Ways to Influence Government Other Than by Not Paying Taxes

Regarding the Opinion page article, "Paying the Price for an Act of Conscience," March 23: I understand that some approve of Randy Kehler's "act of conscience" in refusing to pay taxes as a way of making a statement that he is opposed to the United States having any defense capability.

I too have been opposed to paying taxes, having felt that I could make much better use of the one-third of my income that went to support government by giving a good chunk of it to, for example, the Salvation Army.

However, I have respect for our political process and the fact that we can all support the party we feel is the better one, help elect good candidates, and vote. My course has been to work actively in politics to bring about the changes that seem to me most needed. Gladys Abell, Grand Junction, Colo. More school days?

The editorial "A Longer School Year?," March 23, raises the question of dedication to learning. It also points out that the crucial issue is attitudinal. When we are serious about the value of classroom learning, we will persist in achieving it in whatever hours are given. Marilyn Childs, Tunbridge, Vt.

Merely adding three weeks to the length of the school year, to equal the British average (190-195 days), would do absolutely nothing to improve American public schools.

What is needed are school principals with outstanding leadership abilities willing to spend at least half the school day visiting their classrooms. With help and encouragement from the principal, average teachers could be made better. William Lyman, Portsmouth, N.H.

With all the talk of lengthening the school year, nothing is ever reported about the fact that a 200-day school year was common in the United States in the 1930s. It would be helpful to know why and when this was reduced to the present 180-day year. Was it an effort by teachers' unions to win more time off, or was it thought to be desirable for children to have more free time, or was it an attempt to save money? E. Edwards, Doylestown, Pa. The Tsongas cartoon

Did you receive only negative letters about Jeff Danziger's cartoon "Tsongas Pronunciation Guide (a random tsample)," March 5?

The writers of the letters in the March 23 letters column obviously missed the point of this very clever cartoon, or they would never have seen it as caricaturing or ridiculing a "speech impediment."

There is no evidence whatsoever of such ridicule in the cartoon, just as there is no evidence of such a characteristic in Mr. Tsongas himself. Carolyn Kavanagh, Des Plaines, Ill.

Hurrah for Jeff Danziger. I love this cartoon. Those who didn't see the humor are looking for ill-will, which I'm sure Mr. Danziger didn't mean. I found nothing at which to take offense. I voted for Mr. Tsongas. Martha Palmer, Natick, Mass.

Not seeing that Mr. Tsongas would ever be offended by Mr. Danziger's cartoon, I took no offense and even enjoyed it. What happened to humor and appreciation of caricatures that many cartoonists use? Judith E. Miller, Bellingham, Wash.

I shared the Tsongas cartoon with several friends. I do not feel it is in any way malicious. And I certainly do not think it had anything to do with a non-existent speech defect. It is very clever. Karin Gillett, Melbourne, Fla.

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