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Teaching Channels Curiosity

June 23, 2001

Re "Head Start, Some Say, Isn't Helping Kids Catch Up," June 17: I was appalled at the comment attributed to High/Scope Demonstration Preschool defenders that "too much teaching destroys children's curiosity." The goal of teachers is to teach children how to channel their curiosity. As for the comment that too much teaching "can even make them antisocial later on," what balderdash! If this is the attitude of today's teachers, whatever the grade being taught, it is no wonder that our children are learning less and less.

When will teachers begin to spend more time teaching and less time politicizing? When will they begin to care more about the effect they have on the children they are supposed to be teaching and less time caring about their paychecks and being "politically correct"? And when will parents take a more active role in the education of their children?

Richard Lawrence

Corona

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Your article confirms that Head Start programs are not designed to educate kids in the public education system. These programs have failed kids in the past, they are currently failing kids and will continue to fail kids in the future.

Let's face it. The nation is not capable of educating its children and, in fact, does not want them educated. A society that places greater emphasis on its children's self-esteem than on ensuring that they learn how to read is not interested in the welfare of its children.

Wendell Taylor

Rancho Santa Margarita

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President Bush, who jokingly alludes to partying his way through Yale University, wants Head Start programs to make sure these impoverished preschool kids buckle down and do not fritter away their educational opportunities? This brings new meaning to the old expression, "Do as I say, not as I do."

Robert A. deMayo

Assoc. Prof., Psychology

Pepperdine University

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Your article on Head Start noted that two-thirds of poor children are behind on their reading skills, because most teachers "do not give children's acquisition of these skills a particularly high priority." Who would have thought otherwise? Kids are not going to learn something that they are never taught.

If middle-class and rich kids were subjected to this sort of mentally stunted non-education, reform might be more likely. At least the Republicans are trying to do something to help.

Stuart Buck

Springfield, Va.

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