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Fascinating Health Care Concepts

I read with interest the article on health costs (“Controlling Health Care Costs,” May 2009). I found the trigger mechanism used by the LAUSD to negotiate rates at a committee level or to require the covered employees to bear the additional costs when the rates increase by more than 3.5 percent a fascinating concept. The employees, through their union representatives, are directly involved in the renewal process. Although I believe that a committee can be burdensome for management, if kept to a handful of knowledgeable and reasonable members, this concept may have merit.

However, it is clear that those employed in the private sector more fully understand and appreciate the many benefits of health insurance in terms of its true costs and value. This appreciation is due largely to the fact that many private sector employees must contribute toward their health care benefits through a payroll deduction, which is rarely required of those employed in the public sector.

Matt Ernandes, business administrator,

North Hanover (N.J.) Township Schools

Touch Screens in Education

In response to DA’s Product Posts blog on April 30, which touts the importance of touch screens in education, a reader says:

Touch screens are wonderful. But in reality, at least for instructional purposes, they are only as good as the educational resources that go with them. In addition, their utility depends on the teacher’s ability to effectively engage students in using these resources.

Andrew Pass, founder,


Rural School Parent Struggles

In regard to the parental involvement feature (“Parental Engagement Pays Off,” May 2009), small, rural districts also struggle with developing parent involvement. We do not have some of the struggles mentioned in the article (e.g., cultural issues, attendance issues); however, we do have a majority of our parents working. It is difficult for them to get time away from their jobs to volunteer or be a member of a school improvement team.

We are lucky that parents attending a parent involvement conference came together and formed a group that has worked successfully this year to bring parents in grades PK-5 to activities specifically designed with that age group in mind. The group also put together, in seven months, the financing and replacement of playground equipment at both our building sites. Unfortunately, the parent involvement is nonexistent on committees and in upper grades (with the exception of attendance at extracurricular activities). We share the same hope that as parents see the success of the program in the lower grades, it will expand into the middle school and high school.

Trudy (TK) Clark, superintendent,

Bruning-Davenport (Neb.) USD

Maine Gets the Job Done

The next time you do an article on every student with a laptop (“A Netbook for Every Student,” June/July 2009), please visit

BEFORE the article is printed.

Seventh- and eighth-graders have had their own laptops for seven years. On the above Web page, the resources section contains the research that answers your article’s question: Do they get the job done? While your article focused on the device needed, Maine has been focusing on the educational changes needed that 1 to 1 provides.

Nancy B. Grant, library media specialist,

Maine School Administrative Unit #41

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.