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Voucher Plan for Schools

July 05, 1993

* In response to "Suellen Just Wants to Learn to Read," Voices, June 21:

If all the disgruntled parents who have given up on public schools for private education and then write acid criticisms had only "put their shoulders to the wheel" and helped do something to improve the public schools, the country would be that much healthier and better educated.

The class Sonja-Lynn Jacobs seems to represent--"professionals and intellectuals"--are those who have the most to offer public schools. What a shame to simply withdraw and then gripe about it later. The one thing America needs more than anything else is the kind of public spirit that impels citizens to go to the rescue of deprived and depleted public institutions and agencies, which are pinched for funds and overburdened with problems caused by a decaying society.

Vouchers that take even more money away from public education are not the answer.

JEAN S. GERARD

Temple City

* After reading Jacob's essay, I enjoyed a good laugh. Having spent more years in public school classrooms than the author probably has, I think I can spot flaws in her conclusions. I am a teacher, and I know how much teachers care about their students and how much effort goes into helping children learn. I know how many hours are spent talking with parents, writing them notes, listening to their views. I know the happiness that teachers feel when their students do well, and the pride that teachers feel in their profession.

It is unfortunate that the author had, or feels she had, a bad experience with her child's class. Perhaps nothing I could say would change her mind, but the classrooms with which I am familiar bear no resemblance to the one she portrays.

RUTH CRANDALL

San Dimas

* I must respond to Jacob's essay in which she justifies the voucher system because her child was an early reader.

My son was an early reader too. He read his first words at 2 and was quite literate by 4. In his public kindergarten he experienced the world beyond his family. He learned about working and playing with others. This is the purpose of kindergarten. Although he was not formally taught to read, he tested as a fourth-grade reader in June. My other son was not ready to read until he was 7. He had a similar kindergarten experience and now, at 9, is a fluent and avid reader. Kindergarten at its best does not force academics on children.

The voucher initiative will not provide enough money to individual families to cover the cost of schooling. Needy families will still not be able to afford private schooling. The voucher system will, however, take enough money from the public system to cripple already strained public schools, leaving those needy families with less than they now have.

MARGARET BAKER DAVIS

La Verne

* We've been paying hefty property taxes for years, and in addition to that, tuition to give our children a good (private) education. Yet a letter writer (June 25) has the gall to call school vouchers an "entitlement" program for families with students attending private schools. He also ignores the two-year waiting period that would apply to children currently enrolled in private schools. What a commentary on the sorry state of public education that 10% of state schoolchildren are now in private schools. No wonder the money-hungry educational Establishment is trembling at the thought of giving the other 90% more of a real choice.

BOB ABERNETHY

La Mirada

Pork

* I have a new name for all the entitlement programs that everyone (except Congress and special interest groups) believes should become extinct: Jurassic Pork!

MIKE G. McCALLEY

Orange

California Split

* Why all the talk of splitting California into three states, ostensibly to just get more senators? Why not take a bigger, more productive step and make our state into a new country? And, while we're at it, let's invite Baja California and Nevada to join us.

Baja has long been a rebellious state to the government in Mexico City with remarkable machismo. That's an attitude that would enhance this new republic.

Nevada has long been regarded in the East as a bastard child state of gambling, prostitutes and organized crime. Little do they know of the great mountains and secret charms of the desert.

As for California, we are much more diverse than the proposal of tri-division would represent! Californians are prone to be rebellious in regard to maintaining their individual freedoms and their entrepreneurial spirit. We also possess natural beauties and richness in our land which are the envy of the world.

We might also find that our new representatives would see that our hands were a bit closer to their throats.

BILL HORAN

Huntington Beach

Cuba and Castro

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