Government-funded preschool for all?

Regarding the Dec. 17 article "Preschool for all: Has time come?": I agree with Darcy Olson's statement, "People say education is too important to be left to parents."

While this may have been a ludicrous statement several years ago when a larger portion of our parents actually spent time with their kids and began their education (including character education) at home, it has been my experience as a teacher that kids in general must rely on educators to be their "parents."

Underprivileged children could benefit from a funded program to begin their education and start learning social skills from loving and caring professionals. Rich public-school bashers like Oklahoma's governor are against such programs that not only increase the quality of our public schools, but level the playing field so that families can experience social mobility through the success of their children. God bless the caring parent, but also the teachers who try to take up the slack for the less fortunate.

David Matthews Jenks, Okla.

There is a sad assumption in Al Gore's proposal for universal preschool.

Frances Campbell was quoted as saying, "Affluent parents tend to provide this as a matter of course, and it has not been available to less-affluent children."

It should be pointed out that the key word, and perhaps value, in this statement is "affluent." Perhaps those less affluent children are not in a preschool because their parents have decided the greatest gift of all is for one parent to stay home and nurture those children up to school age. Of course, this may limit the family to one income which is surely not the path to "affluence." Kudos to those who value their children over increasing their income.

Michael Thomas Ferndale, Calif.

Globalization not always rosy

In his Dec. 16 column "Globalization myths," Murray Weidenbaum laments that some mainstream environmentalist groups do not buy the propaganda about the wonderful global economic picture painted by the WTO. He must agree with Mike Moore (WTO Director-General) who stated that those of us who oppose WTO policies are "a few deranged misfits on the edges of obscure universities."

I doubt if Dr. Weidenbaum has any problem with the fact that the majority of the US delegates to the WTO meeting in Seattle were lobbyists for large corporations. Must I, a very lowly unradical student, be the one to inform him that not all thoughtful people believe his sermon that the "we-say-so" corporations of the world know what is best for us? Dr. Weidenbaum, I respect you as an economist and have learned much from your writings, but on this issue your are simply wrong.

Jay Putt Setauket, N.Y.

Honoring Hanukkah

I just wanted to thank you for the Dec. 3 article "Feast of Dedication." I thought it was a wonderful tribute to Hanukkah, and learned some things about the Jewish Feast of Dedication I had not known before. I cut it out and enclosed it in a Hanukkah card to a good friend of mine. She sent me a note saying that it was a "beautiful" article, and she shared it at her synagogue.

Shirley Jones Elsah, Ill.

Mr. Looney on target

I found Doug Looney's article on this years football bowls hit the mark ("Fix for boring bowls? Make 'em real playoffs," Dec. 17). Another good piece of work, which I now look for.

Gerard Burgos Denver, Colo.

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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