
Mr. Primack indicated that many people--even educated people--have opinions about origins, but are without the facts needed to support their positions. The two-model approach quickly identifies those who are bluffing, since this method of teaching about origins requires that the data and arguments that lend support to both sides of the issue be included. Those teachers without evidence are soon recognized as propagandists.
Mr. Primack seems to feel that even unqualified teachers should discuss various theories that look at evolution before recorded history. He states, "It is just simple common sense to accept expert opinion on these matters..."
Creationists sharply disagree. They feel that the promotion of evolution or creation, based on the opinion of others, even experts, is propaganda rather than education. Mr. Primack seems to be more interested in having students accept the evolutionary world view than having them learn how to think.
However, his willingness to use expert opinion to propagandize seems inconsistent with his statement that says, "One of the major purposes of schools is presumably to teach students how to make true statements about reality." Creationists would support the latter stance, since they feel that students should be given the pertinent data and arguments and should be taught how to make their own decisions.
An excellent example of data that stu-dents should be given and taught to evaluate is the fossil record. In 1859, Charles Darwin proposed that evolution took place in many small steps. The intermediate fossils predicted by Darwin's mode of evolution have never been found. In the last decade, evolutionists changed their position and now have largely discarded Darwinism. That Darwin's theory was based on his philosophy, and that his theory was never consistent with the missing intermediate fossils, must be communicated to students.
The two-model approach ensures that students are taught to think and to evaluate data while not promoting one religious view over another. Certainly, Mr. Primack would agree that this is a reasonable approach to the topic of origins in public schools.
George T. Wright Superintendent Burnet Consolidated Independent School District Burnet, Tex.
Robert Primack is eloquent in his evolution vs. creationism arguments. But he fails to recognize that even evolutionists and scientists generally agree that you cannot evolve something from nothing. That, my friend, is why we must believe in the Bible, which tells us, "In the beginning ..." and "He created ..." I have never heard a scientist or evolutionist explain this away. Possibly because, simply stated, they can't.