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Here's what our readers say.

Reflecting on "Let 'Em Cheat"

I enjoyed your article regarding the use of iPods for test taking ("Understanding the Times," June 2007). I'm happy to see that someone really gets it! You hit the issue head-on when you made the point, "The typical school testing environment is artificial and contrived, with no real world connection." Unfortunately, most students who succeed in our schools today are students who test better and memorize better than their classmates. As a lifelong educator in career and technology education, I can say that "real world connections" are a way of life for us. Thank you again for your stance.

David J. Churchman, vice principal, Parkside High School, Salisbury, Md.

In my attempt to change the attitude towards student use of technology in our districts I have hit many roadblocks. Your article addresses many of these very well. We must teach our children to be intuitive and become the learners they will need to be in their future, not ours.

J. Todd Chicchirichi, staff development/ technical assistance coordinator, Regional Education Service Agency VIII, Martinsburg, W. Va.

The Benefits of Walking

I read with great interest the News Update item on the renewed efforts schools are making to address the issue of childhood obesity ("Grant Awarded to Curb Obesity," March 2007). As a transportation consultant, I strongly support efforts to encourage walking advocacy programs, based on state guidelines for maximum walking distances for the districts I advise. Changes in bus routes, neighborhood school boundaries and transportation eligibility rules can be structured not only to get more students walking to school for exercise, but also to reduce overall transportation costs. Those of us who work in the school bus industry are noted for our emphasis on safety, and any walking advocacy efforts must be built on a foundation of safety.

Ruth Newby, president, TransPar Group, Lee's Summit, Mo.

Seeking Homework Resources

Have you ever conducted a survey or analysis of Web sites or resources that provide homework assistance? I think that a link or information regarding homework assistance (even if there is a fee) would be of great benefit to students and parents alike. As a technologist and parent I find myself constantly trying to find those types of resources, usually to no avail. Some book publishers provide such assistance, though from what I've seen it leaves much to be desired.

Julio Velasquez, IT director, Somerset Area (Pa.) School District

Low Pay Leads to Outsourcing

In David Thornburg's letter to the editor (Letters, July 2007) on the ISTE standards, he states that U.S. companies cannot find enough engineers. That is corporate America at its worst, and for District Administration to buy into that line is really a disservice to your readers. Why don't you challenge that subject? Referring to the 100,000 engineering jobs and only 65,000 engineers available, the bottom line is money. Companies do not want to pay a decent salary. That's the hidden agenda. Corporate America wants Americans to get their college education, which could mean a debt of $50,000, and yet companies want to start them at the lowest salary available.

Raymond Carr, Cheektowaga (N.Y.) Central School District board member

Letters to the Editor may be sent to, 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.

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