Letters

By , David L. Massen, and Scot Wilcoxon Hopkins

Help Kids By Saying 'Thanks' to Teachers

Thank you for your editorial (Aug. 28) on "Valuing Childhood." I, too, am dismayed by news reports of child murderers, child soldiers, and child criminals.

The editorial lists some solutions to the problem of restoring pure and childlike qualities to our children: parental guidance, moral instruction in churches, and character building through schools, youth organizations, and law enforcement agencies.

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But about schools: We place great faith in our schools to educate the entire population. So we need good teachers. And the danger is that we are losing them. Thousands of talented and caring teachers have retired or quit this year. We simply do not have enough qualified teaching applicants to replace those who choose to leave teaching.

As the new school year begins, there are hundreds of classrooms being led by well-meaning but untrained, uncredentialed, unseasoned young men and women.

But this tragedy does not have to continue. I urge school boards, superintendents, legislators, businesspeople, and community leaders to consider this problem seriously and invent ways to keep our gifted teachers in the classrooms. I urge people everywhere to encourage and thank teachers. Even better, tell that teacher's superiors, the school principal and district superintendent.

This nation can't afford to let its talented teachers leave the classroom. Please do all you can to encourage and support teachers. For our children's sake. For our future.

Kathelen Johnson

Via e-mail

Teacher and teacher trainer

Is the earth warming up?

I appreciate your articles on global warming but am concerned that in each instance I've read you seem to treat the issue as uncertain. For example, in "Worried Churches Chime In on Global-Warming Debate" (Aug. 25), you quote only atmospheric scientist S. Fred Singer,a leading critic, who said "there is no scientific consensus that global warming is occurring."

My understanding is quite to the contrary. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reached consensus by 1996 that not only has the world warmed - recent warming standing out against a record of relatively stable temperatures over the past 10,000 years - but also that there has been a discernible human influence on global climate.

This is the reason that world leaders bothered to meet in Kyoto last year to address the issue, and why the churches are worried.

David L. Massen

San Francisco

Clearing the air

The article "How Hurricanes May Add to Global Warming" (Sept. 3) states that "cooler water has less ability to hold CO2." This is the opposite of what is taught in junior high school science. This is easily confirmed, including in oceanography texts which mention that deeper colder ocean water has more carbon dioxide. I suspect the scientist thought that the colder water was releasing carbon dioxide after it was brought to the surface and it warmed up.

Scot Wilcoxon Hopkins,

Minn.

Editor's Note: Dr. Nicholas Bates of the Bermuda Biological Station explains: The main factor is the winds roiling the water and facilitating transfer of CO2 from sea to air. Near the center of the hurricane, cold water is brought to the surface causing a slight cooling. A complex chemistry is involved that increases the tendency for CO2 in the surface sea water to move into the atmosphere. However, there is no cooling over the bulk of the area affected by hurricane winds. There, only the winds are involved in increasing the ocean surface CO2 loss.

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