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Taking care of the kids

May 02, 2008

Re "In poorest schools, fear, despair rule," April 26

Of course the kids are depressed. They're on their own, with no one at home looking after their interests. Once, each of these children had a mother and a father and perhaps an extended family too.

Parents are their children's first and best advocates. If the children don't like school or have some complaint, how many of these parents have actually been to the school to have a discussion with the teachers or principal? Are those same parents making sure their kids are home at night, in bed, on time? Are they talking to their kids about their day? The survey assigns a whole lot of blame without looking at the obvious solution: involved parents.

Carol May

Los Angeles

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The large inner-city high schools need to be decentralized into two schools -- one teaching trades and the second into academics and college preparatory classes.

Trying to force all kids into college prep is nonsensical and loses those who want a job, not college. The trades could have their own faculty, schedule, sports teams and activities. Companies could get involved with internships for the trades students.

No wonder we have a high dropout rate -- the solution is not "one size fits all."

Larry E. Greiner

Palos Verdes

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I was struck by how little perspective and analysis The Times offers in reports like this. The number of students surveyed is impressive, but the fact that it was conducted by a student action group that may be trying to prove a point does not give the study real scientific merit.

One professor quoted sees clinical depression in the students' stated reasons for skipping school but never ponders the possibility that staying home may be a reason for boredom and unhappiness in itself. And the homemade Monopoly game -- it seems to be a tool to convince these students that they really are living in a perilous, hopeless environment.

Susan Slanina

Los Angeles

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