- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 11, 2004

Giving gifted children their chance

The article “Burdenofbrilliance” (Metropolitan, Monday) is correct that parents of a gifted student may have unique hurdles to overcome when supporting their gifted child in school.

The school clown or star athlete enjoys a better reception in the classroom than does the designated “brain” or “egghead.” It is true that the best atmosphere for gifted students is in programs where they can be with children of similar capabilities.

Gifted students often have advanced abilities in the areas of in-depth and logical thinking skills, written and oral communications skills and/or visual or performing arts.

Students attending these programs benefit from specifically planned educational instruction that challenges them to attain substantiveacademicgoals. Well-established, state-of-the-art programs for gifted students provide the appropriate resources and instruction to prepare students for success in new technology environments.

Parents need to closely monitor their child and contact teachers of the gifted who can evaluate a frustrated and confused student. The child may have exceptional ability, but may not have been able, for various reasons, to tap into that ability. Gifted teachers can act as guardian angels, assessing young students to determine if they are eligible for admission into the gifted programs.

Children of advanced intellect may need as much special attention from their parents as children with learning disabilities. We should not assume a gifted child will automaticallybecomean outstanding student.

MARK GUNDERMAN

Sterling, Va.

Kyrgyzstan, an ally on the front

Thearticle”Kyrgyzstan straddles role on terror issue” (World, Saturday) reflects a harsh and critical viewpoint, but we recognize it is still journalism.

The headline is a totally different story. To suggest that because terrorists use Kyrgyz passports or operate on our soil, the country “hosts” them is preposterous. Why not report that Florida “hosts” terrorists — because we know many of the perpetrators of the September 11 attacks lived, trained and prepared there? It would be just as unfair.

We could analogize to many of the other complaints in this article. For instance, we know that terrorists have opted for Florida and other U.S. jurisdictions because of lax police standards and ease in obtaining driver’slicensesandother documentation. We know that some of the September 11 terrorists obtained U.S. visas.

The simple fact is that terrorists seek to take advantage of the freedom of movement and activity that is afforded by democratic, open societies. In Central Asia, there is no denying that Kyrgyzstan is the country offering its citizens and visitors the most freedom and openness. This is nothing to make us ashamed. We are proud of this fact.

At the same time, we recognize the dilemma. These terrorists are committed to the destruction of our democratic institutions. Afghanistan under the Taliban provides a vivid example of the sort of state they want to create. Kyrgyzstan bore the brunt of their military offensive in 1999-2000, when the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) tried to fight through our nation to reach Uzbekistan.

The author does not seem to appreciate that my country did not allow the terrorists to penetrate the territory of our neighbor. Kyrgyzstan paid a very high price for that — more than 50 Kyrgyz soldiers and citizens lost their lives in that struggle.

Kyrgyzstan is committed to an active role in the war on terror. That is why our country offered the antiterrorist coalition forces led by the United States space to deploy forces. We did so both because we are proud to be a coalition partner and because our country itself is under attack.

This article may in fact point to some of the difficulties that the war on terror faces in Central Asia. But its approach is unbalanced. It also fails to recognize and give credit to Kyrgyzstan for its important contributions to the effort.

BAKTYBEK ABDRISAEV

Ambassador

Embassy of Kyrgyzstan

Washington

Pumping up China’s economy

OnTuesday,RichardW. Rahn wrote, “Yet another major reason for slow job growth is the drop in the dollar and the rise in oil prices” (“How to create more jobs,” Commentary). The dollar may have fallen against the euro and yen, but China has pegged the yuan at 8.3 per dollar since 1995. This permits China to keep manufactured exports cheap by exchanging yuan for U.S. Treasury securities.

This places the inexpensive yuan in the hands of U.S. importers and encourages U.S. automakers and other manufacturers to move their supply chain there. With its economy running on these steroids, China is soaking up oil, steel and other vital resources at a record pace, running up the price of these critical materials and wreaking havoc on U.S. manufacturers.

Overall, the U.S. trade deficit with Asia and currency manipulation are costing about 1.3 million U.S. jobs. Without those, the unemployment rate would be below 5 percent.

PETER MORICI

Professor

Robert H. Smith School of Business

University of Maryland

College Park

Research needs growing room

As president of a broad coalition of patient groups and scientific organizations, I applaud The Washington Times for its very thoughtful March 5 editorial on embryonic stem cells,”Promise,periland progress.”

American scientists are at a crossroads with embryonic stem cell research — privately funded researchers (like the ones at Harvard) can forge ahead, while those who are federally funded are left far behind. As you correctly point out, the number of cell lines availabletoresearchers through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is far less than what was promised by the president in his Aug. 9, 2001, address to the nation. Limiting scientists to the few lines now available through NIH not only hinders scientific advancement, but impedes progress toward cures for more than 100 million Americans suffering every day from life-threatening diseases and conditions. While lawmakers continue to debate the issue, patients anxiously wait and wonder if progress will come too late to help them.

We believe NIH has done its best to implement the president’s policy, and that the administration made a good-faith effort to strike a middle ground in 2001 in the midst of an emotionally charged debate. But as we all have learned from the new NIH analysis to which you refer, we need to expand the current federal policy to allow federally funded researchers to catch up with their colleagues in the private sector who are speeding by them.

It is only with public funding, and thus public oversight, that medical research will flourish safely, ethically and quickly enough to matter.

DANIEL PERRY

President

Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research

Washington

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