Can We Blame METCO for Boston's Schools?

Thank you for the thoughtful article "Black Parents Resist Calls to End Voluntary Busing," May 27, on the current publicity surrounding the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO) program in Massachusetts. As METCO parents of two sons, we are concerned about Boston mayoral aide Ted Landsmark's attack on this program.

METCO is not solely a Boston school program. Its dual mission is to benefit both urban minority students and suburban students who have chosen to take part in the program. If suburban residents felt there were nothing to be gained from the program, they would not participate. METCO could not exist year after year without their support.

Why are METCO students and their families being used as scapegoats to explain away the continued failure of Boston's public schools? Are Mr. Landsmark's remarks a trial balloon being floated by someone more powerful to gauge public support for METCO?

If METCO is phased out, which according to law cannot be done until the last child who enters graduates, many parents will either enroll their children in private or parochial schools. Many will leave the city. We will do whatever we can to guarantee that our children receive the best education they can because it is the key to their future. We will fight to keep METCO alive. Larry Green, Dorchester, Mass. Barbara Green Issues behind grade inflation

As students completing our first year at Oberlin College, we disapprove of the accusatory tone directed toward American students in the editorial "Tarnishing the Honor Roll," May 10. The fact that an A-plus is not worth what it was 50 years ago is not the fault of students today; grade inflation has been caused by complicated social and political circumstances, not by an inherent lack of drive in students. Motivated students would work harder if teachers demanded more.

Obviously our school system needs improvement. Most students are not taught the importance of education by their families. The government also is responsible, as it tends to stress defense over education.

The country must dedicate itself to improving its schools and controlling grade inflation. The task of improving the system does not fall exclusively on the shoulders of any sector of society, and the public should be weary of adopting a "kids these days" attitude. This interpretation of the educational crisis will only breed inaction. Katherine S. McCall, Oberlin, Ohio Rebecca A. Gopoian Issues behind grade inflation

Your May 10 editorial misses a salient point: Colleges are attracting only the committed student. Aware of the obligations of their education, students now make the extra effort to produce or drop out altogether, when they must pay $25,000 per year. Claire Hess, Raleigh, N.C. No study for its own sake

Regarding the article "Deming: We've Been Sold Down the River on Competition," May 3: As a junior in high school, I feel it would be disastrous to remove our objective method of rating performances. If anything, we need a more uniform technique of evaluating students' progress. As in government and business, education must be able to analyze itself through objective means.

Grades allow students to set their sights on a target. It is unrealistic to expect students to set goals for themselves simply for the sake of knowledge. After responding to good grades, they will realize the benefit of knowledge as a tool for survival and success. Will Woodward, Seattle, Wash.

Due to an editing mistake, the May 4 letter to the editor by Humphrey Tonkin, president of the University of hartford in Connecticut, contained and inaccuracy. The letter should have read: "As a primarily undergraduate institution, we do not make much use of graduate students as teachers...."

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