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Rescuing Public Schools

September 04, 1988

Doyle compares teaching of students with manufacturing. If the plant is having manufacturing problems, get a new manager or the plant will close due to manufacture of a poor product, which the public will not buy. Similarly, permit parents to choose a public school that has successful students--students that learn and achieve and let the schools that fail to teach, change or close. The successful school, like the successful manufacturer will prosper. The law of the marketplace!

Like all single answers to complex problems, much is overlooked. Let me list just a few factors important in the educational process.

Does the student live with his parents, relatives or friends? Does the student live in or walk to a school in a safe area or is it like the one mentioned in the Aug. 29 story in your Metro section, "7 Die, 13 Hurt in Flare-Up of Gang Violence in Wide Area"? Does the community have an adequate and competent police force? Does the student attend school regularly and what administrative procedures are in place to help this student? Does the school have adequate counselors, social and health services?

Does the student have adequate financial resources to meet whatever financial school obligations he has to cover? Even with a free education, the student needs clothing, shoes, money to buy school supplies and lunch money. Does the student have a suitable place to study? Does the student at times have to stay home because the apartment must always be occupied or otherwise there may be a break-in?

It is not competition among schools but the factors that I have mentioned that need to be addressed. Politicians, educators and taxpayers know what needs to be done--but are reluctant to act. It is even evidenced in the presidential election: "T" is a dirty word that is not mentioned because it stands for additional taxes.

JEROME J. FINK

Millburn, N.J.

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