Turn off TV, turn on family life

Regarding Walter Podrazik's April 11 opinion piece "Go ahead, watch TV - and here's how": American children will spend more time on average this year in front of the tube (1,023 hours) than in school (900 hours). As a mountain of evidence - including the Nation's Reading Report Card 2000, released this month - shows, "watching many hours of television daily has a negative relationship to reading performance."

Mr. Podrazik's suggestions to watch less and watch smarter are right on target. TV-Turnoff Week, April 23-29, is a fun way to do just that. We hear time and again from kids and adults who participate that after a week of board games with the family, exploring the outdoors, talking with friends, and all-school sleepovers, television pales in comparison to the fun of real life.

It is that joy of life that motivates participants to watch less TV throughout the year. According to hundreds of responses to our follow-up surveys: 80 percent of respondents watch less TV and 42 percent watch more selectively after participating in TV-Turnoff Week.

Frank Vespe Washington Executive Director, TV-Turnoff Network

Money in the way of Kyoto Protocol?

In your April 10 editorial "The greening of Detroit" you correctly stated that the US is a signatory of the Kyoto Protocol. However, the US has not yet ratified the protocol, causing dismay in many circles.

Also, the editorial stated that, "... market competition will help reduce the need for the kind of government regulation that Kyoto would demand." This statement is short-sighted at best. Decentralization of the federal government is one thing. However, the protocol must not be brushed aside in the name of monied interests. Its main thrust is to foster global cohesiveness in protecting and preserving mother earth for the generations that will succeed us.

Tim Gotsch Champaign, Ill.

Guatemalan bishop's role questioned

The graffiti in the picture on your April 11 front page does indeed say "Gerardi lives." It's worth noting, however, that someone has scrawled underneath "in hell," which suggests there is still some debate in Guatemala about the bishop's role.

It is most unfortunate that the military has targeted religious figures in Central America who have spoken up about human rights.

Vernon Crawford Mississauga, Ontario

Low teacher pay is barrier

Thank you for your April 10 article "Luring new talent." As a certified teacher, I found your comments not only insightful but thought-provoking.

However, I have 14 years of experience in the military. I am an Air Force reservist. Had I remained on active duty, my annual pay would now be roughly $70,000, equal to what most of my friends in private industry are making. Had I entered teaching 14 years ago, my pay would be about $39,000 (in Colorado) - about what I currently make part time in the reserves.

I am unwilling to accept at mid-career the $25,000 that a brand new teacher makes. Why can't I be rewarded for the 14 years of leadership and life experience that I will bring to the classroom? When I asked if life experience is a factor, I was told, "No."

You are right that people do not enter teaching for the money, but I shouldn't have to make one-third of what my friends make. Better pay would help create a bridge for mid-career folks like me who would love to teach, but have a family to support.

Jay Learned Colorado Springs, Colo.

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(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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