Letters To The Editor

Posted: April 13, 1988

STOP DENYING FOOD STAMPS TO STRIKERS

Your editorial displeasure with the Supreme Court ruling that strikers may be denied food stamps is on target, but you fail to point out many inconsistencies in the current food stamp and welfare system.

The denial of food stamps and welfare to strikers and their families was touted as a "cost-cutting" measure and included in the 1981 ''reconciliation" bill, that infamous Reagan budget that cut everything

from school lunch programs to aid to education.

The Supreme Court reversal of a lower-court ruling is but another blow to a movement that has been under attack since Ronald Reagan became President. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia had struck down the 1981 law as unconstitutional saying that it interfered with the rights of workers to freedom of speech, but the Supreme Court sided with those who would silence workers who have the audacity to withhold their labor in the form of a legal strike.

What a crazy world we live in; you can be the worst criminal on earth - a murderer, rapist, drug dealer, etc. - and when you go to jail your family can qualify for food stamps and welfare. But don't dare go on strike because your children will be treated as something less than human.

Congress must and should correct this injustice - this starve-the-children mentality and this union-bashing campaign have got to stop.

John W. Taylor

United Auto Workers

Lansdale.

UNIONS, PRICES

I'd like to reply to Wendell W. Young 3d, the head of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (Letter to the Editor, March 30).

It's great for union members being paid a high wage, but who has to pay the high prices for food, etc? Everyone. No wonder the prices are so high with the money these union people get.

How about the elderly and people on pensions? We don't have anyone to turn to for more money, but still have to pay the high prices.

Don't blame the Carrefour store for putting some stores out of business; Mr. Young's union is doing this. Everyone has to eat, but if I or anyone on a fixed income can buy food or any other necessity cheaper, well, Mr. Young, where do you think we will do our shopping? We might be short on money but not short on brains.

Robert Weber

Philadelphia.

CLASS SIZE

That U.S. Department of Education study ("Class Size and Public Policy: Politics and Panaceas") is absolutely right!

Class size should not be decreased. It should be increased to 40 to 45 pupils. And then the number of teachers in each class should be increased to three or four: one master teacher with at least a bachelor's degree and two or three aides, specially trained but not necessarily degreed.

What also need to increase are the size of each classroom, the quantity and quality of teaching equipment and materials, and the freedom of teachers and pupils alike to be innovative, explorative and individualistic.

The lock-step approach of uniform goals, uniform standards, uniform curriculum, uniform facilities and uniform methodology must be broken. People are individuals, and both the teachers and the pupils must be permitted full play of their individuality if pupils - and through them society - are ever to realize their full potential.

The little things in education are today better than they ever were, but the big things - the philosophy, the aspirations, the hopes and the reach - are as small and near-sighted as ever.

Wake up, America. Unshackle your heart, your mind and your pocketbook. The children deserve the best we can give them, but the present state of education (and concomitantly of society) cannot give them what they so earnestly need and desire.

Carmelo Gangemi

Rosemont.

UNSAVORY TRUTH

The personal attacks being made on Rep. Stephen Freind by pro-abortion- rights advocates (including the loathsome Tony Auth) are a desperate attempt to cover up an unsavory truth: Rape is rarely the reason for abortion. Rather, in the overwhelming majority of cases, the unborn are slaughtered

because they became an inconvenience to those who conceived them.

G.J. Swiacki

DUKAKIS ON DRUGS

While I was visiting my parents in Levittown over Easter weekend, I read an article in the April 3 issue by Robert S. Boyd, who stated that Michael S. Dukakis was imitating Jesse Jackson by talking to students in Wisconsin about alcohol and drug abuse.

As someone who has, since early 1983, visited more than 70 elementary and secondary schools with Gov. Dukakis as part of his effort against drunk driving and drug abuse, I feel it is important to set the record straight.

Long before it was the politically popular thing to do, Gov. Dukakis took aim against drug dealing, drug abuse and drunk driving in Massachesetts with specific programs that have already produced results.

Barbara S. Kopans

Massachusetts Assistant Secretary of Public Safety

Boston.

ISRAEL AT PERIL

SHULTZ'S PLAN LACKS GUARANTEES

Your editorial of April 3 requests, "Don't knock Shultz's plan; it's the only one we have." While this assertion might be true, the plan's singularity does not automatically justify subscribing to it. A poor plan is not necessarily preferable to no plan.

The editorial lists three main concepts Secretary of State George P. Shultz incorporated in the plan: an international conference serving as a framework for meetings between Israel and its Arab neighbors, talks on a final status of Gaza, Judea and Samaria and participation of Palestine Liberation Organization-blessed representatives in the conference.

None of these concepts provides any assurances for Israel's concerns for peace, safety, indeed her very existence.

None of the four permanent members of the Security Council, which would sponsor the international conference along with the United States, has announced publicly that it would abide by Mr. Shultz's plan to restrict itself to a non-voting observer status. The plan required Israel to discuss the final status of Gaza, Samaria and Judea and outlines a timetable to do so. Yet, it neglects to explicitly require the Arabs to first of all accept Israel's existence or to condition any final status benefiting them on a comprehensive peace arrangement.

The PLO has yet to denounce its covenant that calls for the elimination of the Jewish state. Clearly, anyone acceptable to the PLO to conduct talks with Israel is sharing the PLO vision. Is it at all questionable that this person would be opposed to the existence of Israel?

While the plan's proponents claim all of the above is implicit, based on past experiences Israel has no reason to trust the American assurances. Be it the continuation of negotiations within the framework of the Camp David accords, as brokered by an American president, or a peace agreement signed with Lebanon and guaranteed by the United States, the Americans - given their best intentions - have failed to deliver what they promised. No wonder Israel is wary.

Perhaps the time has come to reverse the trend and lure Israel into talks with a carrot of its liking and use the stick to beat the Arabs into submission.

Hava J. Gelblum

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