Letters to the Editor. Child care in the USSR

If the Soviet Union can do it, why can't we? [``Better child-care options top working parents' wish list,'' Jan. 23]. The New Constitution of the USSR (1977) ``obliges the state to show concern for the family by creating and developing a broad system of child-care establishments, by organizing and improving communal services and public catering, and by paying grants on the birth of a child.'' Every mother is entitled to four months' maternity leave at full pay, and if she wishes to stay at home for a year her job is secure. In 1977 there were accommodations for 11.7 million preschool children, and this number is being constantly increased. Doctors and nurses are available, and nourishing meals are served. Parents pay only 20 percent of the cost of this care.

Of course, similar problems face parents in the USSR as in the US, but the Soviet state shares the responsibility of child care with parents, recognizing the universal truth that children are the future. Marion Billings Greater Boston Committee for Cambridge, Mass. American-Soviet Friendship Affirmative action in sports

It was with gratitude that I read ``Super Bowl-bound Patriots ease years of racial tension among Boston sports fans,'' [Jan. 22]. Every January there are zillions of articles filled with Super Bowl hoopla. One that reports eased racial tension in Boston on the birthday of Martin Luther King is not only newsworthy, but noteworthy! Carol B. Stewart Asheville, N.C.

Your writer notes that many black people are ``turned off'' by the Boston Celtics because even though they have a black coach, ``only four of the 12 players are black -- the reverse of the average ratio across the league.''

I imagine they'd be even more turned off if an government enforced affirmative-action standards and encouraged sports teams to adopt the goal of socially engineering each team's racial and ethnic composition to approximately reflect that of our nation. Mark J. Rockman Bethesda, Md.

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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