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Two Seemingly Unrelated Items

June 02, 1985

I opened my Times the other morning (May 24) and read two seemingly unrelated items that in fact pose an issue in bold relief.

One was the controversy in the letters column about ethnic and sex balance on Los Angeles high school scholar teams. The other was on the business page and was entitled, "Japan Seen 'Overtaking' U.S. in '85."

America has long had a tradition of putting down scholars as "nerds" or whatever the pejorative term was at the time. The perpetrators of the ethnic and sex balance edict are only perpetuating that tradition.

Enter the concern about Japan overtaking us economically. Do you think the Japanese have any ambivalence about academic excellence? No way! And that is why they're overtaking us.

I truly believe that while America is preoccupied with building bombs and missiles to confront the Soviet Union, we are losing the economic struggle because of the sad state of our public schools.

And before anyone hurls a "racist" or "sexist" taunt my way, I counter that the best and the brightest come from all races, all classes and both sexes.

Until we as nation are truly committed to letting the cream rise to the top, we are doomed to slide into a second-class economy.


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