EPA is putting public health at stake

Regarding your Aug. 28 article "New EPA rule draws flak, smog": It is obvious the Environmental Protection Agency does not have protection of the environment at heart, allowing electrical plants to upgrade without improving their antipollution equipment.

They could do this indefinitely, virtually replacing a plant and leaving the obsolete equipment in place. An EPA committed to the environment could require that if an upgrade involves a major investment, it should be regarded as building a new plant, and a reduction in pollution should be made.

This illustrates what has been shown again and again - that the Bush administration is a bedfellow of the people it should be regulating, and works against the very people who voted for it. Public health is at stake.
Gene Douglas
El Reno, Okla.

In higher ed, a public-private pact

Your Aug. 26 article "The unkindest cuts" was accurate in reporting how $15.6 million in funding cuts were made by the University of Nebraska. Tenured professorships and entire departments have been eliminated, and students have gone elsewhere. This scenario is playing out at public colleges and universities across the country, as state legislatures drastically cut higher-education appropriations. But there is a solution that could help public university systems, state budgets, and individual students: When program cuts are necessary, cooperate with nearby private colleges and universities.

Your story didn't report that when the University of Nebraska-Lincoln was forced to cut its health and human performance program, UNL students and parents turned to Nebraska Wesleyan University (a nearby private institution) to provide the course work they needed. Nebraska Wesleyan now serves a number of these students and others from state universities affected by budget cuts.

This is just one example of how the nation's private colleges and universities can help states save money and provide the necessary educational programs for students.
Richard Ekman
President, Council of Independent Colleges

Work climate calls for new coalition

Reading the Aug. 29 article on the jobless recovery ("Mystery of the 'jobless recovery'") reinforces my belief that, since unions are no longer as effective as they once were, what is needed is a coalition of workers, modeled after AARP. It would charge minimal dues; be open to all workers; provide information to workers; and lobby state and federal agencies, legislators, and candidates. The old model of unions is no longer adequate for worker protection and representation. A new inclusive model is needed to be effective in today's world.
Bernard Haley Jr.
Rutland, Vt.

Bilingual is better

Regarding your Aug. 27 article "Bringing up baby bilingual": Bilingualism should not be the exclusive concern of parents from other countries who come to the United States and raise their children. Rather, it should be the concern of all. Our emerging global society will require that to be successful in virtually any profession, one must have the foreign-language skills to move among different cultures.

My wife and I enrolled our daughter in a dual-language public school in Phoenix, where two-thirds of students are Spanish-speaking. Our daughter has become fluent in Spanish, and Spanish-speakers in her class have developed the same fluency in English.

Her school is a model for how bilingual education can be achieved in this country. It is regrettable that educators in Arizona and elsewhere have failed to place sufficient emphasis on foreign-language instruction that can benefit all students.
William H. Carlile

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