Regarding your Nov. 18 article "A crisis looms for some North Dakota schools": Some rural districts in Alaska are also suffering from the inability to find qualified teachers, as well as the inability to transport students to a school that has qualified teachers, under the rules of No Child Left Behind. The federal government created the law, is enforcing the law, but is not providing enough funding to help the states fulfill all the new requirements this law has put into place. If the federal government has $87 billion to send to Iraq, how about sending $8.7 billion (a rough increase of only $200 per student) to public schools to help them meet these goals?
It is not only in rural areas where these criteria are making hiring difficult. In urban districts like Denver, there are shortages of qualified teachers in many fields, particularly math, science, special education, and bilingual education. The federal government must adequately fund the laws that it insists on passing, or stay out the education business.
In John Hughes's Nov. 19 Opinion "Is anyone actually hearing what Bush is saying?", he makes the common mistake of those who are prowar and/or pro-Bush by misrepresenting the antiwar movement. Mr. Hughes states: "The British protesters against Bush already enjoy stable democracy. Nevertheless their prime minister, Tony Blair, has paid a high political price for voicing the same ambitions as Bush for the world's oppressed." Hughes wrongly assumes that everyone - the protestors in particular - accept the viewpoint that Blair and Bush led us to invade Iraq in order to bring democracy to the oppressed.
Those against the war believe that spreading democracy is a noble goal but doubt Bush's motivations. If we were really looking to free the oppressed in the world, there are many other places where we can do much more good and be welcomed by the population - such as in Africa or Central Asia. Furthermore, Bush and Blair justified the war primarily using the argument that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, and only after no such weapons were found suggested the war was fought primarily to free oppressed Iraqis.
Tariq B. Fancy
Regarding Jennifer Howland's Nov. 17 Opinion "Reconciling the cyber-playground with serious business." Ms. Howland makes interesting points, yet the thought process is a bit flawed. Intellectual property rights are an important part of our society. Without them, music, art, books, and film would slowly but surely cease to exist. The income of songwriters, artists, engineers, assistants is being dramatically reduced either by reduced royalty checks or by lay-offs.
You say that intellectual property on the Internet has been free. The difference is that the information is being distributed with the permission of the author, who is being compensated by the distributor. When someone takes one of my songs and distributes it to thousands of other people without my permission, that is money that's not being paid to me, nor to those who worked on the song. Countless artists and writers are going to be silenced by this distribution model.
I think technology is important, and I welcome advances in the methods of distributing music and film and art. However, it needs to be balanced with the need for those creating art to make a living. I think the music industry has been slow in providing legal viable alternatives like iTunes, Music Store, and Napster 2.0. However, these alternatives do now exist, and they are wonderful ways of finding new artists.
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