What's a College Graduate to Do?

Regarding the opinion-page article ``The Unprepared American,'' April 11: We sacrificed to put our son through private school and one of the country's best universities. In his academic achievements and his personal accomplishments, he has gone far beyond our greatest expectations. The money we have spent on his education has been the best investment we ever made. What, then, are we to say to him and to the other young men and women about the world our generation has created for the class of '91? Perhaps there have been worse years to graduate from college, but I do not remember them. The class of '91 faces the aftermath of an ambiguous and unresolved war; worldwide human displacement and unrest; environmental devastation; domestic chaos. After years of hard work and preparation they are lucky to get an interview, much less a job.

I am ashamed to live in a state and a nation that place so little value on education and offer so little to college graduates, not to mention those less fortunate. We will pay millions to some citizens to play sports while cutting health, education, and welfare for others and quibbling over a 25-cent increase in the minimum wage. Were I an optimist, I would say that I believe young people can clean up this mess the older generation has bequeathed them, but I am a realist and the best I can do is hope th at they have more answers and are able to accomplish more than those now in power.

Nancy Williamson, Brookline, Mass.

Bush's education plan The key ``innovation'' in President Bush's education proposal - tax support for sectarian private schools - is seriously objectionable. It would mean taxing all citizens for the support of religious institutions, in violation of the US and state constitutions. It would mean tax support for religious and other forms of discrimination in admissions and hiring common in nonpublic schools. It would tax citizens once for public schools which they control through elected boards and tax them again for sc hools not under public control.

It also would mean sharply higher education costs at a time when public-school budgets are being frozen or slashed. Adding nonpublic schools to the public payroll and transporting students to a wide variety of ``choice'' schools will mean either higher taxes or severe cuts in public-school budgets.

In 17 statewide votes from 1966 to 1990, the American people have made it quite clear that they do not want to be taxed to support or aid nonpublic schools. Bush's plan would increase the division of Americans along religious, ethnic, social class, and other lines. It would harm our public schools and violate the religious liberty rights of Americans.

Edd Doerr, Silver Spring, Md., Americans for Religious Liberty

In descriptions of the negative effects of the budget crunch hitting US schools, we are told that pink slips will be handed to the young, energetic, and highly motivated teachers. The implication is clear - those remaining will be the old, tired, and unmotivated teachers. That implication outrages me. ``Old'' teachers have experience, dedication, commitment. They have stayed the course while legislatures and media blame them for all the ills of American education. They know that today's recalcitrant student may become a successful, competent adult, so ``old'' teachers have hope.

Education will suffer when the pink slips are handed out to any good teachers. Let's be honest and admit that boredom and mediocrity, creativity and energy know no age limits.

Gwynn Pealer, Ocala, Fla.

Environmentalist hunters The article ``Wildlife Refuge SOS,'' April 12, seems to confuse environmentalists and animal-rights activists. Environmentalists do not oppose killing for sport. Millions of environmentalists also hunt animals. What environmentalists want to save is animal habitat as well as threatened or endangered species.

Environmentalists know that some animals need to be hunted to keep their populations healthy and in balance. Humans have become their natural predators. We also know that properly managed hunting seasons do not harm populations of animals.

Animal-rights advocates have divorced themselves from the ecology of the planet by declaring that humans are no longer a part of the balance of nature and its food chain.

Gary Blake, Clark, Mo.

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