Public money well spent

New York State has a remarkably effective program called Re-Entry- Displaced Homemaker Program [``The `workfare' experiment,'' Feb. 26]. Typical clients are women ages 35-60 who are divorced or widowed and unexpectedly thrust into the job market. They are actively seeking a positive alternative to going on welfare. The cost/return figures of the program are $800/$17,000; that is, it costs the state about $800 for the training and counseling provided to one client. In the first year of employment after completion of the program, the average client earns about $17,000.

One would think the state would expand the program. Yet Gov. Mario Cuomo has indicated that a 10 percent reduction in funding is forthcoming.

The New York chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) became involved with the Displaced Homemaker Program through job creation by our members. Many of us have found the program to be an excellent source of highly motivated employees.

If funding for programs is going to be cut, cut the ones that don't work -- not the proven successes. Barbara A. Haas NAWBO President New York, N.Y.

The article ``Uncle Sam's 41 ways to help children learn,'' might have explained additional ways the current federal Department of Education is unlike previous ones [March 4].

Perhaps another way these administrators believe they can best help children to learn is by severely cutting funding to many, if not all, leading national research centers, or by not assertively pursuing means by which to make education financially attractive for our best college graduates.

It is unfortunate for the educational welfare of our country that the federal agency responsible for its protection and growth has chosen the politically fashionable path of cowardice and showmanship, rather than that of statesmanship. Key figures in the department seem as pleased to support the President's unequaled request for military expenditures as they are to support excellence in education.

It would seem that our educational leaders, who were appointed carefully by the Reagan administration, are not advocates of good education. They are, in fact, brokers of inexpensive education, the cheaper the better.

A sound education for all is at the root of democracy's well-being. Paul W. Kerr Urbana, Ill.

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

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