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Training Tomorrow's Teachers Today

Regarding the Opinion page article "School-College Partnership May Reward Integration," Jan. 15: It is surprising that such a thoughtful newspaper would publish an article advocating the use of underfunded universities and colleges as yet another Band-Aid for our public schools.

Perhaps only retired teachers remember the demise of our teachers' colleges where people were taught the "how to" as well as the "what to" in favor of the idea that "knowing more" would automatically produce a teacher. Would you fly with a pilot who only had "book knowledge" about flying? When this nation decided to close down its demonstration and practice schools, where prospective teachers could learn from master teachers, it did a great disservice to people interested in teaching and to our children.

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Yes, there are gifted teachers and many good teachers today, but how much better would they be and how many more would there be with training in their profession? Would our children be better off? Would they be more successful in school? I don't know. But I do know that I'd rather fly with a pilot who has gone through a flight-simulation school and flown a lot of hours as a copilot. My life depends on his training. Shirley M. Page, Grapevine, Texas Parents as character educators

Regarding the front-page article " `Character Education' May Become Need of '90s," Jan. 14: I am fascinated, yet appalled with the brash statement that education experts believe that ethics should be taught in schools. I agree with Robert Frank of Cornell University that, "People don't get born into this world knowing what the rules are." But the assumption that virtues and ethics can be taught in schools when children are five or six years old is a gross misplacement of responsibility.

The responsibilities for teaching ethics, values, and virtues lie with the parents. Since the end of World War II, and subsequent decades of growing affluence, the public has developed inflated, even exalted ideas as to the obligation of schools in the teaching, training, and nurturing of children. To render the schools responsible for the actions of our children is simply passing the buck. Certainly schools should be a reinforcement, but not the major force. Jean B. Forster, State College, Pa.

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