Option of Adoption Overlooked by Teens
Regarding "Behind the Tragedy of Discarded Babies" (June 18): For the past five years I have been part of an adoption awareness program given in public high schools in New Jersey to over 4,000 teenagers. We use adoptive parents as speakers, explaining the options and rights for all parties - adoptive parent, adoptee, and birth parent.
Most of the teens we see have no idea that birth parents have the right to choose the adoptive parents and to have some continuing contact. After hearing our presentation and getting their many questions answered, many of them change their often negative views on adoption.
Granted adoption is only one option for a pregnant teen, but it's one that all teens should be aware of. Our small group of volunteers from our adoptive-parent support group will continue to do its best, but I wish that all high school health teachers would first learn about, then educate their students about, adoption as an option for either placing a child or becoming a parent. Any teacher unaware of how to do this could contact Adoptive Families of America (800-372-3300) for a list of local adoptive agencies.
Fed up with public schools
In response to "Rebel Parents See 'New-New Math' As A Big Minus" (July 2), it is because of problems such as this that I am home-schooling our son this year.
At my worst I know that I can do much better in educating my child than the public system has done. It is exciting to know that I can shape and mold my child's character and provide a top-notch education for him.
When I signed up for college courses this spring I was dismayed to learn that only one calculus class was offered. I wasn't able to take it due to class scheduling. However, there were about 15 remedial math courses scheduled.
This should serve as a huge warning signal that our children are graduating from high school not being able to go into college algebra. College faculty are forced to teach more and more remedial courses to bring students up to where they should be. Math isn't the only problem, there seems to be the same imbalance in English, with more remedial English offered than college-level classes.
Face it, the public school system isn't working anymore. It is time for parents to take a more aggressive stand about their children's education. Either do it themselves or work with officials to get things changed.
Fort Davis, Texas
Trout versus frogs
Regarding "Frog Decline Has Volunteers Hopping" (June 16): Anglers may be as much to blame as acid rain for the decline in frog populations throughout the United States.
State wildlife agencies routinely stock lakes and ponds with "game fish" (like trout) to attract anglers. But artificially introducing nonnative fish to local ecosystems takes its toll on native wildlife.
For example, until 30 years ago, Glacier National Park stocked its lakes with trout. The damage done is still evident: Trout have all but wiped out some microscopic animals, changing the entire food chain.
Biologists recently announced that the number of frogs in Yosemite National Park has declined dramatically since the early 1900s. One culprit: Trout, introduced in the lakes for sport fishers. They gobble up frog eggs and tadpoles like guppy food.
And a new study of the High Sierra lakes found that stocked trout have caused the population of the mountain yellow-legged frog to plummet; this frog is now considered qualified for listing as an endangered species. In fact, because of introduced fish, half of the native Sierra species of toads, frogs, and salamanders are in danger of disappearing.
Declining frog populations is just one reason fishing is an animal-unfriendly sport. For others, readers are welcome to write to PETA, 501 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
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