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French Laws Aim To Curb Money's Powerful Role In Elections

The front-page article ''French Campaign With US Style,'' April 18, is an interesting piece, but the author fails to see the true reasoning behind the French reluctance to use television in political campaigns.

It is not really television per se that is the target of strict French laws limiting its use in electoral campaigns; it is the influence of money upon elections. Allowing unregulated use of television in campaigns gives enormous power to influence public opinion to candidates who have a lot of money, to the detriment of those who have little of it.

In order to minimize the role played by money, the law attempts to make sure that all presidential candidates have equal access to free time on television. Paid advertisements are forbidden. Candidates for office in the French Parliament are not allowed to use radio and television. TV stations are free to interview candidates as they wish but they are expected to maintain a balance between them (an unwritten rule they often don't follow). All of this has little to do with the role of television and a lot to do with the role of money.

Jean-Francois Briere

Albany, N.Y

Associate professor, Department of French Studies

State University of New York

Give 'gifted' more programs

The article ''Should 'Gifted' Get Special Education Track?'' April 10, points out that gifted programs serve less than 5 percent of the student population, and so their budgetary worth is often in question. By comparison, few people question when learning-disabled students receive thousands of dollars worth of individual programming each year.

While we acknowledge the societal responsibility and benefit of caring for the mentally handicapped, we should pay similar attention to students with exceptional talent.

Our classrooms, our economy, and our neighborhoods benefit when we help a gifted student. Rather than curse our best and brightest with mediocrity, we should be expanding gifted programs to include a larger percentage of our invaluable progeny.

Bradley G. Darrington

Helena, Mont.

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