The Importance of Learning a Second Language

Regarding the front-page article ''Test Time for Schooling Across US-Mexico Line,'' March 7: Most of us who grew up in the United States never felt an urgency to learn another language. This has always been regrettable. Ideally all of our children should learn a second language at an early age. To earn a high-school diploma, students should be able to demonstrate some level of foreign-language proficiency. Children whose families speak a language besides English are a step ahead.

The concerns I hear most expressed over multicultural and bilingual education are (1) that children are being educated in other languages without ever learning English, and (2) the cost burden of dealing with children speaking many languages in some communities is so great it interferes with the solution of other problems. In an ideal world we might have a bilingual requirement for all students, any second language accepted. One approach would be to pair families from different cultures to teach language to each other's children a few hours a week. Columbus, New Mexico, and Palomas, Mexico, already have those aspects of an ideal world.

Martha Schroeder Medfield, Mass.

Concealed-weapons law could increase violence

Regarding the editorial ''Guns and Safety,'' March 1: I agree that concealed weapons could lead to an increase in violence and unnecessary accidents.

Even though a training course is required to carry a concealed weapon, it doesn't necessarily ensure public safety. I grew up in a home where guns and hunting were part of life. My dad had me attend training courses that taught me how to properly handle a gun. He taught me to respect not only guns but life itself.

When everyone begins to carry a concealed weapon wherever they choose, that respect is lost. It's not the gun that is the cause of violence, it's the person holding it. When a person is provoked or angered, there is no way of knowing what limits that person is willing to go beyond.

We are guaranteed the right to keep and bear arms but there should be moderation in all things. An unrestricted right to bear arms could eventually infringe on the rights of others to feel secure. There is a time and a place for weapons, and public settings are not the place to carry a concealed weapon.

Michelle Benner Rexburg, Idaho

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