More parental involvement, not funding, key to higher SATs

Cincinnati school activist Rick Friedman seems to have his thinking cap on backward when he says, "Better-paid teachers yield better overall teachers. Better teachers yield better students. Better students yield higher scores. Higher scores yield a greater demand for people moving into the district." ("The higher the SAT scores, the more the house is worth," April 28.)

A more accurate description might be that higher socioeconomic parents yield students who score well on tests. These parents insist that money be spent on classy schools that employ better-paid teachers, which then attract more high socioeconomic parents.

The real estate industry capitalizes on this phenomenon and the result is the continued flight from America's inner cities to the ring of suburbs that surrounds them.
Larry Schlack
Kalamazoo, Mich.

I am so sick of people equating quality education with more school money. The kids who succeed have parents who are involved; the more involved parent almost always has a higher education, a better job, and more parenting skills - and that equals kids with top-scoring SATs.

The Bush administration can continue to attack teachers and public schools all it wants. The cure for poor students is to help educate the parents to be better parents. Until the country realizes this, there is a witch hunt on for the wrong "witch." And it's a big waste of money.
Valerie Kantner
Wayne, Mich.

Parenthood as rehabilitation for convicts

I grew up with the idea that prisons were supposed to rehabilitate inmates so that they could return to society as contributing citizens. In this context, I was intrigued by your April 27 editorial "Not Leaving Ex-Cons in the Lurch," and would note that many inmates also are parents.

For parent-inmates, I would urge states to consider an intervention that has the potential to help both parents and their children - one that may improve prison behavior, reduce recidivism, and improve their children's quality of life along with their developmental outcomes. It is based on the notion of parenthood as rehabilitation.

What I have in mind is parenting programs that would enhance all possible positive contacts (e.g. telephone access, letters, "virtual visits," on-site visits) between inmate parents and their children.

In my view, not only would these programs provide parents with a responsible role while in prison, but they also would give both parents and children something to look forward to upon release.
Gordon E. Finley

Photo IDs for voters

Regarding your April 27 editorial "Picture IDs at the polls" about requiring voters to present photo identification: I think this is the best idea to come down the pike in a long time. I'm all for it. Anybody who is against it has something to hide.
Louis T. Luca, Jr.
Haworth, N.J.

I am an election superintendent in Georgia and support the requirement for fewer forms of identification and the use of a photo. We have had numerous issues of fraudulent registrations from people trying to register more than once.

In addition, the difficulty of asking our poll workers (most are 70 years old or more) to become experts in determining what constitutes a proper identification - from the 17 forms that were allowed - is ridiculous. In the most recent poll in Georgia, 80 percent of the people were in favor of photo IDs and this support crossed age, ethic, and political party lines.
Gary Smith
Cumming, Ga.

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