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Career Options for Members of Congress

The opinion-page article "Bush vs. Congress," Nov. 7, states that a congressional term-limitation measure would "throw out the responsible, thoughtful members of both parties along with the demagogues and deadbeats." I find this misleading since, historically, many outstanding congressional leaders have held a variety of elected and appointed posts. Some of our greatest senators served in the House of Representatives before the Senate and went on to serve in presidential cabinets, as vice presidents, as state governors, in state legislatures, and even were elected to the presidency. Only through some form of term-limitation measure and significant campaign reform can emerging groups such as women and minorities expect to serve in Congress in more than token numbers. That can only strengthen our democracy. George A. Dean, Southport, Conn.

Assessing student-aid programs In the opinion-page article "Clean Up Federal Student Aid Programs," Nov. 8, the author accurately describes the problems with financial-aid programs. While most acute in for-profit trade schools (proprietary schools), these same problems affect community colleges, adult basic education programs, and English as a second language (ESL) programs. A year and a half ago, I became involved in a state-run program in Connecticut called Job Connection, which is pursuant to the Family Support Act of 1988. It provides benefits such as child care, transportation costs, and car repairs to support student's participation in an education or training program. These benefits, which are in addition to Pell and other grants, may easily total several hundred dollars per month. I have found the program fraught with the ineffectiveness and lack of accountability the author describes. It is a program so confident of its intentions (who can be against providing education or training for those on public assistance?) that it lacks measurements of success, let alone objective assessments of performance. I have found that dropout rates range from 50 percent to 90 percent. Those who do complete programs rarely move on to self-sufficiency - the program's purported goal. Dennis Nakashian, New Hartford, Conn.

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