School - Not Parental - Choice in California

The Opinion page article ``Californians Weigh School-Choice System,'' Oct. 4, incorrectly identifies California's voucher initiative on the November ballot as the ``Parental Choice in Education'' initiative.

The initiative provides for school choice, not parental choice. Section b.7. of the initiative states clearly: ``the State shall disburse the student's scholarship funds ... directly to the school ....'' The choice of who to take is left to the school. As the author points out, schools are allowed under the proposal to reject students based on gender, religion, academic or physical ability, or family income.

The author also comments on the fact that choice programs offered in other parts of the country are not being discussed in this campaign. I think the reason for this is the scope of the California proposal, which is a constitutional amendment, locking this particular choice alternative into the state Constitution and making it nearly impossible to change. It is not a pilot project targeted to needy students that can be modified as necessary. Advocates of public education as a foundation of our democracy are appropriately concerned about the effect this widespread proposal would have on society.

Californians would be best served by carefully reading Prop. 174 before voting and asking themselves if it really addresses the concerns expressed by its proponents. Since the article was written, Gov. Pete Wilson has come out in opposition to Prop. 174. Meg Stallard, Woodland, Calif. Labor should read Adam Smith

The author of a recent editorial ``Labor in Balance,'' Sept. 13, feels ``labor'' should be protected from permitting a company, business, or anyone running a business from hiring replacement workers for unions that strike and will not sit down to negotiate.

As a former president of an AFL union, I can state that it takes two sides to reach an agreement that is reasonable. Unions have got to realize that the capitalist system has been the only one that has provided the quality of life we enjoy here in America.

Sure, there have been abuses on both sides, but to grant labor the power to close or bankrupt a company because the owner will not meet its demands is wrong. C. R. Foley, Peoria, Ill. Buttafuoco redux

Regarding the Opinion page article ``Politics and Dignity,'' Sept. 17: Vice President Al Gore Jr. did not demean his office by appearing on David Letterman's show. He actually gave a useful demonstration of why there is so much waste in government. And he told the best ``Al Gore'' joke on himself I've heard. Judy Little La Verne, Calif.

I applaud the Opinion page article ``Politics and Dignity,'' Sept. 17. As a loyal Democrat I agree that Mr. Gore should avoid clowning around on TV. But the author's leap from Gore's faux pas to President Clinton's persistently anemic ratings is unwarranted. There are sound reasons for this tepid response to Mr. Clinton: first, the partisan campaign that continues apace after his inauguration; second, Ross Perot's demagogic role as spoiler; third, Clinton's activist presidency that keeps him in hot water. Patricia Wilcox, Binghamton, N.Y. Gun control, NRA style

I have noted and appreciated Danziger's insight, but his cartoon that pictures a citizen, who is apparently about to be the victim of a drive-by shooting, shouting, ``Don't shoot! I'm the NRA! I'm on your side!,'' Sept. 28, was an affront to me personally and to millions of like-minded United States citizens.

I am a combat veteran of World War II and have completed more than 40 years in the volunteer fire department of my community. I am also a longtime member of the National Rifle Association.

Danziger today equated me and millions of law-abiding gun owners, NRA members or not, with the minority of our population who would use a gun or any other weapon in a vicious act of lawlessness. He is proclaiming that I and my fellow NRA members condone drive-by shootings and other senseless acts of violence. This is just one more bit of disinformation flooding the media at the behest of the antigun groups. J. Lynn,Camano Island, Wash.

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