Homeschooled students find diversity

Congratulations on your recent articles on homeschooling ("Where the school is - home," and accompanying articles, Oct. 10). I have been homeschooled all my life, and I found the articles very fair and honest. You quote someone asking, "In a diverse society, do we want people who haven't dealt with people who are different from them?" Your source doesn't seem to realize that this is one of the stronger arguments in favor of homeschooling.

Children in public schools are grouped by skill level, and so spend half the day with people who are not much different from them; homeschoolers have no such restriction. In my experience, homeschoolers participate in numerous activities, through which they meet and interact with a variety of people.

Peter Catlin Webster, N.Y.

A two-party race plods along

While bipartisan changes in the debate format may be interesting, the real change needed is the inclusion of all the candidates who could technically win. That would mean Ralph Nader, Pat Buchanan, and Harry Browne. Why are the Democrats and Republicans so fearful of our hearing other viewpoints? And for that matter, what gives these politicians the right to exclude them?

Anyone accepting federal funds should be obligated to appear in a set number of debates. Anyone else receiving federal money has to accept it on the government's terms. Why not politicians?

G.T. Slade San Francisco

For such an astute political observer, columnist Godfrey Sperling misses the real reason for the yawning over the presidential race ("Too much yawning on the final stretch," Oct. 10). It's not the strong economy or voter cynicism. It's the two candidates.

Basically we have two second stringers quarterbacking the show, neither of which can score, so the fans are leaving the stadium. The alumni (special interests) are calling the shots, and the coaches (the two parties) are too weak to pass up the money. The first stringers (if there are any) benched themselves because the game has gotten too rough.

On the other hand, Harry Truman probably would have been considered a third or fourth stringer but was inserted into the game because of the death of a first-rate quarterback. He came off the field a winner. Maybe one of these guys can do it.

George Krusz Punta Gorda, Fla.

Artifacts: handle with care, if at all

Your Oct. 10 article "You can help to piece together the past" does us all (archaeologists and the public) a disservice by encouraging private collections which destroy archaeological evidence of prehistoric and historic cultures.

Finding artifacts and sites is important to professional and even avocational archaeologists, but the most important information is gained by context.

Encouraging artifact collecting and "owning" a piece of the past is not advocated by any professional archaeologist or historian.

More than one private collection has eventually made its way to the dumpster or the yard sale or the local flea market, or was sent to a local museum without information describing the artifact or where it was found. Now that really is throwing away history.

I wish your article had emphasized the numerous opportunities for those interested in archeology to find a professional archeologist or contact his or her state historic preservation office.

Anyone can volunteer to help find, record, and preserve our cultural resources.

Teresa Paglione Auburn, Ala. USDA Cultural Resources Specialist

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