Your recent column ("Understanding the Times," August) quoted the federal DOE to justify decentralizing K12 education. Ah yes, let us return to those wonderful days of no federal role for education: racial segregation, no standards, less funding, no special education, and so on. When we examine the nations who spend far less but achieve higher levels of student performance, do we see less control or more? Why don't you go to Singapore and then report back. I am shocked at how gullible you are.
Bill Kendall, director of technology, Braintree (Mass.) Public Schools
In Good Humor
I appreciate your work and the magazine, particularly your take on humor, satire and parody. Just wanted to say thanks!
David Milz, superintendent, Salem (Wis.) School District
Quality Public Schools for All
Roosevelt vs. Reagan was such a great piece ("Understanding the Times," July). Very nice work. DA continues to expand in content, size and quality. All of your content is excellent, and the look and feel of the magazine is very professional!
Vicki Smith Bigham, president, Bigham Technology Solutions Inc., Houston, Texas
I'm sick and tired of the U.S. being a throw away society ("Understanding the Times," July). Get tired of your marriage, you throw it away and find a new spouse. Tired of your car, you throw it away and get a new one. Computer, cell phone, clothes ... the list goes on and on. Some companies (like those that make computer printers) even encourage us to throw away old ones and purchase new ones. I think we would be better off if we tried to fix some of the things we have instead of always looking for the new. In a way society has instilled this into our worldview and it sure seems to be a part of who you are-this is exactly what you encourage in your piece. I have just one simple question: Why can't we first try to fix broken schools instead of throwing them away for new ones? It's not our job to start throwing schools away, it's our job to start fixing poor schools.
Reece Blincoe, superintendent, Stockdale (Texas) Independent School District
Editor's comment: Thank you for your comments regarding my column. I am not, however, saying to "throw away" anything. I am saying that there is a significant difference between Roosevelt's and Reagan's philosophies of the appropriate role of the federal government with regard to education and other services. I said that Reagan was right and advocated a " fresh look at how best to ensure universal access to quality education in a free society." Furthermore, my position advocates more schools, not fewer.
Dan E. Kinnaman, publisher of DA
Widespread Applications of Teaching Techniques
I read January's article "Teaching Techniques for Supervisors" and distributed copies to my consultants. So many of the ideas and techniques you shared are also appropriate for workshop trainers! As we begin planning our professional development opportunities and developing support documents for our curriculum standards, this article will provide very important information. My consultants and I have also reviewed the article for a proposed session for new teacher orientation! This story will be a continuing reference for us and for the educators we serve. Thank you.
Marilyn C. Palmer, chief, K5 language arts/social studies, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, Raleigh, N.C.
There are more important issues than Oprah and her money ("Speaking Out," June). I see that you have nothing better to do. What's your contribution to how we tackle illiteracy? What can you do about it? As the old saying goes, you're part of the problem. What is the solution?
Name and district withheld
Cheaters Never Prosper?
I totally agree with you on the use of iPods for test taking ("Understanding the Times," June). Testing has to change and it has to be related to the real world, not something contrived. I join the bandwagon Dan!
Rosemary Parmigiani, principal, Snyder-Girotti Elementary School, Bristol, Penn.
Letters to the Editor may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mailed to Judy F. Hartnett, District Administration, 488 Main Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06851. Selections that are published may be edited for length and clarity, and become the property of District Administration.