Washington Post, Letter to the Editor
Regarding the March 4 Metro story “A woman’s place? Frederick official gets an earful for sharing his view.”:
Frederick County Commissioner Paul Smith thinks that a woman’s place is in the home? His wife thinks that women are working in order to “live in a mansion.” He needs a reality check.
Women whose children are in Head Start are not working so that they can live in a mansion. These women are working because they have two choices: work for money or go on welfare. And Mr. Smith made it abundantly clear what he thinks about people taking money from the government.
Mr. Smith should know that it is not just poor children who benefit from preschool. Studies show that children who attend preschool do better in school and get along with their peers better than children who were kept home until kindergarten.
Melissa Yorks, Gaithersburg
It is discouraging to see a Frederick County official vote against Head Start funding when he does not seem to understand its purpose. Head Start is the first rung on the public-education ladder for young children whose parents cannot afford to send them to private preschool. It is not day care.
These children need a head start because primary education has changed since Paul Smith and I went to school, indeed since my children went to school. Kindergarten curriculum is now like first grade was and first grade like second grade.
To use his religious beliefs on “God’s divine design” to deny young children the opportunity to succeed in their first years of school is just wrong. He punishes the children based on his judgment of their parents.
Mr. Smith, fund Head Start. It’s the best investment Frederick County can make.
Betsy Tervo, Laurel
As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I would prefer that Paul Smith not use the church’s “Proclamation on the Family” as an argument against Head Start.
The proclamation says that mothers are the primary nurturers of their children. I suppose that Mr. Smith might argue that any government program that helps the disadvantaged indirectly encourages mothers of young children to seek employment outside the home. However, the proclamation also states, “Disability, death, or other circumstances [i.e., divorce or abandonment] may necessitate individual adaptation.”
Members of the church are strongly encouraged to help the disadvantaged. I also sympathize with Elizabeth Sprague, who was abandoned by her spouse. Situations like hers happen all too often, even to members of the church, although I would hasten to add that no man would find any justification from the church for abuse or abandonment.
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