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Letters to the Editor

Readers write about the importance of seeing the bigger issues surrounding the AIG bonus scandal, why improving No Child Left Behind would improve education, play areas in restaurants, and college students who earn their A's.

March 25, 2009



Don't let AIG bonus scandal distract from bigger issues

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Regarding the March 18 editorial, "Moral outrage in the AIG age": Diverting bailout money to AIG executives is not a good thing. However, let's not allow that issue to distract us from real problems. Among those is the fact that we have authorized banks and insurance companies to play with other people's money. Money in banks must be treated as a deposit, not as a convenient leverage fund for bankers. Premiums paid to insurance companies must be safeguarded so that the pool of funds protects the beneficiaries and insured persons. Reforms to ensure those results are imperative.

As for the AIG bonuses, Congress should create legal safeguards to ensure something like that doesn't happen again. For example, it could require that no bailout money be paid to any officer of a corporation except from an escrow account that remits money in accordance with stated legal conditions.

Howard C. Anawalt
Monte Sereno, Calif.

To improve education, improve NCLB

In regard to the March 18 article, "Obama pushes to reward great teachers": This whole issue of teacher merit pay gets right to the heart of the problems with American education today. There are so many flaws with No Child Left Behind (NCLB) that it scares me, as a teacher, that so much pressure is on teachers and administrators to raise test scores when we already know these are tremendously flawed indicators. Most professional educators agree that using only one type of assessment for major decisions is not acceptable. But lawmakers don't seem to care about that.

This merit pay idea is not a one-size-fits-all solution to improve education. Why doesn't our government focus on revamping NCLB, instead of pointing fingers at "bad" teachers? It doesn't make sense, and I wonder if any of these lawmakers has thanked a teacher along the way of their own careers?

Jennifer White
Little Rock, Ark.

Play areas can make meals more fun

Regarding the March 24 article, "A natural foods junkie at McDonald's": I came back from a trip to South Africa a couple of months ago. While I was there, one thing that struck me was that in every town we visited, we could find a lovely restaurant that had play equipment for the kids we were traveling with. It made every meal out more enjoyable for everyone involved.

It hadn't even occurred to me, as a health food enthusiast, that I could have other options besides fast food restaurants as places to go eat where the kids could also play.

Thank you for the article! I hope other people in the green world hear this story.

Kim Ross
Redmond, Wash.

College students work hard

Regarding the March 24 Opinion piece, "Grade inflation gone wild": I am a senior at the University of California at Berkeley, and I must address the negative implications that this story will have for those students who do not fit into author Stuart Rojstaczer's generalizations.

Not all schools and not all professors are guilty of dishing out A's for minimal work. I have been regularly pushed almost to the breaking point to excel. I think that commentaries like this communicate to academia, as an international body, that the quality of undergraduate work in the US is substandard. Dr. Rojstaczer's generalizations compromise the "academic equity" that dedicated students put in a lot of hard work to earn.

Sharon Williams
Fremont, Calif.

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