Strengthening education

You are to be complimented on the editorial ``Bennett's education'' [Feb. 13]. But in describing political proposals of various states an important one from Governor Perpich of Minnesota was missed. In January he proposed that Minnesota students in the 11th and 12th grades be allowed to choose in the 1986-87 school year the public school ``that best suits their individual needs'' with the state financing the choice. In the 1988-89 school year all students in the lower grades will choose the public school of their choice. L. B. Palkert Minneapolis While Education Secretary William J. Bennett continues to ``stoke the fires of undergraduate education reform'' [Feb. 12], he also insists on defending the cutbacks President Reagan has requested in student aid. Improvements in curriculum, a renewed emphasis among professors on teaching, and a strengthening of the humanities would all go for naught, should our government's attitude toward higher education take this unwise shift. Rather, the door of opportunity for high school graduates will be reduced to a peephole through which our nation will painfully observe its simultaneous decline. Patricia L. Hoxie Seattle

As an occasional (and rarely successful) free-lance writer myself, I couldn't help laughing at David Holohan's recent fine and witty piece about the tough times a free-lancer faces [``Dining on cardboard au gratin: a free-lancer's lament,'' Feb. 13]. Naturally, as one to another, I read his piece carefully, with a particular pang of sympathy when he noted that the first thing he notices about an envelope returned from some heartless publisher is its thickness -- to see if his hard work was being thrown back at him.

I thought I'd pass along this bit of wisdom, which I believe traces back to Ring Lardner: Many young writers take to heart the editors' admonition to enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope with their work -- but make the mistake of enclosing one large enough to hold the original work. This, Mr. Lardner noted, was usually too much of a temptation to the editor. Paul Donnelly Arlington, Va.

Rushworth Kidder's article (Feb. 4) on househusbands was a welcome account of how the home workload is shifting to a more equitable division between husbands and wives. At least, as he said, it's shifting in Finland, although I wonder about the United States. Most of the working women with families I know have houses that do not get cleaned and home-fresh meals that do not get cooked; or else the woman still tries to carry two full jobs and is pitifully overworked. Perhaps if the US was not so taken up with conspicuous consumption, often of unnecessary commodities, one spouse of either sex could afford to stay in the house and run it properly. Charlotte A. Wagner Houston

The touching articles on The Home Forum page, Feb. 4, about dog, fish, and cow offer delightful intimate acquaintances with earthly creatures, and an appreciation of their intelligence and sensitivity. It is true that we humans often allow nonhumans to be treated with indignity, neglect, and even cruelty. Tender essays such as these help to make us aware, and perhaps advance the day when we can live together respectfully. Helen Williamson De Witt, N.Y.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published and none individually acknowledged. All are subject to condensation. Please address letters to ``readers write.''

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