Letters to the Editor

Readers write about nuclear weapons, how Israelis can build peace with Palestinians, and what students really need to learn

Candidates should discuss threat of nuclear weapons

In regard to the Sept. 25 editorial, "Fifteen questions for the first debate": Your otherwise excellent piece had a glaring omission. You failed to pose a question about one of the gravest threats facing humanity: nuclear weapons.

Over the past two years, a growing chorus has called for bold international leadership to ensure that more nations or terrorists do not acquire nuclear weapons. Some statesmen, such as former Secretaries of State George Shultz and Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of Defense William Perry, and former Sen. Sam Nunn, have even called on the next US president to take specific steps to move toward "a world free of nuclear weapons."

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The good news is both John McCain and Barack Obama take the nuclear threat seriously and have outlined policies that are close to what Mr. Shultz and his colleagues have prescribed. But campaign rhetoric is a far cry from reality.

Sean Meyer
Cambridge, Mass.

Project Manager,

US Nuclear Weapons Policy Initiative

Union of Concerned Scientists

Israel can still become a paradise

Regarding the Sept. 24 Opinion piece, "Israel's slipping democracy": This commentary reminds me of a young Palestinian high school teacher I met in a West Bank town 15 years ago.

"We Palestinians and the Israelis understand democracy," he told me, "the other Arabs do not. I cannot push the Israeli into the sea; he cannot drive me into the desert. Together we could make this a Garden of Eden."

The tragedy for both Palestinians and Israelis is that the Israelis were so intent on building a totally Jewish state that they failed to recognize Palestinians such as this young man and countless others who could have been partners in building that "Garden of Eden."

There have always been Palestinians whom the Israelis could have talked with, and there still are, if they want to.

Bernice L. Youtz
Tacoma, Wash.

Teach students 'real world' subjects

In response to the Sept. 23 Opinion piece, "We teach teens trigonometry, why not Money 101?": Until my teaching position was cut, I taught family economics as part of "home economics," now family/consumer science. My students learned about reading rental contracts, the cost of using credit cards, and the increasing value of savings, even when starting with a small sum. We also taught child development and healthy living, which reduce family healthcare costs. Family/consumer science classes have been cut in many places. As a teacher of elementary and middle school students, I see the problems created by parents who are not teaching the "basics" because they themselves did not learn them.

Strong support for reinstatement of these programs, with emphasis on family economics, nutrition, and child care, would not only help people know about finances, but also become better providers of healthcare, child care, and low-cost nutrition for families.

Lucia Schroeder
Charleston, Ill.

I am forced to conclude that those at the top of the socioeconomic tiers in our society and who happen to write educational policy seem to be interested in maintaining their hegemony. It is long past time for us to urge our elected legislative representatives at all levels of government to address this issue.

Darryl King
Buffalo, N.Y.

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