Regarding "Summer school despite rising role faces major cuts" (May 22): Your article addressed the issue of tax reductions causing the elimination of summer-school programs. This is not the way to go. My 15- year-old has failed ninth grade for two years in a row. He has learning disabilities that interfere with his ability to keep up with his classes. The school has been unable to accommodate his needs during the school year.
The one way I found to try to handle this situation is to pay $320 per class for him to take summer school. He had to do this for middle school. Being a single parent of four, I found it hard financially. But in these classes, all the kids had to do to pass summer school was show up and watch movies. This system is a joke. Funding should not be taken away from summer school programs, but maintained in an effort to improve them and make them more available for all who need them.
Regarding "Youth offenders sue state over tough lockup" (May 13): The California Youth Authority (CYA) is committed to delivering quality education services to students whether those students are in lockup for being disruptive, or working cooperatively together in a classroom setting. Schooling is mandatory for all nongraduates. CYA delivers a minimum of 240 minutes of education a day to youthful offenders who have not yet earned a high school diploma, and supplemental services for students with special education needs.
In the CYA, if the youthful offender cannot come to the classroom, teachers go to the students either to their living units or to the special program areas to provide education services. This involves placing disruptive youthful offenders in a small open-air cell in the living unit. These students are there because of predictable or disruptive behavior, such as assaulting teachers and other students.
During the 2001-2002 school year, of the 650 students who received education services through the high school at the Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility (Chad) in Stockton, Calif., less than 10 percent were temporarily placed in special program areas for their protection and the protection of other students and teachers.
Our education triumphs come in the numbers: In the 2001 school year, 73 students earned high school diplomas and 44 earned a GED at the Chad facility. Hundreds of other students earn similar achievements at the 14 other CYA camps and institutions.
David P. Crosson
Stockton, Calif.California Youth Authority
Superintendent, Education Services Branch
Regarding "State of the world's children" (May 10): The UN Special Session on Children gave us some cause for cheer world infant mortality rates have decreased since 1990, with 3 million fewer deaths each year. Yet your article shocks us with news that of 100 kids born today, 17 will never attend school, and of those attending school, 25 will never reach fifth grade.
Furthermore, in Africa, south of the Sahara, where infant mortality rates are highest, 1 child in 6 will die before age 5. This statistic is almost unchanged since 1990, and is about 30 times the rate in the industrialized world.
These statistics are appalling, especially when most deaths are preventable. Why should we care about these statistics? For one, the CIA has stated that infant mortality is a good indicator of political instability. The uneducated boy grows into an alienated man with no future, and becomes a willing recruit to a terrorist group. We in the wealthy US should lead the way in helping the world's kids, and work toward increasing funding for these children and their parents.
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