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Robbing Peter to Pay for Paul's Education

September 09, 2003

Re "Shift Money From the Colleges to K-12," Commentary, Sept. 2: Amitai Etzioni fails to understand that it is a college education that brings economic gain to the masses. And by comparing U.S. education to Japan, Etzioni fails to note that U.S. higher education is the best in the world. How many Nobel laureates has Japan produced compared to the U.S.?

While most of us would agree that pre-college education needs substantial improvement, to take funds away from the world's best college system to support K-12 seems ludicrous. There are other major sources of support that can be shifted to K-12.

Steve Oppenheimer

Director, Center for Cancer

and Developmental Biology

Cal State Northridge


Etzioni's "Robin Hood" idea of robbing Peter (colleges and universities) to pay Paul (K-12) has appeal until one thinks about who and how the needed generation of teachers will be prepared, as well as the doctors and dentists (and all other professions). He is on target relative to early teaching intervention with children; actually it starts in the cradle.

But the remedy is in maintaining current and even increased levels of funding for colleges and universities and bringing the funding levels for K (and below) through 12 significantly upward. That is something that should and could be sold to legislators -- if they set their priorities in line with their speech-making.

Edward J. Kormondy

Los Angeles

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