GOP doesn't appeal to this moderate
Amy E. Black's Sept. 2 commentary, "To survive, GOP must stop infighting and appeal to moderates," presented a pat-on-the-back view of the Republican Party. She wrote of shared credit for legislative victories and cited polls that point to the GOP's potential among moderates.
As a moderate Democrat, my perception is that the Republican Party is bent on obstructionism, sees bipartisanship as a dirty word, and is primarily concerned with a personal vendetta against the president. I increasingly see little difference between the tea party and mainstream Republicans. But the bigger problem facing America today is the "money culture" that is rotting our democracy.
George P. LaMarsh
North Haven, Conn.
Unfair comparisons for US education
Regarding the Sept. 2 cover story, "Global lessons for US schools": The media continues to pick up on how badly the United States fared in the results of the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment test.
To compare the large US educational system and its 50 diverse states with small homogeneous countries like Finland or South Korea faults the comparison from the beginning. The article asks, "What can get America to the Finnish line?" Answers appear to neglect the needs of America's diverse students: the English language learner, the immigrant student, the "latchkey" student, the abused student, the homeless student, the student who believes school is punishment, the bullied student, the hungry student. Who is failing – the schools, the teachers, the educational systems, or the families?
The article cites Stanford University's Linda Darling-Hammond, who states correctly that the US is "the only country in the world that tests every child every year." We do care. In so many other nations, poor and handicapped children are ignored by their governments. Considering the challenges many students face, American teachers, generally speaking, do a mighty good job. Education is a 24/7 experience.
Lake Almanor, Calif.