Regarding the June 15 article, "Yoga, hip-hop ... this is PE?": This article on the changing nature of physical education in school brought up many good points. But it is unfair to blame the No Child Left Behind Act for crowding out physical education classes.
NCLB simply asks that primary schools bring their students up to grade level in reading and math, the keys to all learning. Schools that have not yet reached this goal must make adequate progress every year until they do.
The law also allows parents with children in chronically underperforming schools to enroll their children in afterschool classes or receive tutoring to get back on track. Done right, this should not have to cut into time spent on physical education.
I agree that more schools should offer such classes. Good fitness habits begun in childhood will yield a much higher quality of life as children grow older. In 2004-05, the US Department of Education awarded more than 230 grants worth nearly $69 million to districts to help them improve their physical education programs.
The one game we don't want our children to have to play is academic catch-up. Our children must win the race to become happy and productive adults. That is why we need the No Child Left Behind Act.
Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, US Department of Education
What direction is India going?
Regarding the June 26 article, "India's next test: spreading prosperity": The article is right that the biggest challenge for India is to spread out its prosperity, which is limited to some of the confined sectors of information technology, media, and software industries. The benefits of boom in these sectors have not reached the masses; rather, they are confined to a few cities.
In India, most of the population still lives in villages and depends on agriculture for their livelihood. Nothing substantial has been done for this sector in the past 15 years. People have moved toward big cities for small jobs, and they live in a very unhygienic and wretched condition there.
The rich and poor gap has widened, and there is an imbalance between urban and rural development. There is also an imbalance in the regional development as more development has taken place in the western part of the country than the eastern.
This imbalance in development gets reflected in the Maoist movement, which has made its presence felt in rural areas and is posing major challenges to the very existence of the Indian government in 13 states in the eastern part of the country.
India cannot prosper and become a developed nation by neglecting the above challenges.
The June 27 article, "Soft spot in boom: the 60 percent tied to India's farms," mentioned many times that a lot of people earn less than $1 a day. The article converts the earnings but does not convert the cost of living. A fulfilling meal costs less than 15 cents.
I am not saying $1 a day is good money, but that is enough to buy food, send kids to school, and pay your rent. Yes, they do not own two cars and a pickup, but that does not make them any less happy. Indian culture is different from American culture, and Indians do not derive happiness from what they own. People in the US should try to better understand Indians, and not look at them through American binoculars.
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