A rebuttal to Will column

I'm referring to George Will's column, "Schools are serving portions of propaganda as pedagogy."

Champions of the privileged, such as Will, keep trying to justify desertion of K-12 public schools by parents who can afford private schools but resent paying taxes to support public schools needed by everyone else.

Will cites (the Milton and Rose) Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice data indicating that since 1950 public school students increased 96 percent but teachers increased 252 percent and other staff ("bureaucrats ... and other nonteachers") increased 702 percent.

Will insinuates this bloating of the public education payroll has increased the cost, but not the effectiveness, of our public education system.

In rebuttal:

  • Salaries of "other staff" form only a small part of this cost (about 8 percent of the budget of a well-run school district and as much as 20 percent of the budget of a poorly run district).

  • The salary increases partly reflect entrance into the public school system, beginning in 1975, of children with disabilities who need more costly "special education." Shamefully, they had previously been barred from public schools.

    Ruby MacDonald

    El Cerrito


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    Cut Danville a little slack

    This is regarding David Kurrent's recent letter, in which he asserted Danville has an obligation to provide affordable housing. The letter raises some important issues.

    Should the state or regional entities have the final say over a local community's vision or plans? Is Danville really obliged, as Kurrent contends, to provide housing for someone hired to do gardening? Do those born or raised in a city have some birthright to forever be housed there?

    Before such questions are fully answered, I think we should cut the citizens of Danville a little slack before they are labeled arrogant or elitist.

    Jim Kain

    Concord

    Parents raising neurotic kids

    Dave Newbry's recent letter was great.

    I also remember the days of playing war with imaginary guns, grenades and the like. I also remember the days in art class being able to, believe it or not, draw war scenes with guns, grenades and explosions -- all in the second grade.

    It's amazing looking back; we turned out pretty normal. Just think of all the discoveries made by those who were raised in the same conditions. They got us to the moon, cured polio, invented the foundations that make today's computers possible, and the list goes on and on.

    It's really sad to see children being deprived of the freedom to be children. They're being raised by adults who fear everything: germs, knowledge and ideas that differ from theirs and exposure to a real world.

    It's too bad they fail to realize they are creating children, in most cases, who will grow to become neurotics and fear everything.

    Hey Dave, pass me another grenade. I guess it's just you and I in this imaginary foxhole.

    Alfred Camisa

    Pleasanton

    Appreciates war hero story

    This is regarding the recent Times article about Donald Davies of Rodeo, a World War II hero.

    Thank you for sharing his story of humility, bravery and perseverance. I am from the generation created by Davies. When we saw our dads, men like Davies, smile, we never detected evidence of their struggles or their heroic actions.

    My son is now 18 years old and I cannot imagine him exposed to those horrors. There is great injustice in the balance of life when heroes such as Davies assume a quiet profile as they soldier on and we take little notice.

    I thank him for his service, as I thank my father and his brother.

    Sharon Yost

    Palo Alto

    Comment about Kamala Harris

    Of all the monumentally stupid things President Barack Obama has said, the comment about California Attorney General Kamala Harris' good looks takes the prize.

    Besides being demeaning and inappropriate, it's not true. Clearly Pam Bondi, the Republican attorney general from Florida, is better looking.

    I just hope Obama is not playing politics with this issue.

    Keith McConnell

    Lafayette