I read with interest your Feb. 17 article "Parents: Don't Punish Schools." Of course, parental approval of No Child Left Behind is vital to its success. I'm glad most parents see the law's goals as important.
But some of the questions in the poll are misleading and reflect a deep misunderstanding of the law. For example, schools that need improvement are given extra federal resources to help children get the quality education they deserve. They are not "sanctioned." Under the law, states set the standards for quality teaching and accountability, and states, not the federal government, decide the content of the tests.
The article also incorrectly states that the Opinion Research Corporation's poll is the first since the law was passed. There have been several polls, including one by Americans for Better Education that found No Child Left Behind is viewed favorably by a majority of parents (54 to 23 percent), that parents in public schools favor the law (by a 61 to 22 margin), and that parents favor raising standards and accountability more than funding (60 to 30 percent).
No Child Left Behind makes education more successful, inclusive, fair, and accessible, not by lowering standards but by lifting the school systems to higher expectations.
Secretary, US Department of Education
Regarding your Feb. 17 editorial "Shipping Out White-Collar Jobs": Yes, reduced costs mean lower prices for products and increased profitability, but doesn't moving jobs overseas decrease the potential market for those products?
I remember reading how Henry Ford was one of the first to increase the wages of his workers to a reasonable level so that they could afford to buy cars for themselves. This was good for the workers (they could own a car) and good for the company (they sold more cars).
If Americans continue to lose jobs or have underpaying jobs, they will cease to be a powerful market for American or foreign products. Will workers in developing countries, paid lower wages, be able to buy the products they make? Lots of good jobs paying good wages to middle- and lower-income Americans ensures a strong market for American goods and the overall prosperity of business.
Judith H. Hedrick
While I'm an advocate of free enterprise, my objection to the current wave of US jobs going overseas is based on the degree to which it is really a question of "penny wise, pound foolish" for US companies, and for the nation as a whole.
Outsourcing is an important option for any company. There is a point, however, at which companies lose adequate control over key processes, and even face a decreasing pool of qualified suppliers.
On a national basis, we are already facing a situation in which we simply don't have critical skills available in the national economy. In this circumstance, US companies are grooming their competition, and simultaneously ensuring that it has nowhere to develop except overseas. This is not intelligent in the longer term.
About 15 years ago, the displaced manufacturing workers were told to prepare for new careers in computer science. So we did. What we didn't foresee was the advent of the "global economy."
Now, all those wonderful new jobs are going to India. Are there any newly acquired skills that will not fall prey to the same outsourcing?
The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.
Any letter accepted will appear in print and on www.csmonitor.com .
Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to Letters .