Letters to the Editor

Readers write about education in the Middle East, media's role during war, and trends in college enrollment.

Focus on improving education in Middle East

Regarding John Cooley's March 17 Opinion piece, "What the Middle East needs most": Recent kidnappings by terrorists have revealed that the kidnappers knew nothing of how Christianity is divided into many forms – the terrorists knew nothing of the Protestant and Roman Catholic differences – or even Christianity's moderate and fundamentalist factions.

Christians, too, should remember that there are many divisions within Islam, the main ones being between Shiite and Sunni.

Most religions are not monolithic, and that leaves much room for negotiation, tolerance, and mutual understanding.

When I served as chaplain in the world's second-largest (at that time) prison, I noticed that large numbers of young, ordinary – even moral and honest young people were there simply because they had not been educated enough. Education and ethical training are the keys to a better society.

Henry G. Rutledge
Fair Oaks, Calif.

Regarding John Cooley's recent Opinion piece on education in the Middle East: The article addresses a sad reality of hundreds of millions of people in the Middle East who live below the poverty line. These people for one reason or another do not get to reap the benefits of the ridiculous oil prices. They don't have access to good education and they don't have access to good living standards. A good education system that is rooted in their cultural and historical preference is a pivotal starting point for development.

Many Egyptian children are educated in madrassah-like schools. This is the only available option for the vast majority of underprivileged people. The current educational system for the outcast is outdated and obsolete, and just adds to social inequality.

Sayed El Baz
Frederick, Md.

Media should support the war effort

In response to your March 19 editorial, "Five years on: media's role in Iraq": I grew up during World War II when the media supported the war effort instead of undermining it as the press has done since Korea. F.D.R. would have had most of the media tried for treason if they acted the way they do today, aiding and abetting the enemy. Is it any wonder the terrorists time violence to influence the public opinion?

Carol J. Schultz
Green Valley, Ariz.

Answers to the high price of college

Regarding the March 19 article, "Why good students don't reach college": Did I detect a bias against education at community colleges? Statements about students who "ultimately settled for a local community college" would seem to indicate that nothing but a four-year school is an acceptable college. Community colleges provide a sound college-level education.

As increasingly higher tuitions at four-year schools stress even good family income, and states are finding it more and more difficult to adequately fund higher education, it seems as if it can only be sound public policy to focus the first two years of college at the less-costly community level and leave the third and fourth years and graduate level studies for traditional expensive colleges.

Bill Barrons
Foster City Calif.

Regarding the recent article on college enrollments: The fact is education is prohibitively costly in America. To counter this, it is essential to introduce "earn while you learn" programs so that students can earn their tuition and boarding fees.

Kunuthur Srinivasa Reddy
Andhra Pradesh, India

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 may appear in print or on our website, Mail letters to Readers Write and Opinion pieces to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115. E-mail letters to Letters and Opinion pieces to OpEd.

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