Universities should have equal access to federal funds

In reference to the Aug. 1 article, "One university's key to R&D – the right senator," on Sen. Thad Cochran's (R) ability to get $37 million in R&D funding for Mississippi State University, I request that you broaden your perspective in higher-education research funding. The vast majority of federal funding is awarded to the top 25 research universities.

There are literally hundreds of other universities across America that serve many times the number of students and constituents than these 25. MSU is one of those that is essentially ignored on a regular basis in terms of federal funds. If equality means sameness, then there is no equality in higher-education research.

I love competition and rewarding excellence; however, balance in the use of public funds should be sought.
Kelly Deal
Raleigh, N.C.

National service should be required

Kevin Ryan's July 26 Opinion piece, "Enhance force levels? Look to immigrants," which suggests we recruit immigrants into our US armed forces, piqued my interest as a first-generation Irish-American and a second-generation paratrooper.

My late father, Thomas Patrick Raleigh, was not yet a US citizen when he was drafted in 1952. Compelled to leave the Irish neighborhoods of Troy in upstate New York, he served in racially segregated Kentucky with men from across the country. His tour with the 11th Airborne Division was the defining experience in his life as an American.

Recruiting shortfalls should concern us. A nation unwilling to defend itself cannot lay claim to greatness. The men and women who volunteer to serve in our armed forces bear for us a disproportionate burden. Rather than outsourcing our national security, as Mr. Ryan essentially suggests, we might consider instead the proposition that citizenship carries with it an obligation to perform some form of national service.

Counterterrorism is a manpower intensive undertaking. We ought to consider implementing a system of compulsory national service to help secure the homeland, one that might mandate service in federal or state security agencies while simultaneously preserving the all-volunteer character of the core fighting forces. In the process, we would be molding a new generation of citizens for whom duty, honor, and country are more than words.
Thomas J. Raleigh
Democratic Candidate,
US House of Representatives,
21st Congressional District,
State of New York

Chores a vital part of childhood

Regarding Xanthe Scharff's Aug. 15 Opinion piece, "From the page to the schoolroom: Monitor readers send six Malawian girls to school": The story mentions that the girls now go to school. That's great. One of the girls mentions that she doesn't have to do chores anymore because she's going to school. Children all over the world have chores in both developing and developed countries. It's part of social development that teaches them responsibility toward their home and community and helps build trusting relationships and social capital.

By removing that completely, you are removing an essential part of their development. There is no mention of what impact this has had on other aspects of the family (i.e. a burden put on the working parents). Take the children to school, but don't take them away from the norm.
Sitinga Kachipande
Gaithersburg, Md.

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