Cartoon Gives Wrong Idea About India While I do not take the cartoons that appear in the Monitor very seriously, a phrase in the cartoon ''Lunch,'' Aug. 21, got my goat: ''... and the Indians still allow widow burning ....'' Perhaps the author, in connecting the nature of this infamy with India, was making a joke about it being politically correct to avoid an Indian restaurant for lunch. However, it gives the readers the wrong idea that such an act is legal in India. Widow burning in India is neither ''allowed'' by law nor is it practiced often, as the cartoon perhaps suggests. Manish Chandhok Ann Arbor, Mich. A demand for better schools The battle over control of public education has, on one side, parents eager to see their children learning happily. On the other side are the economic and political forces demanding obedient masses to make and buy their products and fight their wars. As a parent, I can say we are losing badly - we have been marginalized while decisions about schools are made at the state and federal level in virtual secrecy. How is the curriculum set? What electives and materials are offered? How are teachers trained and chosen? If we want our kids conditioned for a life of repetitive tasks, then schools are succeeding. But if we want learning of critical and analytical skills, self-worth, creativity, and responsibility in meaningful matters, then we need new kinds of schools. The alternative models are better than what we have. Ned Vare Guilford, Conn. Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to ''Readers Write'' and may be sent by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by Internet e-mail (200 words maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM.