Individualized Education, Not Standardized

Your emphasis on reporting issues in education is great, but it's hard to cover these topics in depth. "Bad Scores? Sure, but No Flunking" (June 10) hits the popular mountain tops, not offering many solutions.

Implicit in the article are the myths that grade levels are like clearly defined ascending steps. But, a typical heterogeneous fourth grade class, for example, will probably have kids performing basic skills from a second grade level to the seventh or eighth grade level.

Certainly there should be standards and accountability. But to use a one-shot "outside" test for determining advancement from one grade to another is a sure-fire way to ignite controversy, and it should.

Individualized instruction and assessment is the key, though not easy to implement. The requirements are competent teachers and principals, adequate instructional materials, a favorable teacher-pupil ratio, close interaction with parents, and assessment and reporting based on what is appropriate for the child. "Social Promotion" is negative in practice and connotation.

Grover J. Moore, Ed.D

Wolfeboro, N.H.

Moral Intuition

In response to Laura Bowers Foreman's Moral Dilemma in "The Dark Side of Intuition" (June 5), her intuition was absolutely correct. She was not being judgmental. From what she learned by visiting Tara's home, Kyra did not belong in that environment. And we are never wrong to keep our children out of potentially harmful environments.

We had a similar dilemma when our daughter cultivated a close friendship with a girl her freshman year of high school. When she asked to spend the night, we explained to her that her friend's family has different rules than ours - boys in the home overnight when parents were away, with beer and marijuana. We never gave her any indications we felt we were better than this family, or even that we were right and they were wrong.

There was never any questioning of our decision. The girls become inseparable friends, doing everything together, including slumber parties at our home. Four years later the friend said to our daughter, "You know, Nancy, I wanted to do a number of things I knew weren't right, but I didn't do them because I didn't want to lose your friendship." Go with your good intuitions!

Marion L. Marin

Santa Barbara, Calif.

Adoption awareness act

In the opinion piece "Promoting Adoption: A No-Lose Proposition" (June 5), Senators Spencer Abraham and Mary Landrieu have introduced the Adoption Promotion Awareness Act in the Senate to provide $25 million in grants to promote adoption in the US.

In principle, the act is a well-planned attempt to raise awareness about adoption. However, in practice it would limit a woman's right to choose an abortion by bombarding her with media announcements proclaiming that adoption is a better alternative than abortion. But for many young woman, an abortion is preferable to postponing their lives for nine months to place a child for adoption.

Senators Abraham and Landrieu cite that 1 million American couples are disappointed every year in their search to locate a child to adopt. But these are white couples searching for healthy white infants. According to recent surveys, there are currently 750,000 children in the nation's foster care systems - some of these children are minorities, older children, or sibling groups. Families searching for a child should consider adopting one of these children. Until permanent homes are found for the children currently languishing in foster care, there is no need to spend $25 million to bring any more unwanted children into this world.

Kirsten Albrecht

Los Angeles

President, The TransRacial Adoption Group

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