Bush's Choice Education Plan and Private Schools

President Bush is campaigning vigorously for his plan to provide $500 million to nonpublic schools by means of $1,000 vouchers or scholarships. Mr. Bush seems to think that Americans would like to pay taxes to aid private schools which are obviously sectarian, practicing forms of discrimination in admissions and hiring not allowed in public schools.

The so-called "education president" has done little or nothing for the public schools serving 90 percent of our children, but he seems intent on weakening public education in favor of selective denominational schools not run by elected boards of local taxpayers. Edd Doerr, Silver Springs, Md. Executive Director, Americans for Religious Liberty

I am a supporter of better education. But the president's proposed $500 million choice program, offering $1,000 vouchers to students who could apply them to public, private, or religious schools will undermine our national public school system.

It will deprive the public school system of funds and of the interest of the more involved parents that will transfer their children to private schools. It will dilute the independence of private schools with government regulations.

Private education means freedom from government control. Once tax money is involved regulation will inevitably follow, or else the government will be financing a system that is free to set rules for schools independent of the community's desires. LPO Martz, Aberdeen, Md.

Regarding the news article "Governors Stress Schools," Aug. 3: The wording of the governors' No. 1 education goal - "By the year 2000, all children in America will start school ready to learn" - appears to ignore that children coming to school have already learned much and are ready and eager to learn much more.

Perhaps the intent of the goal would be clearer if rewritten: Children in America will start school "ready to learn what schools want them to learn in the way schools want them to learn it." Lawrence Schlack, Kalamazoo, Mich. The authority of kids in court

The editorial "Kids, Parents, Politics," August 6 is well taken. It is horrible for foster and adoptive parents to see children languish in and out of foster homes waiting for parental rights to be terminated.

Why not allow children the right to a "divorce"?

But letting such a child "divorce" the parents puts a terrible burden of guilt on an immature, often psychologically scarred child. Nancy K. O'Connor, Nanty Glo, Pa. Praise for features

The Monitor's outstanding reputation for its fair and thorough coverage of major domestic and international events is well deserved. But it is pieces like the column "Keeping 'Em Down On the Farm" and the Home Forum page article "Memories and New York Stories," Aug. 11, that give the paper an outstanding quality.

These articles invoke a nostalgic reflection on the way things were and yet suggest that the values of the past continue to fulfill a contemporary need for simple pleasures and mutual helpfulness. Phillip H. Miller, Annandale, Va.

I was delighted to read the Home Forum page article "The Cheeky Dandelion," July 30, about a favorite plant of mine. Its jaunty invasion of suburban lawns, its beauty at all seasons, its yellow-orange-golden blooms - all of these virtues are extolled. Thank you for making room for these light touches in your publication. Jean Marburg, Falls Church, Va.

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