The Education Debate: Better Teachers or a Better System?

In its feature articles on education in the Sept. 27 issue, the Monitor supports the belief that the problems of education can be solved by dedicated staff or administration who are willing to work outside the system. Dedication and innovation is to be admired, but the US educational system requires large numbers of teachers and administrators. You will not find nearly enough of them to turn around the current sad state of public education. Poor working conditions, poor pay, and lack of advancement all contribute to the failure to find sufficient numbers of such superhuman teachers.

Instead of examining unusual situations and personnel, we must examine the typical classroom, principal, and teacher to find ideas and innovations which will allow them to do a better job. More Joyce Careys, Dee Dee Noonans, or Lottie Taylors will not alone solve the problems; there just aren't enough of them. Arlo W. Schurle, Terre Haute, Ind.

In this age of standardized national testing, whose scores are used to judge the ``success'' of US education and hold educators accountable, it is refreshing to read of the Harlem school principal, Mrs. Lottie Taylor, who bucks the system and overcomes bureaucracy. Bureaucrats should realize that national, state, and district government controls make educating students difficult. They should give freer rein to the other Lottie Taylors in the nation - whose free thinking and compassionate concern produce real results, not just test results. Janice L. Greisch, Page, Ariz.

Rephrasing the questions In the article ``Pro-Choice Stance Helps Wilder,'' Sept. 27, pollster William McInturff states that ``politicians like issues muddied.'' It's easy to have muddy issues when campaigns are TV spots, controlled debates, and scripted speeches.

It's time to ask elected officials specific questions. Will they vote pro-choice position on the abortion issue? A politician who responds negatively is against abortion rights. One who answers positively could be against abortion rights, but is willing to let women decide.

Will a politician support funding for abortion? If the answer is no, the official is allowing those who can afford it an abortion and those who can't no options.

The object is to know how a vote will go, not the personal opinion or preference of a politician. There seems to be no other way to pin down politicians who are trying to muddy the issues. Margaret Lacrampe, Orinda, Pa.

Religion in the USSR The editorial ``Russia's Religious Glasnost,'' Oct. 3, describes the increased interest in spiritual matters in the Soviet Union at a time which directly coincides with a more neutral state position on religion. This is cause for great rejoicing.

The appearance of democratic values, however modest, is the direct result of spiritual growth promoted by church institutions. Democratic church activity in the world leavens the political processes. Wade H. Tisdale Jr., Columbia, Miss.

Feta pizza or pepperoni? Regarding the article ``Jeff Smith, Cuisine Detective,'' Oct. 4: Jeff Smith's ``edible plate'' with its nameless ``relishes'' may be his idea of pizza but it slices no pepperoni. Unless the ancient Greeks had a tomato source in the Americas and can also lay claim to mozzarella, the pizza is and always will be distinctly and gloriously Italian.

Following Mr. Smith's line of evidence, prehistoric man, whose contribution to sartorial splendor was a combination of skins, should be credited with the three-piece suit. Gloria MacKay, Oakland, Maine 30-{et

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