Letters

If standardized tests don't help minorities, end them

In his June 2 Opinion "Minorities support 'racist' tests," Jonathan Zimmerman states that minorities, especially those who live in "chaotic or dangerous home environments" want "discipline ... strict curriculum ... and [success] on - gasp - standardized tests."

As a Puerto Rican born in New York City who has lived his entire life on the US mainland, I offer this observation: I believe minority people want their children prepared to read, write, calculate and think critically. "Discipline ... strict curriculum ... and [success] on - gasp - standardized tests" constitute means to these goals.

Given the failure of public schools to educate well low income children, who are also African-American, Puerto Rican, Mexican-American, and native American, I believe our communities desperately seek a variety of solutions, such as charter schools or schools within schools. If standardized tests help accomplish the goal, then they will be embraced. However, absent success, support for these tests will evaporate in short order, yet the goals will remain.
Rick DeJesus-Rueff
Rochester, N.Y.

Progress requires respect for Arab world

Regarding the June 6 article "The image war over US detainees": The fact that the US is waking up to the dreadful diplomatic and public-relations disasters triggered by the almost endless reports of prisoner abuse at US detention camps highlights the malaise affecting the Bush administration. The failure to act immediately and decisively has lost it all credibility and trust.

The latest saga over the desecration of the Holy Koran is but the tip of the iceberg because, rightly or wrongly, most Arabs and Muslims not only believed it anyway but are convinced that what goes on in the camps is far worse.

If President Bush is to make progress with Iraq, Middle East peace, and reform in the region, he needs to engender a genuine culture of respect for the Arab world and Islam.
Chris Doyle
London
Director, CAABU (Council for Arab-British Understanding)

Reading provides power to boys

After reading the May 24 article "Matching boys with books" I was a bit appalled. It is more than a stretch to somehow imply that reading is a "passive" or "female" activity. Writing is certainly not. The verb "to author" is in fact an active one and masculine in its noun form.

In any case, the canon of works that seems to be boring our male youth into the captivating arms of automobile repair and video-simulated shooting was, for the most part, written by and for men. The novel was masculine in its conception, production, and consumption for the greater part of its history. What was it about that time that made so many men interested?

Let's not get too carried away with the passivity and femininity of reading. If these boys need an impetus to put down the power drill and pick up "Walden," tell them a simple equation: words equal power.
Kate Prascher
Memphis, Tenn.

Should Felt have turned to prosecutors?

In his June 7 Opinion piece "Deep Throat's irony: Trust created distrust" Dante Chinni misses an important point about how Mark Felt did what he did. Of course, the American people needed to know about what was going on in the Nixon White House. But did they need to find out from a newspaper scoop? Isn't part of the damage that the supposed self-correcting design of the Constitution failed?

Would it not have been better for all of our national institutions if the No. 2 man at the FBI had gone to the appropriate US attorney with his evidence, instead of leaking it?
Stephen Roop
Boston

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Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to Letters.

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