Single-sex schools reduce over-socializing and boost studies

Regarding your June 30 editorial, "Big test for single-sex public schools": Though it should be obvious that there is considerable politicizing of this issue on the basis of equality in educational quality, I believe the best reason, at least in the high school years, to separate the sexes is that American youth tend to oversocialize in school, and, as a result, academic performance suffers.

Let's not run away from the reality; both boys and girls need a learning environment where the focus is on learning and not on scoring socially with the opposite sex. This problem does not arise in many other cultures, but in US society it has altered the focus in the lives of high school age teens. Get it right: There will be plenty of time to party later. And school-age kids need to stay focused.
Abhi Buch
San Diego

A new American philanthropy

Regarding the June 28 article, "A new era for supercharged philanthropy": Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates know that the purpose of wealth is to change the world for the better, not to pass on that wealth to your children and grandchildren in some dynastic fashion. At the same time, President Bush wants to eliminate the estate tax in order to allow the wealthy to keep all their wealth for their heirs. There's a disconnect here. Thank goodness for Mr. Buffett and Mr. and Mrs. Gates – they are truly making a difference in the lives of millions of poor people. They are representing what is good in America.
Pat Bennett
Summit, N.J.

Religions coexisted peacefully in past

In general I applaud your June 27 editorial, "If the shoe fits." I have one bone to pick, however. What Muslim "antipathy toward Jews" exists is not ancient. It dates back about 60 years, to the takeover of Palestine by Jews coming from Europe. During the many centuries when Jews were persecuted by Christians, the Muslim world was a haven for them. Millions of Jews lived in peace in Muslim lands until the expulsion of the Palestinians. Somehow this long history has been forgotten in the struggle over Palestinian lands.
Karen Courtenay
Andover, Mass.

The Army isn't for nation building

Regarding the June 28 article, "How Iraq has changed War 101": It is clear that the Army is confused and frustrated by the lack of measurable progress and seeming inability to "win" what must initially have seemed like a relatively easy mission. The Army has never been trained and does not have the expertise for regime-change and nation-building missions. It is developing doctrine on the fly and trying to modify cold war military strategies to fit this purpose.

The disconnect is in trying to provide a military solution to an ideological problem. Where is the larger philosophical discussion about the definition of democracy and freedom and the compatibility of that governing system with Islam? Counterinsurgency training is like putting a finger in the dike: It's ultimately futile.
Whitney Selert
Sparks, Nev.

An example of selfless service

Regarding the June 27 article, "Children of convicts, shunned in China, find friendly refuge": Thank you for printing this. It is heartwrenching to see children being punished for the deeds of their parents, and further, by what appears to be such a selfish government.
Dorie Furman

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