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Readers write: How US schools still fail, beauty of a carbon tax

Letters to the editor for the March 23, 2015 weekly magazine.

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    The Rev. Frederick Reese (facing camera) of the Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church in Selma, Ala., who participated in the 'Bloody Sunday' march, waits to give a sermon.
    Ann Hermes/The Christian Science Monitor
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Despite efforts, schools still fail
Regarding the March 9 cover story, “Selma’s long march”: The article states, “Education is critical to economic development....” There are no truer words, but I recently checked the rankings of one of Boston’s public schools, The English High School. In a word, they were horrible.

Fifty years since Selma and the passage of civil rights laws, and 40 years after the judicially mandated and federally enforced desegregation of Boston’s public schools, The English High School is 97 percent minority. Despite a 12-to-1 student to teacher ratio, eligibility for federal assistance, and its location in one of the most liberal cities in one of the most liberal states in the nation, the school – by any standard – is failing to prepare and properly educate the majority of each class it graduates.

Who will save these kids, in Boston or Selma, or in so many other cities, if no one is even talking about it? Or do we continue to commemorate, expound, and posture while generation after generation of kids fails in school?
Frederick Leeman
Xenia, Ohio
 

The beauty of a carbon tax
The Feb. 17 online article “BP’s two-word fix for global climate change” (CSMonitor.com) underscores how wide and deep (and nonpartisan) the support is for carbon pricing via cap-and-trade or carbon tax. While both approaches could help with predictability, a carbon tax could do so much more. A well-crafted revenue-neutral carbon tax is easy to explain and not as easily gamed by big industries. A carbon tax should start with a modest rise in fuel costs and increase every year on a set schedule, thus satisfying BP’s needs. Revenue neutral means that every one of us who pays more for carbon-based fuel will get the money back in the form of some type of refund. Most significantly, a carbon tax would force the petroleum industry to start paying for its real environmental cost. The beauty of the carbon tax is that the government need not pick winners and losers – let the marketplace decide which sources will work.
Karen Carlson
Madison, Wis.

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