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Schools and Tax Rebate

September 23, 1987

I am in complete agreement with your editorial, "Educating the Secretary" (Sept. 11). As an educator for the last 30 years I feel Education Secretary William J. Bennett has overlooked some important points.

First, it is a rare student today who, having brains enough to enter college, will spend five years in a major leading to one of the lowest paid and least prestigious professions in America.

Second, parents must become more meaningfully involved in their children's education. In many families, both inner-city and suburban, the students' needs are simply not relevant enough to the parents' agenda. If parents lack a real interest in education usually their children will share that disinterest.

Next the students' school day averages five to six hours at best. This leaves them 18-plus hours for numerous non-academic influences to take hold.

Blaming teachers and the schools for inadequate student progress often seems to let the many other institutions in America who compete negatively for the interests of students off the hook. The many social problems such as drugs, sex, bigotry, poverty, etc. severely impact the teaching of students. After all the classroom does not function in a vacuum!

Historically America has been able to accomplish what seemed very important. If it is now important to have better schools for all students, I feel we can do it. However, it will take more money and a serious change in attitude on the part of government and society, including parents. Blaming the teachers, or calling us dumb simply will not accomplish the task!

LORRAINE HARRIS

Los Angeles

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