Letters to the Editor

Readers write about California education, parent's rights to educate their kids, Serbia's integrity, and oil.

California schools felt fiscal strains long ago

Regarding the March 21 article, "California's fiscal crisis hits schools": I taught elementary school in California for eight years ending in 2006. During my time as a public school teacher I witnessed many cuts in the budget. Our school librarian was replaced by a parent volunteer and fifth-graders restocked the shelves during instructional time. Our music teacher (when one could be found) taught more than 500 students in a mere two days a week at the expense of the PTA. Our school counselor, who had three schools on her caseload, was eliminated from our staffing chart because we were not a Title I school.

My husband and I constantly spent our grocery money to buy science and art supplies for my classroom as well as pay for my lower-income students to attend field trips. In fact, the practice was so common that a teacher at my school won a prize from the local paper when she could prove she spent $8,000 of her own money on her classroom in a single school year.

If you think that the "fiscal crisis" is just hitting California schools, you obviously have never taught there. Now, does anyone else find it ironic that California just made home schooling illegal?

Wendy Coffey-Slattery
Sweden, Maine

Home schooling is a natural right

In response to the March 10 article, "Home-schoolers reel from a court blow": Just because a court says that home schooling is not "a constitutional right" does not make it illegal. In America, citizens do not get their rights from constitutions, except for those in the Bill of Rights. We have innumerable and inalienable rights simply because we are born (free) in this country. As such, we call our rights "natural" or "God-given."

A constitution is not a list of rights that government "gives" or "allows" its citizens. Instead, it is a document that limits the powers of government. Therefore, home schooling – the responsible raising of our children, including their education – is a natural right of all parents. Like most other such rights, it is not mentioned specifically in state or federal laws. Parents do not need the government's permission to educate their own children. In fact, they are responsible for their own children's education whether or not they send them to a school. Why? Because states do not own the children; parents do.

Because a few parents fail in their natural obligations toward their children is not a reason for the state to eliminate the natural right of all parents to educate their own children as they choose.

Ned Vare
Guilford, Conn.

Kosovo belongs to Serbia

Regarding the March 21 article, "Belgrade actively undermining Kosovo, reports suggest": Would you say that Abraham Lincoln and the Union "undermined" the independence of Jefferson Davis and the Confederacy? Serbia has the right to maintain its territorial integrity just as the United States did.

Panos Kokkoros
Sparta, Greece

Government obstructs oil production

Regarding David Francis's March 17 commentary, "Sleepily eyeing a peak in world oil output," which ends by saying that government intervention will be needed: How will it help produce more oil? Governments have slowed and put up more obstacles to oil production than anything else. We need to become as efficient as possible because the demand for oil energy will outpace any new energy source we can create in the next 25 years.

Jason Smith
Evansville, Ind.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear in print or on our website, www.csmonitor.com. Mail letters to Readers Write and Opinion pieces to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115. E-mail letters to Letters and Opinion pieces to OpEd.

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