Bilingual education works in Europe

Apparently the editor who wrote the headline "Bilingual education: A Berlin wall for Turkish children" (Dec. 21) did not understand much of the actual article. The headline strongly implies that bilingual education for Turkish-speaking children in Germany doesn't work, but later in the article it states that only 1 percent of Turkish children are actually in bilingual education in Germany and "there are few statistics" to back up the claims of critics.

I have reviewed the results of European studies of bilingual education in my book, "Condemned without a trial: Bogus arguments against bilingual education" (Heinemann, 1999). These studies include Turkish children as well as immigrant children from other countries who live in Europe and participate in bilingual programs. The results consistently show that those in bilingual programs acquire the language of the host country as well as, and usually better than, children in "immersion" programs.

Stephen Krashen Los Angeles Professor of Education University of Southern California

I'll leave my decorations up, thank you

I was somewhat disturbed to realize that your Dec. 27 "Neighbor to Neighbor" column seems to be suggesting that President-elect Bush designate a national day to remove our Christmas decorations. Not only would that be a problem for the "We left our Christmas wreath up until Easter" contest which is undertaken here each year, but the date the column suggests, namely New Year's Day, is right smack in the middle of the 12-day celebration that is Christmas.

Difficult as this may be, some people actually want to leave decorations up until Twelfth Night which is, after all, the end of the Christmas season. On the other hand, most people who do choose to decorate until Jan. 6 often do not put anything up until a week before Christmas. As a result of decorating at what many would consider a late date, I must admit that I am always shocked when I see Christmas trees placed on the curb on Dec. 26. The season is simply too joyful to let it go so quickly.

Catherine Ellsworth Cooperstown, N.Y.

I grew up Episcopalian in a neighborhood in Omaha that was predominantly Catholic and Episcopalian.I yearn for the old tradition of lighting the Advent wreath during the four weeks of preparation before Christmas and putting up the Christmas decorations shortly before Christmas.

The Christmas season actually begins Christmas Eve and continues through Epiphany (Jan. 6), the day that celebrates the visitation of the Magi - hence the 12 days of Christmas. Epiphany was the day we took down our decorations.Still, even back then, non-Catholic/Episcopalian classmates would ask why we didn't have our decorations up soon after Thanksgiving or why we left them up until Epiphany.

Michael Massey Topeka, Kan.

Well done, Doug Looney

Doug Looney has done a great job for The Christian Science Monitor and his weekly sports column will be missed. Mr. Looney's extensive knowledge of sports was expressed in intelligent, perceptive commentary that affirmed the value and purpose of sports in contemporary society.

I particularly enjoyed Looney's reports from the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney. His report on the opening ceremony of the Olympics - entitled "There's no time like now" (Sept. 18) - captured the exuberance and joy of one of last year's most important sporting events.

Alistair Budd Elsah, Ill.

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