Letters to the Editor

Readers write about student testing, cooking on campus, loans that contributed to the financial crisis, and how a recession could help.

Replace the SAT with a group of short exams

Regarding the Sept. 30 editorial, "Shelve the S.A.T.?": On the one hand, it claims that "students spend too much time and money on the SAT and the ACT." On the other, that "the tests protect against grade inflation – which has become a serious problem."

Won't substituting more sophisticated tests, like the AP exams, as this editorial seems to suggest, only increase the amount of time and money students spend preparing?

The goal is objectivity. To achieve it these days, we need not long exams, either highly standardized or specialized, but a group of short exams, varied in design, that are taken in toto, rather like an academic portfolio.

Banking on a single standardized test format is like investing in only a single stock.

Thomas Sipe
Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.

Cooking is good for students

In response to the Oct. 1 article, "College cooking beyond ramen": I read your article and completely agree. My two young adults both went to MIT and had wonderful experiences. They are both very particular about what they eat and most of the time they cooked their own meals in the dorm kitchen. I believe that cooking is a good way to take time off from studies and do something creative and healthy.

At our cooking institute, my partners and I have started teaching vegetarian cooking to all ages and that is one of the goals – to teach them to survive on their own.

I am hoping to make a difference in the lives of young adults by showing them that it is not difficult to cook. You just have to learn time-management skills and have a determination to eat healthily!

Asha Doshi

Mom's Cooking Institute & More, LLC

Richmond, Va.

Don't let lenders price their assets

Regarding the Sept. 30 editorial, "Rescue 'America Street": I am a commercial/residential mortgage broker and have been for 40 years.

Permitting lenders to determine the price of their assets is no better then letting prospective homeowners get a loan using "stated incomes." This type of loan is one of those that got us into the current crisis.

Today, a responsible residential lender would no longer accept the value of an asset without getting an appraisal. However, we, the investing public, will be asked to accept the balance sheet of the banks based on a fictitious valuation of their assets.

Marvin Margolin
Chagrin Falls, Ohio

Recessions can be corrective

In regard to the Sept. 30 Opinion piece, "The real solution to the financial crisis: recession": I want to indicate my agreement with Yves Smith.

A recession can and does play a correctional role in times of some financial crises.

When the success of an economy such as ours depends on many consumers buying stuff with money they do not have, some periodic collapse in the credit market is bound to occur periodically.

The current collapse which so frightens Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was made inevitable, not just by the unexpected fall in the value of houses, but by the huge debt that had mounted over too long a period in mortgages, car payments, credit cards, etc.

The action they are asking Congress to take may well end up making things worse.

R.E. Reinert
Northport, Mich.

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, 210 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail letters to Letters and Opinion pieces to OpEd.

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